Ok, so Marcus Smart shoved a fan. Bad move. No matter how you spin it, it’s something he never should have done. But let’s just take a step back and look at the big picture before we label this kid Albert Belle.

Yes, it was a bad moment for him. Poor judgment, loss of control whatever you want to call it. His team is struggling, he personally was struggling. He had recently kicked a chair, the pressure was getting to him. The kid was vulnerable, and a 50 year old adult took advantage of that and used it against him. Now, don’t get me wrong, none of that is an excuse or a defense for him going into the stands and touching a fan, not even close, he was dead wrong, but the fan is not without fault either.

Let’s all take a moment to realize he’s still just a 19 year old kid, with the pressure of playing big time college basketball, in front of crowds most of us can only dream of playing in front of.  Also remember, this isn’t 1980, when social media didn’t exist, cell phones were the size of small furry animals, and beepers (yes Beepers, aka pagers were popular! Anyone remember Sky-Tel?) But I digress….

Back then if a kid had a bad game, he heard it from people who had the nerve to say it to his face. Nowadays, with Facebook and Twitter, the kid takes a shower after a bad game, picks up his phone and he has 400 messages from paper tigers hiding behind anonymous names on twitter bashing him, his girlfriend, his manhood and his mother. On top of all that, you have some jackrod “Super-fan” yelling obscenities at this kid, and the pressure boils over and it gets the best of him. I wonder if Mr. Superfan is happy that as a middle aged adult, with obviously nothing better to do with his life, he got his 15 minutes of fame by taunting a college kid. Yes one day he may be a pro and making millions of dollars, but right now he’s just a college kid playing ball. I wonder how he would feel if that was son, and the guy sitting next to him did the same thing to his own kid.

When he’s a pro, he will be held to a higher standard, and remember he will be getting PAID to play and act a certain way. These college players are taken advantage of by the NCAA, who can make ka-jillions off these kids, but they can’t take a free hot dog. But that’s a story for another day. I think sometimes fans, and also parents, get carried away in their rooting. You’re a “fan”, i.e. you’re supposed to root for your team and enjoy the game. No one is winning every single game, not the Yankees, not the Dallas Cowboys, not even the New England Patriots, sorry Tom.

We as fans live our dreams through these kids, and we want our teams to win so badly sometimes we cross the line. I am a lifelong Yankee fan, and the Red Sox are our hated rivals. Do you think after Mariano blew the save in Boston in the 2004 ALCS allowing the Red Sox to come back from down 3-0, that I was cursing him out, and looking for ways to get him deported? No, I wasn’t. Of course I was upset we lost that game, but the man is human, he can’t be prefect all the time, and he’s an All-time great, so how can we expect young kids, even in big time programs to perform supremely all the time? It’s unrealistic and unfair to the kids. After these kids leave the courts or fields, they are people like the rest of us and have feelings all the same. Think how you would feel if twitter suddenly exploded on you? His fault was that he’s human and he has feelings…we’ve all blown our top and have regretted it.

And like I said earlier, we as fans are living our dreams through them. Remember, we have to PAY to go see these guys perform, they are the ones on the court because of their talent. So let’s be rabid fans, root, cheer and holler for our team, but let’s keep things in perspective, and when things go wrong, do what any REAL fan does, and SUPPORT your team and the players, rather than back the bus up over them.

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