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An Open Letter to the Fans of Professional Athletes

Updated on March 24, 2016

An Open Letter to the Fans of Professional Athletes


Please stop fighting each other to get an autograph.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not a writer. I haven’t wrote an essay since college so this may be incoherent. I may also ramble from time to time. Hopefully, you can follow along to understand my point.

I spent last weekend in Arizona with the Cubs. I am a huge Cubs fan and I am also a Cubs season ticket holder. I am and will always be all-in on this team. The hype and excitement for this season as well as future seasons hasn’t been reached in a very long time. It’s definitely an exciting time to be a Cubs fan. We were definitely excited to travel to Arizona to see this team up close. It was one of the coolest things I have done in my 33 years. I also witnessed one of the ugliest things in my 33 years. That was none other than autograph-seekers.

I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of possessing my favorite athletes’ autograph was once an exciting concept. Being able to possess a baseball signed by Kris Bryant or Anthony Rizzo or Jake Arrieta makes you feel like you own a part of history. I have a few autographs of various athletes including those above that I purchased through the team’s store etc or at other events. It’s a good feeling that ended for me last weekend. Now I don't even know if I’d ever want another autograph. The sheer craziness that took place makes me sad as a grown person and as a human being. I saw so many adults aged 21+ fighting over trying to get a front row spot to get their autograph. I understand the feeling, because I had it, but we also are well aware of where 85% of these autographs are headed. That is the disgusting part to me. You have so many of these so-called adults running over each other and little children so that they can get an autograph that they will sell on eBay to profit.

We live in a capitalist world. That is completely understandable. What I don’t understand is how you think this is totally acceptable? Why is someone bringing in a 2’ x 3’ painting of Kris Bryant to get autographed? Why is it acceptable for that person to be waving around said painting hitting little kids just trying to get out in front? Why are we as a society okay with this behavior? What can we do to fix this?

The whole point of the autograph started as a way for children to obtain a piece of their idols. A way for them to look up on their shelves and see Jake Arrieta’s autograph and think about working as hard as he does to become what he has become. It’s why we wear the jerseys and worship the teams. It’s why I spent my childhood performing fadeaway jumpers like Michael Jordan did in the 90’s. We strive to become these types of people and unfortunately adults are now taking away that ability just so that they may make a quick buck.

I propose to all of you going to sporting events to seriously think about the decisions you are making. Think of the future of our society. Think of this future while you are swinging your oversized painting. Think of the fact that you are stealing autographs from kids who are meeting their idols for quite possibly the first and only time. I truly hope that we can police this ourselves. I hope that eventually we will realize that we should allow the children to be lining up front and center to receive their idol’s autograph. I also realize that this is quite possibly a pipe dream but without hope in this world we are doomed.

I end this by imploring everyone to read this letter and share it with your adult friends. If we can give sport back to the children where it belongs, we will be better off for it.


Matt Calhoun

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