The worst performance in Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday occurred in the stands.
Here's a riddle for Allen Fieldhouse: What do you call a fan who boos his or her own team?
Answer: Not a fan.
Both Jayhawk players and coaches acknowledge there were discouraging aspects to Saturday's overtime loss to Iowa State, but the worst performance didn't occur on the court. It was in the stands where some observers -- we won't call them fans -- decided to boo as J.R. Giddens returned to the floor late in the game.
Here's a young man who was playing his heart out and, although he was having a tough game, doing a darned sight better than anyone in the stands -- with the possible exception of Jayhawk alums Kirk Hinrich and Billy Thomas -- could have done in his place. Things weren't going the Jayhawks' way on Saturday, but it's a sad day when people in the stands show their true colors as fair-weather fans.
It's especially sad when spectators feel the need to take their frustration out on an individual student athlete.
It seems that sportsmanship is becoming a lost art for too many sports spectators. They want to be entertained by a victory; when things aren't going their way, they get testy with officials, coaches and even players. Some observers would like to say that Kansas University's Allen Fieldhouse has become less hospitable because of the point system that rearranged season-ticket seating this year. It seemed that Saturday's booing came primarily from student sections, but such behavior shouldn't be acceptable, regardless of how much you paid for your seat.
As an aside, the good humor of fans in the stands had been tested by the unrelenting parade of honorees onto the court during every timeout in the game. Even the governor and a KU Rhodes scholar were greeted by a momentary groan as they walked onto the court during a timeout late in Saturday's game. All of the scholars and athletes honored at center court certainly are deserving of recognition, but squeezing such honors, as well as commercially sponsored events, into every available break in the game may be too much of a good thing.
Allen Fieldhouse is known as one of the nation's loudest, most energized venues for college basketball. Jayhawk fans are fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a tradition of winning basketball performances there. Saturday's performance by some spectators certainly was a loser. Let's turn the tide and make sure KU is recognized for its sportsmanship as well as its athletic talents.