Do us all a favor and stay home next time

Let’s talk a bit more about etiquette at a sporting event.

In a two-for-one offer, this post will also intersect with fashion! Hooray for everyone. Except for me, and my poor, poor eyeballs.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I attended three sessions of the US Open; two of them were back-to-back this past Saturday. Now, again, tennis fans are a different breed of enthusiast than other sports fans (I’m not saying they’re better or worse (okay, maybe I’m implying one of those)), so generally I find going to the Open to be a pleasant experience, and this time was no real exception. But we need to talk, people, about attire.

Flip-flops are the fucking bane of my existence. People wear them EVERYWHERE now, and they are almost never appropriate. Saturday was no exception. Significant Other and I were watching a doubles match, and some guy sits next to me on the bleachers wearing flip-flops. Okay, no real problem there; hundreds of people on Saturday were wearing them, so even though I think they’re only appropriate for the beach, I understand they’re socially acceptable for some fucking stupid reason.

But then the guy next to me kept slipping his flip-flops off and sticking his bare feet all over the place, and THAT IS NOT OKAY. He would cross his legs by putting his right or left ankle on the opposite knee, and his naked, ugly, smelly foot would be DANGEROUSLY CLOSE TO MY KNEE and also to the backs of the people on the bleacher in front of him. NOT FUCKING COOL. NOBODY WANTS TO SEE YOUR FUCKING UGLY FEET ALL OVER THE PLACE.

On top of this grossness, the guy also was leaning all over the place like he was at home on his own couch. He would put his bag on the bleacher between me and him when there was NO SPACE THERE FOR IT, and then he’d lean on it and practically have his head on my shoulder.

Listen. I do not want some stranger’s dirty head leaning on me, especially not when I’m also trying to avoid their disgusting feet. Breaking news: This is public space, not your living room. Keep your fucking shoes on and sit up straight like the rest of us (or at least slouch in a such a way that YOU ARE NOT TOUCHING ME EW EW EW).

This is why I fucking hate flip-flops. People seem to take every opportunity to slip them off and be barefoot. Flip-flops are pretty much as close as you’re going to get to being barefoot in public without people thinking you’re homeless, but KEEP THEM ON YOUR FUCKING FEET. I don’t care if you just had a pedicure and think your toes are super cute or whatever. KEEP THEM ON. First off, the ground is DIRTY, so it doesn’t matter how clean your feet are—when they touch the ground, they will be DIRTY ALSO. But mostly, taking your shoes off in public is just fucking rude. You’re disregarding social norms (which sometimes are meant to be broken or challenged but NOT IN THIS CASE) and making people around you uncomfortable for the sake of your own personal comfort. Next time, wear shoes or sneakers you don’t mind keeping on your feet all day or JUST STAY HOME. Then you could fucking watch tennis naked if you wanted, and NOBODY KNOWS OR CARES.

It was especially sucky because I love watching doubles, and those matches aren’t really shown on TV. So I wanted to watch the whole match, which meant I WAS STUCK NEXT TO THIS ASSHOLE FOR LIKE AN HOUR. At one point I almost knocked his camera off the bench because he put it between us, as if he were at home and it was his fucking end table or some shit, and I didn’t know it was there. I should have picked the fucking thing up and tossed it into the trees, but I restrained myself. It would have been justice for having to deal with his disgusting feet all over the place.

Moving away from disgusting slobs and on to obnoxious spectators who act like know-it-alls, one of my other favorite types! Again this other asshole was watching the same doubles match. This match went 3 sets, which is the most sets doubles can play (2 out of 3 sets for the win, just FYI). At one point, one of the players got a medical time out, which is perfectly acceptable and within the rules. During this time, one of the spectators—an older, portly man (and yes, this is relevant)—took it upon himself to comment loudly on how the overall quality of the match just wasn’t that great. He just went on and on about how it really wasn’t that impressive and he could hit some of those shots back! BO-RING! Let’s get some exciting professional tennis out there, folks!

I wanted to punch this guy in the face so hard. Instead I just made snarky comments under my breath to SO. But this guy seriously needed to shut the fuck up. First off, there was no way he could hit any of these shots even a quarter as well as the players themselves. Second, the game was going to its MAXIMUM LENGTH, which generally indicates that the level of play is pretty good. Because if it wasn’t, one team would be CRUSHED by the other. So I have no idea what match this asshole was watching, but it certainly wasn’t the same one I was. And besides, this man couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn with a tennis ball from 2 feet away, so how could he even judge the quality of the tennis being played? He got winded just standing up to stretch.

Look, I know sports fans of all types loooooove to comment on players and strategies, etc. We all think we’re capable of being coaches when we’re watching our favorite sports being played. I do the same thing. But I only say it loud enough for SO or whoever I’m with to hear it. I don’t announce to all the spectators that this team or that player sucks so hard I could play better. Because it would be a lie, on multiple levels. Not to mention fucking annoying as hell.

So I’m not saying this asshole shouldn’t have the same right as everyone else to make comments about the sport he’s watching. I’m saying that he shouldn’t fucking talk so loud everyone can hear him, because some people don’t fucking agree and it made him sound like an idiot (or revealed him to be the idiot that he is, which is where I’m leaning in this). And I don’t mind when people say “Get it over the net!” or something like that, but I take issue generally when people start acting like they could have been the next McEnroe or Connors or Federer or whatever if only they were younger or in better shape or applied themselves more.

Breaking news: They’re all professionals at this sport, and you are just watching. So stop pretending you know better than the players and their coaches, because YOU DON’T. It’s one thing to be frustrated when your favorite player isn’t performing well and to yell things, but it’s another to “analyze” the play as if you know something. And if that’s something you like to do, then STAY HOME. Because as I mentioned in my last post, part of why I go to live matches is so I don’t have to listen to DUMBASS COMMENTARY. And if I’m going to listen to anyone’s dumbass commentary, it’s at least going to be from someone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about.

Anyway, time to stop ranting about tennis and go watch some instead, because ESPN2 and USOpen.org know the real meaning of a live video feed.

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