Pro-Tip: Don’t Steal From A Kid

There’s something that is known as the cardinal fan rule in sports: when a ball is coming toward a child and they clearly want it, you–as the adult–let them have it. Yet again and again we’ve seen YouTube videos and news reports of grown adults stealing a baseball from a child. In almost all cases they step RIGHT in front of the kid and take the ball.

This is inexcusable and the adults who break this rule are understandably lambasted for it afterwards. You don’t act selfishly and break a kid’s heart by taking something that the player wanted them to have and that they wanted desperately themselves. The kid, understandably, begins crying and just doesn’t understand how an adult can be so cruel.

I wish this only happened at sporting events–heck, I wish it didn’t even happen at all. However, some people are cruel and only care about themselves. Unfortunately, it is also a problem at concerts.

Picture this: you’re a 5, 10, 15 year old kid at your first concert. You’ve stood in line for hours and manage to secure a spot in the first row or two. You’re so excited to see your favorite band for the first time. They make some eye contact with you during the show and smile at you–it is, after all, pretty cute to see a young fan having the time of their life and rocking out to your songs. As a kid, it just makes your day and possibly your week/month to have this small interaction with a band you really, really like.

At the end of the show, you stand around hoping for a pick or a setlist or a drumstick to remember your first concert by. The singer or guitarist notices you–a young fan–hoping eagerly for a pick or a setlist. They decide to toss one or put one in your direction. Obviously they can’t come right up to you to give it to you–security protocols and all–but they try their hardest to make sure it lands in your hands.

Then an adult reaches over you and grabs it right out of your hands. Rather than doing the right thing and giving you something that you were meant to have, they keep it for themselves. It’s not very important to them, but it’s cool to have and dammit it, they don’t care if it breaks some kid’s heart.

My niece experienced this situation for herself last Friday. As her aunt and an adult, it hurt me to see a fellow adult (considerably older than I) behave in such a way. Below is a short post I wrote up and plan to share with fellow fans and the band themselves via social media:

“My 16yo niece and I were at the Alter Bridge concert in Grand Rapids Friday. It was her first AB concert ever and she had an incredible time being among other AB fans—except for one fan at the end of the night.

My niece and I were a few people apart from one another—she purchased a VIP ticket while I did not, so she had first row right in front of Myles. I was on my knee scooter a few people away (broken foot w/ cast, but still wanted to be on the floor at the concert). I was worried about not being right next to her, but all the fans surrounding her were incredibly nice so that set my mind at ease.

After the encore, Myles Kennedy (lead singer of AB) threw out picks and handed out setlists to fans. During the concert Myles kept looking in my niece’s direction and smiling at her—probably because it was cute to see such a young kid rocking out and having the time of her life.

Myles looked right at my niece and threw a pick in her direction—it bounced off her hand but the lady behind her was nice enough to give it to her. Then Myles began handing out setlists. Again, he looked right at my niece and tried to reach out to hand the setlist to her—there was probably a 5 foot distance between them. My niece is an itty, bitty 5’0 but was trying with all her might to reach that setlist.

A lady to her right began reaching out for the setlist. My niece finally grabbed it and was about to bring it in when the other lady grabbed it OUT OF MY NIECE’S HANDS. I witnessed this from a 6 feet away and was shocked that a grown woman who is a VIP for life and already has 10+ setlists (she bragged about this before the show) would steal a setlist from a young fan who was at her first show. I know who this lady is but won’t publicly say her name–I do not want to stoop to her level.

There were 4-5 other younger kids at the show that this could have happened to. It’s not right to steal a pick or setlist or any other item from a young fan. Every other AB fan I’ve spoken to has said how wrong this was.

Behavior like this has no place at a concert, especially not this one. The AB fan community as a whole is full of great, kind people. People like this lady shine a bad light on the community.

To the lady who did this, I hope it was worth it to bring down a young fan’s first AB concert experience. I also wonder how many other setlists you’ve stolen out of other fans’ hands, considering you have so many. It is sad that you resorted to this behavior even once. Shame on you.

Despite this, my niece cannot wait to see AB live again. We know that one selfish fan does not represent a whole community of awesome fans—we met so many great ones at the concert and Alter Bridge put on an amazing concert.

Next time I’ll be right next to her and will make sure she gets any setlist that comes her way. And if I ever see a young fan at a concert reaching for a setlist or pick or drumstick, I will do everything I can to make sure they get it.”

What I wrote above won’t change what happened to my niece. As it was, my niece took this well, didn’t cry or get angry, but was disappointed that another “fan” would do this.

But I hope my post prevents this from happening to any other youngster at a concert or baseball game.

When we see a child at sporting event or concert, we need to behave better. We shouldn’t do anything that makes the concert experience unpleasant for anyone–especially a child.

If a child is behind us and desperately wants front row, we should let them have it.

If a child is in the pit with with us, we should be careful not to knock them down (luckily not an issue at our concert).

And if a child is reaching desperately for a pick or setlist that the band member tried to give to them, we should let them have it.

It’s the right thing to do. It’s the mature thing to do. And most importantly, it’s the adult thing to do.

We need to set a better example for our kids and stop being so selfish.

Alter Bridge In Grand Rapids

My niece enjoying her first Alter Bridge concert. She is to the right of the nice Tremonti shirt wearing fan in the middle.

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