As someone whose first real job was as a sportswriter more than a quarter-century ago, I've seen more than my share of annoying fans.
Many of the annoying fans I've met over the years were teetered on that precarious edge of trying to insult me while not quite threatening me on a prosecutable level. Usually, they were the ones whose kids were on the football, baseball or basketball team and didn't get the kind of coverage they felt their children warranted.
Yes, the pitcher threw a one-hit shutout and the third baseman hit two home runs, but little Billy in right field caught a routine fly ball in the second inning that his dad is pretty sure changed the course of the game and perhaps the entire season.
These fans are easier to handle when they are one or two delusional parents, but they get a little more worrisome when they come in delusional groups. That's never been more evident when fans of my high school alma mater set out to lynch me before a playoff after I'd picked them to lose by 14 points. They lost by 13. In sports -- just like in politics -- the only folks people hate more than people who hold an opposite viewpoint are people who hold an opposite viewpoint and are proven correct.
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But I haven't covered a sporting event in about four years now, so now I'm merely annoyed on a common fan level.
There are many other annoying fans out there -- the two guys who still hold up the "D fence" signs; New York Yankees fans; folks who mistakenly yell "BALK!" every time a pitcher fakes a throw to second base; people who buy $247 worth of overpriced beer at the Braves game and expect you to be in a constant state of transaction between them and the vendor; fans who boo referees' calls against their team even when they're obviously the right call; and anyone who uses an air horn or vuvuzela.
But I've decided that the most annoying fan is the guy in the golf gallery at every tournament on every course in every nation who screams, "GET IN THE HOLE!" every time a golfer makes a shot. Over and over. Even when the ball is sliced 30 yards
in the wrong direction. Even when they've got 524 yards to the pin. Even when they're practicing on the putting green.
I don't know how pro golfers put up with it. I couldn't. Then again, the only things I've heard folks scream when I'm playing golf is "What do you have against trees?!" and "Ouch!"
Maybe these fans merely have some weird kind of Tourette Syndrome in which they yell other nonsensical stuff at common places like church ("WAY TO PRAY, BROTHER EARL!") or the grocery store ("YOU'VE GOT 11 ITEMS, NOT 10! GET OUT OF THE EXPRESS LANE!") Wait, that last one is actually me. Yelling that can cause quite a shock to math-challenged elderly ladies in the checkout line. Can get you hit with a cane, too!
Perhaps the best thing for folks on the golf course to yell is absolutely nothing. It is supposed to be a relaxing sport, after all. Of course, if you're around me on the golf course, it's acceptable to yell "Ouch!" every now and then. Beyond acceptable, it's actually highly probable.
-- Connect with Chris Johnson at Facebook.com/KudzuKidWriting or on Twitter @kudzukid88.