The problem: We have season tickets to a professional sports team. There’s an unspoken agreement among surrounding season-ticketholders that, unless something dramatic is happening, we will sit down to watch the play so that everyone can see. Of course, there is that one guy who insists on standing through most of the game. He gets invited with varying degrees of civility to sit down, but it’s no use. He stands rigid, fists clenched, neck and protuberant ears as bright red as his hair, radiating virtuous self-righteousness as the purity of his uber-fandom oozes from every pore. His response: “Why don’t you stand up and support your team?”
Low road: Yes, stand up! And toss your full beer on his head, explaining that you thought his bright red head was on fire.
High road: I know that guy! We all know that guy. It’s not your responsibility to take the high road. It’s his. But uber-fan won’t see himself here, especially if he’s had more than a few beers himself. You’ve tried to be polite. He’s made clear that he doesn’t do polite. You’re outmatched, so bring in enforcements. Representatives of this organization and this stadium want you to have a great experience. Go to fan services, or talk with an usher or security officer. These trained folks can assess the situation and take it out of your hands, whether it’s lewd behavior, drunkenness or flying F-bombs. Some stadiums display phone numbers to which you can anonymously text your concern. Your not-so-stand-up buddy might be escorted out, or you might be moved to different (and often better) seats, a small but sweet victory.
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more of Gail’s “High Road” columns at startribune.com/highroad.