first_imgI understand that college athletics are big, especially college football. As a fan of college athletics for the better part of my 21 years on earth, I can invariably relate to the pain that accompanies a big loss.Even for those of us who do not posses the necessary athletic ability to participate in these contests, our emotions can rise and fall in every bit the same way as the players on the field. For true fans, a team becomes an obsession. They feel compelled, perhaps even entitled, to discuss their favorite team as if they were indeed part of it — many going to such an extent as to replace the term “they” with “we” when discussing the team.I’ve been there, I get it.But seriously, some people need to ease off of their obsession with their team. Supporting your team is all fine and dandy. Want to pay an arm and a leg for a front-row seat at the 50-yard line? Great. Want to buy one of those ridiculous foam flotation devices that are classified as hats? That’s your prerogative. Want to raze the star player on the opposing team at a home contest? More power to you.But threats — that’s where the line is crossed.Yet that’s exactly what happened to Ohio State’s fifth-year senior tight end Ryan Hamby this week. After dropping a touchdown pass Saturday in the Buckeyes’ 25-22 loss to the Texas Longhorns, the Cincinnati, Ohio native has received several “hate e-mails” from supporters of his home-state team.It’s true the Texas vs. Ohio State game was probably the biggest of the young college football season, and that the loss may have cost Ohio State a chance at a national title, but there is plenty of blame to go around. The entire outcome of the game doesn’t fall squarely on Hambly’s shoulders.Hamby won’t elaborate on the content of these emails but anyone can speculate what any drunken college student, after a long night out at the Columbus bars, may have written in a stupor when they stumbled home after drowning their sorrows.”Just dumb things,” is how Hamby classified the e-mails, according to an article in the Akron Beacon Journal. “You almost want to go, ‘In the scheme of life, you’ve got things going on around the world. It’s just a game.’ I didn’t approach it like that, but it is and it happened. I can’t do anything about it.”The same report also mentioned that senior center Nick Mangold heard Buckeye quarterback Justin Zwick received similar threats.Honestly, there is no way to put into words what a travesty these acts are, not only for Ohio State, which by now is used to a few of its supporters acting like complete morons, but for college football.Quick definition: according to Random House, Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines a “fan” as “an enthusiastic devotee, follower, or admirer of a sport, pastime, etc.”Note that the dictionary does not define a fan as “a pompous, arrogant devotee of sport who, realizing his or her own athletic limitations, resorts to flinging ‘your momma’ insults in the Mike Tyson mold at their athletic superiors.”Teams lose, players make mistakes and coaches make bad calls. It’s all part of being a fan. And sure, a bone-head mental mistake or a key drop can drive even the most devout follower of a team crazy, but there is no case where threatening a player, a coach, a referee or any person associated with the contest, is acceptable.Being a fan is about supporting a team through bad times and good. Whether that means supporting a franchise that hasn’t posted a winning season in over a decade — (read: the Milwaukee Brewers) — or one that’s won three of the last four Super Bowls — (read: the New England Patriots).It’s sad that a few fans, in their ridiculous belief that they have the right to threaten athletes (even though they would probably all be embarrassed in a real fight with the players they are attacking) make an entire nation of supporters look like complete and utter idiots.Obviously not every fan in the nation is this way; in fact I would venture to say 99 percent of the sports-loving public acts with a great amount of restraint, and apparently so does Hamdy.”It’s part of life, but you’ve got to deal with it. I’ve got my teammates, coach [Tressel], everybody’s behind me,” Hamdy told the Beacon Journal.Exactly, it’s a part of life. Now if only a few athletically challenged, overly zealous, threat-hurling fans could figure that out.last_img read more