Monday, November 22, 2004

Ode to Ron Artest

I know what Ron Artest did the other night was pretty inexcusable. There is an unwritten code (in fact, it probably is actually written down) that a player should never ever ever ever go into the stands and beat up a fan. The fans pay good money for their tickets and they have the right to cheer and boo however they want. I know that athletes are generally spoiled brats with money and no concept of consequences (and Artest is the poster child for this type of behavior).

But I loved it.

I'm not going to lie to you. I'm glad Ron Artest ran into the stands like an uncaged rhino and started beating Pistons fans down. I know it could have started a full-scale melee, already being in Riot Capital USA. And I know it was dangerous. But seriously, it was pretty awesome. Admit it, you know it was. Don't lie to me.

Why? Well, how many times have you been to a sporting event where some punk-ass, I-just-turned-21 fucker and all his boys get all liquored up and start acting like assholes. It usually starts with some loud comments pointed at the opposing team, then devolves into profanity (the presence of kids is irrelevant to these jerks), and later, if you're lucky, the picking of fights.

Now, I've been there. I was 21 once, for a whole year, in fact. And not to sound self-righteous, but I always behave myself at sporting events. I get very loud and yes, often boisterous at games, but never have I gotten so drunk or so obnoxious that I started getting borderline violent. (Okay, there was a New England-Buffalo game I went to in September where I got close to that point with some douche-bag Patriots fans, but it was pretty good-natured.)

Pointlessly self-reflexive flashback warning! You can skip this part if you want.

The most obnoxious I've ever been at a sporting event was at a Syracuse SkyChiefs game on July 4th weekend of 2003. I was at the game with the usual cast of characters -- Dan, Javen, Will, Jitter, Phelps, Toastie -- and when I got to the game, they were already drunk, of course. (It was the 2nd inning, after all.) Danny, of course, was really in the bag, and got into a fight with an 11-year old boy about 8 rows ahead of us. The boy was telling Dan he was drunk, to which Dan replied something like, "No shit." Dan and the boy sparred verball briefly, but it never got into anything violent; mostly it was just a philosophical disagreement. I think at one point, the kid actually said, "You're sad," and I think Dan was just loopy enough to actually be slightly hurt by this. But in typical Dan Banazek fashion, he said something to the effect of, "Yeah, well you're sober!" The kid was gone by the 5th inning.

Later on during the game, we were all becoming more intoxicated, but never too rude. We were obnoxious, to be sure, but a fun-loving kind of obnoxious. I was roundly maligned for ordering a medium beer. Will and I began a rousing rendition of Gary Glitter's "Rock & Roll Part 2," a-capella style. I could tell that everyone in our section was completely annoyed by us, although some were amused by a bunch of idiots who were far too old to be acting like such jackasses. The point is, it was never a situation where any other fans would have felt in danger or threatened by us. And let's face it, P&C Stadium is such a sterile environment that it could use a little shakeup once in a while. I'd like to think we provided just that very opportunity.

I don't remember much else about the game, but I do remember, as we were walking to our cars after the game, we continued a surprisingly coherent version of "Rock & Roll Part 2" again. (You may know it as the "da dada daaaa dum...HEY! dada dadum" song they play at nearly every sporting event these days.) And just as the drum solo comes in ("boom ba boom ba boom ba HEY, boom ba boom ba boom ba HEY"), I -- acting as the conductor of this glorious symphony -- started walking backward and shushing everyone with a single index finger to my lips, while tapping the cadence in the air to the imaginary drums. I hadn't realized a flock of onlookers had been staring with amused horror at my stupidity, until Jitter addressed the puzzled mob, pointed at me and said matter-of-factly, "Medium beer, folks." I felt like a real ass.

End of flashback.

There is such a contingent of violent fans these days, and security rarely does anything about it. How many times have your good seats been ruined by some drunken asshole who won't shut his mouth, and security just shakes their head and laugh.

And how much would you love that loudmouth little punk, who's been yelling at some guy for the whole game, have a player come off the field of play and beat the living shit out of him? Well the other night, it happened. My favorite part, incidentally, was the kid wearing the black shirt and glasses in the stands who was laughing it up and clearly mocking Artest, until he realized that big Ron was coming after him. Suddenly his face goes from, "ha ha, you suck Artest" to "holy mother of God it's me the crazy bastard is coming after." Watching that little bitch's face change from drunken laughter to abject horror -- and eventually to "being-bashed-in" -- is a moment I relish. I don't care if he threw the first beer or not. To me it ranks up there with 20/20's John Stossel getting his meat lumped by wrestler David "Dr. D" Schultz" when he asked him if it was fake or not. I hope whoever did throw that first beer got an ass-whoopin' too, because like Dan says, "I can't help but shudder when I think about how much the beer fans were tossing cost."

The great thing about this event is that it sets a precedent. Sure, this is unlikely to happen again in the United States for a long time. But the next time some rowdy shit-kickin' hick gets all lit up on PBR and acting like a degenerate, he has to wonder, in the back of his mind, is that guy gonna come up and kick my ass? He'll consider it, won't he? And maybe he'll shut the fuck up until the National Anthem is finished.


JT said...

Oh, Billy, Billy, Billy, Billy. A waste of a beer to get Artest out of the NBA for the rest of the season (especially when he plays for a rival team)? Seems like you have to take one for the team and chuck it at his face if you think you've got the range. Also, this is the appropriate time to use the medium beer. Large beer for drinking, medium for distance and accuracy tosses.

Ban-dingo said...


I may well have been drunk, even disorderly and certainly slightly out of line when I found myself on the losing side of a battle of wits with an 8-year old. But in my defense, it was the 8-year old who was yelling profanities and flipping me the bird. At least, that's how I remember it.