Spectacular Spectators

by Rich on August 7, 2017

Listening to a sports call-in show last week, I heard the host ask the audience about the most amazing thing they had seen at a live sporting event (it is the dog days of summer, after all, and while baseball is in full swing and football is right around the corner, Wednesday afternoons on a small market radio show can be challenging to fill). The callers responded in a somewhat predictable manner. Many spoke of miraculous plays, spectacular feats of speed and strength, and incredible, last second, come from behind victories. All worthy fodder for the talk show cannon.

But here’s the thing…while I certainly have my fair share of those types of experiences, some of the most memorable experiences I have had at live sporting events have little to do with the actual game being played. Almost all have occurred around me in the stands, or, on a few notable occasions, in the press box.

Take for instance the little league baseball game I attended in north Florida a few years ago. After the 3rd inning, the mother of one of the players became so excited at her son’s prowess on the pitching mound, that she stood up and removed her top, swirling it around her head like a towel at a Pittsburgh Steelers game, whooping it up at the top of her substantial lungs. Her bikini top. No lie. One assumes alcohol was involved. And while that sight was…interesting, what was really memorable was the response by those around her. Half her friends high fived her and half tried to tackle her. The dads in attendance wisely stayed out of the melee and waited to see how things would play out. Speaking of play, on the field, it stopped completely. Order was restored and play resumed only after the young ump asked the excited mom to write her phone number down in his score-book, put her top back on, and promise to remain clothed for the rest of the game. In that order. What happens in the stands of a little league field in North Florida, stays in the stands of a little league field in North Florida.

Then there was the group of 4 twenty-something guys at the Sugar Bowl a number of years ago. Keeping in mind when (around New Years Eve) and where (New Orleans) the Sugar Bowl takes place, it’s probably no surprise that I might witness something amazing at that particular venue. Said gentlemen had obviously been working hard to save themselves a considerable amount of money at the concession stand inside the Superdome by consuming all of their alcohol outside the Superdome prior to kick off. As I took my seat, I noticed that one of these poor youths had become overcome with fatigue and was fast asleep. On the ground in front of his seat. It was at this point that the other three decided to be responsible, and after refueling from a strolling beer vendor, they proceeded to attempt an exit with their sleeping companion. I say “attempt” because they didn’t make it far. Three steps, to be precise, where they then unceremoniously dumped unlucky number 4 into the lap of 2 female spectators. I will say this…the New Orleans Police Department is both patient and polite when dealing with disgruntled female spectators.

So many amazing things happen at live sporting events. And a large number have little to do with the game itself. Although I’m not sure either of the above mentioned stories would make for good radio. But who knows? Maybe next Wednesday I’ll call in.

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