Sports Fan Violence

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Fan Violence and the Emergent Norm Theory
There is a lot of emotion when people are trying to win for themselves or for their team. In sports, as long as there is competition and high emotion, there will always be the potential for violence. However, the violence isn't always among the players of the sports. Violence among fans is not a new trend. I have been an athlete my entire life, so spectator violence is not a new trend to me. At many of my softball games, I have experienced angry parents yelling and screaming at the coaches and umpires, fist-fights with other parents, and the list goes on. There have been riots created by onlookers (brought on by a team loss), fights among players, mobs overturning cars, dumpsters, and so on. All humans have a need to identify with either an individual or group; it is a means by which people maintain and improve their self-esteem. A powerful source of identification, people identify with an individual athlete/team and become heavily invested in the outcomes of competitions. The primary goal of sports fans is winning. When their identified teams are losing, frustration may build and the fans may seek a different outlet - resulting in violence. When fans become frustrated, anger is the dominant emotion they feel. Fan violence may be reflective to the violence that happens in our society. In fan violence, conformity is equal to morality. There are many situations which may lead to fan violence: large crowds of a heterogeneous mix (i.e. - social class, racial/ethnic, etc.), importance of the event for the fans, alcohol consumption, neutral vs. home ground for one team, poor calls by referees, and so on. Hearing obscenities can be contagious and escalate into more swearing, name calling and fighting. An obscene cheer starts with two fans, increases to eight and soon a whole section. People in a crowd behave differently than they normally would and the "individual" mind becomes the" collective" mind - heavily...
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