Let me start this by stating I was born and raised in Michigan, graduated from U of M in 1981 and have lived in Northern Ohio since 1987. In the 25 years here I have become a Cleveland sports fan and recently (thanks to my wife's father giving us his PSL as a wedding gift) became a Browns season ticket holder. Because he first got his tickets in 1954 these are fantastic seats - 3rd deck but row 1 (on the rail) and on the 50 yard line. The Browns suck but I love football so I've enjoyed going to the games and taking my family with me.
This past Sunday my wife and I took our 8 year old son to the game and for the first quarter things were pretty uneventful. The Browns were playing relatively well (for the Browns) and everyone in our section seemed pretty happy. I must add here that because of the quality of these seats everyone around us are season ticket holders and most attend every game. You get to know your neighbors so to speak. But with about 10 minutes to go in the second quarter all Hell broke loose It started with smell of cigarette smoke flowing down upon us and went quickly downhill from there.
For those of you who've been to my wife's website (inshapemom.com) you know she is more than a bit of a health nut so the smell of cigarette smoke drives her insane. And when you couple that personal bias with our 8 year's presence and add in big "no smoking" signs everywhere you get her yelling out "please put out your cigarette - no smoking" loudly. Twice. Now obviously this was a mistake - what should have happened was a simple non-confrontational walk to an usher to inform them of the offense but this didn't happen. So after the second "No smoking" yell from my wife "F-You" was the response. Here is where I made my first tactical error - I turned and looked in the direction of the yell.
At that point I made eye contact with the cause of the smoke and the F-You - two guys in their late 50's about 6 rows up and on the isle. Both started yelling F-You at me now but I wasn't too worried as I'm 6'4", about 245 and work out daily. These guys combined were about my size, very drunk and looked like they had not seen a gym in 40 years. In the words of Mark Dantonio - where's the threat?. I sat back down and went back to watching the game.
With about about 4 minutes to go in the half I made my second tactical error - I went to the bathroom. Upon returning to my section I had to wait for a second to get back into my row (something was happening on the field) when all of sudden one of the guys came running down the steps and started screaming F-You about an inch off my face. Once the shock of what was happening wore off I realized that if I hit this guy I would: 1 - get arrested, 2- spend the night in jail, 3 - probably get sued so I stood my ground and just kept telling him to sit back down. Meanwhile my wife is frantically gesturing to the female security guard one row over who is simply watching all this unfold and not moving an inch. I must add that I'm NOT wearing any Michigan gear I've got all my Browns stuff on so that wasn't causing any provocation.
Anyways after a minute or so of this back and forth exchange between me and drunk angry guy I see his friend stand up and start moving down the steps towards me. At this point I've got a decision to make cause it sure seems like I'm going to be fighting both of them at once in about five seconds. Security guard still hasn't budged and screaming angry guy seems to be getting madder. I notice that the guy coming down the steps is picking up speed and I as I watch him literally start to run down the steps I realize he has lost control and isn't going to stop. I move to my right and he passes both me and his angry friend, almost at full speed, and slams into the back of the head of the guy sitting at the end of our row (sort of a reverse tea bag) at which point he does a slow-motion cartwheel over the rail and onto the mezzanine seats about 10 feet below us. He lands on top of a group of fans who all start yelling obviously and that excitement finally gets the security guard to move. The guy screaming at me sees his friend, forgets about me and runs over to see if his even more drunken buddy is ok. Security arrives, escorts both out of the stadium and I return to my seat hoping my 8 year old somehow missed all this while watching the game.
Can't wait for Sunday against the Redskins. This week I'm taking my 26 year old son instead of the 8 year old.
Edit: If you scroll down a bit you can see a picture of where all magic happened. I just found it on my phone and posted it