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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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In Sports Commentary

Fans cheer their team, and if need be, boo their team. Both are acceptable. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi )

We boo because we care


There are several universal rules in life. Don't drink shots of Jagermeister after 1 a.m. When you've eaten a whole pizza except for one slice don't eat that last slice. And never, ever criticize your boss in public.

Well, I bade one and two away years ago and today we kiss No. 3 goodbye.

I'm talking about Andy Tarnoff, publisher of OnMilwaukee.com, good guy, and Brewers fan senza confronto. I put that Italian in because it's my favorite racing sausage. It means "without compare."

Last week he sat in the stands at a Brewers game when John Axford blew another game.

Fans booed and one fan booed a lot.

This behavior moved Andy to write a blog about how bad it is for home fans to boo the home team. I was in a hospital bed when I read it and was happy because I knew if I was going to choke on this at least there was a better than even chance someone might save me.

Mr. Tarnoff (unabashed sucking up just before I rip him) is a smart guy and what I'd consider a fairly knowledgeable sports fan with baseball being his strong suit. He's also a wonderful father, but more on that later.

He seems to fail to realize the another universal truth: We only boo because we love.

Do something great and we adore our heroes with shouts, screams and applause. We care and we show we care.

What are we to do when they screw something up? We care about them just as much and ignoring their failure should not be part of this equation. Not caring is worse, much worse, than disapproving.

We have to let them know that we who depend on them so much are disappointed.

And since we can't send them to their room for timeout, we boo. It's our only alternative.

These are not U-12 kids playing soccer. These are grown men playing a game for millions of dollars. If they feel bad about throwing a gopher ball in a tense situation, well, they ought to feel bad.

We can't sit down with them in a corner of the room and tell them how sad they have made us by failing to do what they are supposed to do. So we boo.

Mr. Tarnoff, along with his wife (how's that for sucking up?) have a lovely 4-year-old daughter.

Let's say she heard somebody somewhere use the F bomb and decided to make it a part of her vocabulary, even though she has no idea what it means or how to use it.

The first time, the parents kind of chuckle and tell her not to do it. The second time, when visiting grandparents, there is embarrassed ed laughter and some suggestions from grandma on how to stop it. They have a talk with her and explain that she can't use that word until she is a mommy.

Then they are at a crowded restaurant and she suddenly begins shouting the word over and over.

Now, they boo. They let her know how angry they are. They let her know how disappointed they are. Maybe, heaven forbid, they even make her cry.

But now she gets it. Stop doing it. Behave. Do what you are supposed to do. Then we'll all be happy again.

We can't take Axford's allowance away. We can't ground him or take away his cellphone. We can't make him clean his room.

And so, we boo. As well we should.


Talkbacks

Photodavie | May 7, 2013 at 8:47 a.m. (report)

Once a fan buys a ticket to a game, they have every right to cheer or boo the entetainment. With that said, the majority of hardcore fans that live and die by what the team does, believe in positive reinforcement and supporting players no matter what (especially through slumps and bad outings). These fans feel connected to the players and could never dream of booing them. Just like you would never boo a family member playing a sport.

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