- Casey Hamm
- March 23, 2017
NCAA Basketball Tournament 2017- Glendale Stadium! Four Tips to Keep You Safe At the NCAA Basketball Tournament
Fan violence is not a new phenomenon, but is a dangerous one. It has existed since the beginning of sports and competition. One example is the Sydney Riot of 1879 where approximately 2,000 fans invaded the pitch and disrupted play after an umpiring dispute broke out between members of the visiting English cricket team and the New South Wales Cricket Association.
Although many sports can be violent or have their violent moments within the heat of competition, the real danger is not the athletes and is not on the field or the court. The true danger is in the parking lot and is in the seats at the stadium or the arena. The true danger is the spectators. Many who are drunk, some who are thugs, and some who are both.
In many respects this is unavoidable when thousands of fans are put in a confined space, given alcohol, you throw in testosterone and the adrenaline that comes from being emotionally invested in the game, and violence is going to happen.
An example of this happened on September 21, 2014, at the 49ers-Cardinals NFL football game when a large group of fans began fighting and went tumbling down a flight of concrete stairs. When the melee was broken up and the stairway was cleared, the bloody steps remained.
In baseball, a Dodgers fan was stabbed to death in 2014 after attending a game at San Francisco. Two years earlier Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten into brain damage at Dodger Stadium.
In addition to fan violence, there are other real dangers that we seldom think about. When 20,000 plus people pack into one area like a basketball arena, an event like the NCAA basketball tournament can be an attractive target for anyone wanting to make a statement or simply harm a large number of people. The bombing at the marathon in Boston a few years back is an example of this. You need to know before hand that evacuating from a large event when there has been an incident can be a nightmare. Even after a small incident the situation can quickly spiral out of control because the crowd panics. After any incident, large or small, you can easily be caught off-guard and find yourself in the middle of the chaos without a quick way to get out.
So how can you have fun at a major sporting event and be safe at the same time? These are my tips for staying safe.
- Prior to the sporting event, research the event so that you know what will be going on around you. You want to know:
- How many people will be at the event.
- You want to familiarize yourself with the arena or stadium. You need to know where all of the exits are at the venue and you need to know this prior to the event. You also need to make note of the exists that you believe will draw the fewest number of people if there is an emergency because these are the exists that you want to go straight to.
- When you arrive that the event, look around. Once again, make note of all exits and familiarize yourself with the venue’s layout. Pay attention to the location of medical tents or first aid stations. This is when you need to develop your plan on where you will head if an emergency happens.
- While at the sporting event stay aware of your surroundings at all times and listen to your “gut.” If you feel like something may be wrong, you need to listen to your instincts and act fast. Also, keep an eye on the crowd. If you notice an abnormal increase in the number of people coming into your area, or if you notice a loner that doesn’t seem to belong in the area, this could be the first sign that something isn’t right. If you see something that doesn’t seem right, it’s probably a good time to make your exit.
- Make sure that your entire group knows what the evacuation plan is and where you will all meet if you become separated. Also have a contact outside the event that everyone can call to coordinate planning should something go wrong at the event.
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