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DOWN IN FRONT? 20-30-40-50-60 men answer on 20-40-60 Etiquette Extra

by Helen Ford Wallace Published: August 17, 2010

With football season fast approaching, we received this question.  20-40-60 decided to give it to the men. These men were chosen strictly because we thought they might give us an answer.

Question: What do you do when you are at the football game and in front of you is a tall or large person that has no consideration for the person behind them (like me as I am short) and they stand up most of the game and ignore me when I ask them to please sit down?

It is almost better to say at home and watch the game on television. I have season tickets, so it is the same obnoxious person every game.

Nick Tankersley


20’s: Nick Tankersley’s answer: I guess the simple answer would be to bring it up with the person in front of you. Maybe you could switch seats or an arrangement can be made when you are at the game.

You never know, they could be very understanding of your issue.

If they aren’t, talk to the ticket office about the issue and see if there is a way that you can have your season tickets traded for another set (this would be an easier thing to accomplish during a bad season).

Ford Sanger

30’s: Ford Sanger’s answer: In my opinion, if the person paid for the season ticket, they can stand the entire game if they choose. You have done all you can if you ask the person to please sit during the game.

If the person keeps standing, it is your right to find a new seat or you can watch the game from home like discussed in the question. If they are standing on the bench or the actual seat, that is a different story. You have the right to get an arena official and complain.

From past experience, during a recent Thunder playoff game, the stadium was standing during the entire game. It was an amazing game to attend and the fans were involved in every play.

In Oklahoma we have such great tradition with our sports and fans that we need to be as involved in the game as possible. Get LOUD and STAND!

Scott Kinnaird

40’s: Scott Kinnaird’s answer: I think you must either summon the courage to take the offending stadium neighbor to one side and discuss the problem openly and honestly, and hope the person will work with you on a solution.  Or, you should sell the season tickets and watch the game on TV at home.

Who knows, maybe there’s someone in front of the person in front of you, blocking his or her view.  Or, they could be very nice, but just oblivious to what goes on around them.

You never know until you engage and find out.  Short of doing that, it’s best to not waste your money on season tickets and stay home.

Clay Healey

50’s: Clay Healey’s answer: There are many rude behaviors at football games.  Wearing the colors of the other team (ask Seinfeld!), spilling your food and drink, constant waving of giant foam fingers, banners and noisemakers.  These things are all fun, but when overused, they distract from the viewing of the game.  And seeing the action is the bottom line.

Dealing with someone who is standing in front of you most of the game is a special challenge.  Culturally, we expect and accept folks shouting from their seats and standing and cheering the team.  In Japan, for example, folks might watch a football game more quietly, more like we watch a game of golf.  In other cultures, the rowdiness in the stands is so extreme that going to a stadium can be risking life and limb.

But even here, there is no doubt that standing during most of the game, especially when someone behind you has asked you repeatedly to sit down, is rude. Very rude.  I am 6’4″ tall, so I always have to be aware that I might be blocking someone’s view.  If it were possible to simply exchange seats with the obnoxious offender so he would be behind you?  If he’s not a very accommodating gentleman, and the problem has persisted for years, I would ask the team’s office to try to find you other, equally good seats, or ask them to speak to the offender and move him.

Because you are right, if the action in the stands blocks the action of the game, the game is no longer fun, and it would be better to stay home.  And trust me, the team does not want its fans staying home because rudeness goes unchecked in the stadium.  Think of the money they would lose!   Hey, it might even be a business opportunity.  The team’s could start a “Don’t Be a Jerk” campaign and remind fans that certain behaviors at the game are rude and unwelcome.

Sometimes folks will act nicer when they know the whole stadium is watching them!

Ron James

60’s: Ron James’ answer: Firstly, since he’s a big stubborn buttinski, it wouldn’t be a good idea to ratchet up the conversation.  I think we have three options here:

1. Offer him five dollars (cold cash) to trade seats with you.

2. Ask him his name and then start talking to your mate about your rewarding casework at the IRS.

3. Stay at home as I do.  Whilst the 4th quarter drags on, slumping ever deeper into the sofa, simply move the Rotel dip to the side so it doesn’t interfere with your   view.


by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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