The Universal Notebook: Let’s hear it for the loud-mouthed jerk
Welcome to the annual meeting of the Loud-Mouthed Jerks Organization. I am Ed Beem, president for life of the Southern Maine Chapter of LoMoJo. At the request of a prospective member, I have been asked to review the qualifications for and benefits of membership.
As you know, LMJs have become frequent contributors in recent years to press conferences, political rallies, town meetings, and State of the Union addresses, but we are here today to discuss the time-honored role of LMJs in our primary arena – the sporting event.
If you possess some or all of the following attributes, you may qualify for our elite club of individuals to whom fall the awesome responsibility of controlling a game with the sheer power of their voices.
First, do you possess a bellow, a voice that can be heard above bands, cheerleaders, referees’ whistles and the general cacophony of lesser fans?
Do you possess strategic timing? The best time to heckle or complain, of course, is the lull after general complaints have been voiced.
When you hear the good sportsmanship announcement before every game, do you think the request to refrain from derogatory remarks towards players, fans and officials does not apply to you?
Are you able to see an infraction take place better than the officials on the court or field no matter where you are sitting or standing?
Do you often find that the officials are favoring the other team? Though this is rarely actually the case (except in York, where it is pretty much the rule), “Call it both ways, ref!” should be a staple of your verbal arsenal.
Are you able to make the fine distinction between good, hard aggressive play (your child and his/her teammates) and dirty players (their opponents)? As a rule of thumb, an offensive foul occurs whenever an opposing player runs into your kid. A defensive foul occurs whenever your kid runs into an opposing player.
Do you think your child’s team depends on you to make sure the game is fair?
Do you believe that shouting contests in the stands or on the sidelines are almost as important to the outcome of a game as the game itself?
Even knowing that referees will never change the calls you protest, do you reason that berating them will help your team get the next call or a makeup call?
Do you believe with all your partisan soul that the folks hooting and hollering for the other side are just making fools of themselves, but that you are expressing righteous indignation?
If so, consider the benefits of LoMoJo membership.
The most obvious and immediate perk is that you should always have plenty of empty seats around you.
Your son or daughter will, as you establish yourself as force to be reckoned with, learn a valuable life lesson in mortification.
You will rarely, if ever, have to watch a game with your spouse (if you still have one).
Sports fans throughout the league will know you well and see you coming.
If your plaints are especially vociferous and persistent, you may earn the public recognition you so richly deserve when a referee actually stops a game to deal with you. (I have received this recognition on more than one occasion, but I am a pro.)
And if you prove yourself to be a Jerk Among Jerks, the highest distinction a LMJ can earn, you may succeed in being thrown out of a game, thus demonstrating your utter selflessness through your willingness to sacrifice your dignity for the sake of the team.
Personally, I have only earned this distinction once (in defense of a soccer goalie who was repeatedly run into by opposing forwards without a single foul being called), but I am aware of legendary LMJs who have been banned for entire seasons.
If you recognize yourself in any of the above, you may already be a Loud-Mouthed Jerk without realizing it. Welcome to the club.