OPINION: Corner Kick

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Last weekend I went to see the new James Bond movie, the first one I’ve ever seen.

Thank goodness this was a prequel so I didn’t feel too lost.

Accept that I couldn’t concentrate on the first 30 minutes of the movie.

There were a group of kids between the ages of 12 and 15 in the movie. How do I know their ages you may ask?

Easy – they talked loud enough that I could hear them three rows down.

They talked while the movie played but better yet they decided to play musical chairs.

There were few people in the theater and I guess they wanted to find the best seat, so they walked back and forth through the aisles, set on the steps and ran up and down the stairs.

Several people in the theater, including myself, asked them to stop.

Finally, someone complained to the management and the kids were kicked out of the movie.

So what does this have to do with sports?

The people in the theater (and I am excluding the kids causing problems) were fans of the movie, but couldn’t enjoy the film because of rude people that seemed to forget what manners are.

How many times have you been to a sporting event and witnessed rude behavior?

I’m not talking about booing the other team or yelling at a referee’s call.

I’m talking about having something thrown at you, being harassed personally because of the team you pull for or other rude behavior.

I was amazed when I went to an NC State football game last year that you were not allowed to keep your bottle top.

The vendor explained that it was because people threw them on the field.

I understand this rule has now been lifted, which is a good thing since I spilled half my drink before I got to my seat.

When Virginia Tech played NC State in Raleigh several family members of mine went to the game to cheer on the Hokies.

After the game my aunt told me that of all the games they had attended (Florida State, Miami and West Virginia included) the NCSU fans were the rudest they had ever seen.

My younger cousin and a friend ended up in tears because of things an NCSU fan said to them.

Now before all you Wolfpack fans dash off emails that you don’t behave like that, realize that I know not all fans behave this way.

The problem is that when a few do, it makes everyone look bad.

I’ve been to State games to cheer on the Wolfpack (as long as they aren’t playing Virginia Tech) and I don’t want people to think I’m a rude fan.

Unfortunately, this rude behavior is not limited to fans.

Case in point is Michael Vick of the Atlanta Falcons, formerly of Virginia Tech.

Unless you were visiting the NASA space station you know he flipped Atlanta fans the bird several times because they were heckling him.

Making millions of dollars a year has apparently thinned his skin because he’s a professional and should act as such.

Not what I want representing my university.

Believe me, I know crowds can be harsh, but I think anyone wearing a jersey should remember what that jersey represents.

Not only does bad behavior make the player, the team and the school look bad but it leaves a foul taste in the mouth of fans that pay to watch the game. Players are going to get heckled by fans.

Heck, they’re going to get heckled by members of the opposing team.

I know I did when I was playing high school sports.

That’s part of the game, not a pleasant part, but nonetheless part of it.

On the same token, fans need to remember they pay to watch the game, not heckle the players, particularly when those players aren’t making millions.

Heather Odom can be reached at sports@r-cnews.com.