Most of the talk this week in the college basketball world has centered around the incident last Saturday night between Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart and Texas Tech super fan Jeff Orr.
Smart was suspended three games by the Big 12 conference after shoving Orr during the Feb. 8 loss to the Red Raiders. I believe both parties were wrong, and luckily cooler heads prevailed or it could have been a bad situation.
Regardless of how big of a fan Orr is to the Texas Tech program, he should have known better, especially saying something to a student-athlete.
However, Smart just needed to ignore it and let the Texas Tech officials take care of the situation. I am just glad it did not turn into something worse. This is nothing new in sports with fans and players getting involved in incidents like this one.
Let me share a personal story about misbehaving at sporting events, and almost getting a severe punishment due to my actions.
During my senior year at Oakland High back in 2001, a group of us traveled to several away games and attended most of the home ones. It was a great bonding experience for a lot of us, but their were times we took it too far. We almost got into serious trouble for our actions.
Back then, we were a loud and proud fan base for the Patriots. We would cheer loudly for our classmates on the basketball team, and we also gave the officials and the opponents and their fans a hard time.
Unfortunately, some of our actions and cheers were not family friendly, including one time when a classmate got their car keys thrown under the stands by an opponent before the game even started. So, people complained to the principal at our school, and we got into big trouble one day before class.
The principal called each of us into his office one by one, and told us we would not be acting like that anymore. If we did, we would be banned from senior events like prom and graduation. It was a wake-up call for all of us. So, we changed our ways, and that was the end of it.
At the same time, I was a part of Oakland’s yearbook and newspaper staff, so I decided after the incident I did not want to be a fan anymore. Instead, I wanted to be a sports journalist, so I am glad my principal sent me in the right direction. As they say, the rest is history.
As for the Smart situation, fans need to realize just because you spend your hard-earned money to buy a ticket does not give you the right be disrespectful toward the players, coaches and even the officials.
They are human beings, too, and everyone makes mistakes like making bad calls or playing poorly. I learned this the hard way, and it gave me a new perspective on sports.
Hopefully, a situation like the one last Saturday night will be rare and not dominate the news for the next few days. Both sides need to remember it is just a game. There are winners and losers, but life goes on. There is always the next one on the schedule.