DEAR MISS MANNERS: My fiance and I are quarreling over a point of sports etiquette.
Suppose that you support the away team at a sporting event. Is it polite to vocalize your support?
He claims that it is rude to cheer for your own team. I claim that it is perfectly acceptable to cheer for your own team but not to boo the home team.
I have never known him to stay quiet at a sporting event when he supports the away team, but he says that he realizes that he is being rude and expects the home fans to be rude in return if he is too loud in his support.
GENTLE READER: This is not the crowd from the Sunday afternoon symphony series, you know.
Participation of a robust, informed and opinionated audience is part of the event. They are not supposed to sit there frozen, withholding their critical judgment and then issue polite applause in order to thank the professionals for allowing them to observe them doing their job. Everyone should be allowed to express the acceptable level of approval or disapproval, regardless of whether other members of the audience concur in that judgment.
But although there is no etiquette violation involved here, Miss Manners fears there may be a safety issue. These events tend to attract rough crowds, and what is not improper may, unfortunately, still be imprudent.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: At the very end of a recent full-length ballet performance, I stood up for an ovation when the curtain opened and the two principal dancers appeared onstage for their bows. After a couple of seconds, I was tapped on the shoulder with a comment that I was blocking the view of a couple of people in the rows behind me.
Given that I was seated in the middle of a row and was unable to move to either aisle without inconveniencing or blocking other peoples' views, I continued to stand and give an ovation to the various dancers who came out for their bows in appreciating of their phenomenal performance.
GENTLE READER: See above. Now, this is a really rough crowd.
Feeling incorrect? Address your etiquette questions (in black or blue-black ink on white writing paper) to Miss Manners, in care of this newspaper. The quill shortage prevents Miss Manners from answering questions except through this column.
Copyright 2002 by Judith Martin
Distributed by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.
END MISS MANNERS 8-13-02