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UTM basketball fans disappoint at recent game

By Jenifer Nicks
On January 16, 2013

I don't know much about sports. I appreciate the physical discipline and teamwork, though, so it upsets me when sports fans get nasty.

I attended a UTM basketball game recently, as part of my job here at The Pacer. This particular game happened to be not such a good one for our men's team. That is unfortunate because I want us to win, but it's also the way these things go. Some of UTM's fans seemed to forget this fact.

Here's where I feel I have to stop and clarify some things. I have no understanding of the mechanics of basketball, or any other sport for that matter, so I cannot honestly say whether the referees did a good job or not. I can only offer that they weren't terribly popular with most of our fans.

The second and most important thing I need to point out is that from what I've observed, UTM's athletes and coaches are all perfect ladies and gentlemen. That's what makes me so sad about the whole thing. When UTM's fans start screaming obscenities and accusations that the refs are bought off from the stands, they make our athletes look bad. They make UTM look bad.

For those fans who cited freedom of speech as an excuse for screaming curse words, I certainly hope none of you are offended by me using my freedom of speech to disagree with you. I also hope you understand that having the freedom to say something does not mean it is necessarily wise to say it.

UTM's athletes and coaches work their butts off to be good at what they do. It pains me to see their fans embarrass them, because they deserve better. We all deserve better.
I don't want UTM to have the reputation of being a nasty host. I don't think that's what we're about. Part of becoming a better person is learning to be nice even when you lose, shoot, especially when you lose. I tend to believe that that's what college is supposed to help you with: becoming a better person.

This piece isn't going to be popular, I know. But I also know that I shouldn't have to be explaining to adults that certain behavior is not acceptable.

Honestly, you can say whatever you want to yourself and friends and we're cool, no matter how wrong you might be. When you start making a spectacle of yourself as a representative of my school, then I draw the line. That reflects badly on me and that's not cool.

Go to the games; enjoy yourself. Eat a hot dog maybe. Participate in campus life. Just remember that if you wear UTM gear and sit on our side, you represent all of us. Don't make all of us look ignorant.

I apologize for the more aggressive nature of this column than others that you've seen previously. I happen to be rather attached to UTM, even if it isn't always perfect (good luck finding something that is). Behavior like this makes me embarrassed for us, it really does.

I believe this university is better than that. I believe its students are better than that. Please don't make me wrong.

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