Yesterday at the football...(What? Football! Hang on...I can explain, oh whatever...)...a very unlikeable man was sitting behind us.
He had an incredible vocal ability. He could amplify his voice to such a level that it got serious cut through. He was impossible to ignore.
Thing is, the way he barracked for his team was just plain bad sports-person-ship. He was really into abusing the other team and not above abusing his own team members, in fact he seemed to enjoy this as much as he did celebrating their wins.
All of this made him obnoxious, unlikeable, unpleasant.
But we're at the football.
He was worst than most...but there isn't much of a case for asking him to be quiet or change his behaviour (even though everyone around him desperately wanted him to stop ruining the game...)...it's the football!
I sat there waiting for him to yell something racist, sexist or homophobic out...
I'd decided that was my line. I was prepared to stand up and tell him that he could barrack however he wanted, be loud and obnoxious, but it was not acceptable for him to say racist, sexist or homophobic things. Full stop.
And he didn't.
We moved seats, a few rows behind him, so that he wasn't blasting his dribble in our ears.
At half time something disturbing happened.
It seems that he was there with family and friends. A few adults to his right, two 10 year old girls to his left and two young adult men in the row behind him.
At half time he turned to these two young men, who had just come back from getting a drink, and said to them:
"What have you two fellas been up to? Raping and pillaging? Having your way with the ladies?"
Both young guys said very little. I'm pretty sure they were embarrassed by his behaviour in general.
It was gross.
I was very uncomfortable and said...nothing.
You see, he wasn't yelling it out for the world to hear. It was a semi-private conversation that I was over hearing. It felt like if I said something that he could be rightly angry with me for eavesdropping.
Excuses, excuses...I think this is the classic thing that men do to excuse themselves from saying the thing they know they want to say but don't feel confident enough to say.
Did I feel safe enough to say something? Maybe. Probably. But I'm a little unsure about that. I think public humiliation would be pretty high on this fella's triggers. I don't really know what he would have done. And I genuinely didn't feel justified in saying anything because I was "listening in".
It's all so confusing.
Did I let the team down or did I just keep myself safe?
How's this kind of crap going to stop if no one says anything?
Does getting my head punched in really help the situation?
More questions than answers on this one.
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