Boos drown out what makes sport great

A FOOTBALL stadium is a theatre filled with a myriad of sounds.

There's the roar of the crowd when a goal is kicked. The chorus of 'ball' when a tackle is laid. The thump of a leather ball on boot. The smack of skin on skin as players fight for possession.

All combine to create an electric atmosphere, a place where people can forget the stresses of everyday life and immerse themselves.

Booing is a sound which reverberates around these coliseum-like venues too. It can often drown out everything else and change the mood. It has been and will forever be a part of sport but lately it's become a talking point in the AFL.

Brownlow Medallist Gary Ablett was subjected to jeers against Hawthorn on Easter Monday. Collingwood skipper Scott Pendlebury likewise after winning the Anzac Day medal against Essendon.

Fans have been known to turn on their own too.

Those in the stands using all their energy to berate players will have different reasons for doing so - to rattle a champion, to verbalise their displeasure with a decision or action or to show they stand opposed to a player's off-field views or antics. Whatever the justification, booing has an ugly feel to it.

Personally, I've never bought into it despite many frustrating moments with my team, the opposition and umpiring decisions in the stands. As the saying goes 'play the ball, not the man'.

I know some of these players are earning a significant amount of money but all the money in the world doesn't make someone immune from self-doubt.

While some players thrive on the hostility thrown their way, others might not.

It might stay with them once they trudge off the field and the booing has stopped.

Sportsmanship is a factor to consider too.

Children mimic those around them and if they see booing as an appropriate way to act they will replicate it. Isn't it better to teach kids respect?

So next time your frustrations start to boilover and you begin to boo, stop and think: is there a better way to do this?

Take a step back and embrace the other sounds which make sport great. And hope you get to hear the best sound in football - your team's song.