Wife to Nik Turley
I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a long time, but I couldn’t figure out where to start or what to focus on or how to not sound slightly deranged. As you may imagine, no clarity has come through this thinking and so this will all be a jumbled, piecemeal mess. Good luck.
In Port St. Lucie this weekend, there was an exceedingly drunk and exceedingly loud man (correlated? Perhaps). He yelled things (at a very unnecessary decibel) every single time someone went up to bat. It was an extra innings game so most of the stadium had left and he was incredibly audible.
One of our guys came up to bat and he shouted “easy out!” at the top of his lungs (which doesn’t even make sense because that guy had like three hits already but, you know, I’m not here to split hairs). And a boy behind me who was probably about 10 yelled back “that isn’t very nice. Why would you say such a thing?” It was awesome and no, it did not stop the man from continuing to bellow through the remaining innings.
As I laughed, I thought how many times a game some people need to hear that. Did you hear about that Phillies fan a couple of years ago that purposely vomited on an 11 year old girl? Or the Giants fan that was in a coma after getting beaten outside of Dodgers Stadium on OPENING DAY!? I read an article by Mike Celizic on the NBC Sports Web site that summed up my feelings exactly. “And too many fans think that because they paid for a ticket, they can say and do anything they please. I’ve never understood that. You pay for the right to attend an event, and you abide by the rules of the people who own and run the facility. You pay a lot of money to go to the philharmonic, too, but that doesn’t mean you can leap to your feet during the third movement of Beethoven’s Third and inform the oboist that his mother is a woman of loose morals and his daughter hangs around at the gates of the army base.
At team events, you accept a lot of conditions that go with the ticket. You can’t sit anywhere you want. You can’t bring in your own six-pack. You can’t bring in a backpack.
But you can act like an uncivilized jerk? You can behave in a manner that you wouldn’t want to see in your children? You can be foul-mouthed and abusive in front of families and small children? You can call people things you would punch somebody for calling you?
And then you can act surprised and offended on the incredibly rare occasions when someone strikes back?”
Bravo Mike (whoever you are)! What I really want to talk about is that last part. It’s extremely difficult not to get upset when someone insults a person you love. The knee-jerk reaction is to strike back, to deal a blow that evens the score. Luckily, I’ve been largely spared from actually hearing people talk meanly about Nik. It’s only happened once and, so help me, if his dad hadn’t of been there, I might have punched an old man in the head.
In his first outing of Spring Training this year, Nik threw seven balls in a row. Not good. But, hey, it’s Spring Training and I’m his fiancé so I wasn’t too bugged. But an elderly gentleman (I’m taking the high road here) who was there cheering for Nik’s team started yelling, “Next!” after the fifth ball.
Seriously old man?
He hasn’t played a game in six months and this doesn’t even count—why don’t you lighten up? He then continued to yell for the subsequent balls. Listen, I love my fiancé and nobody, not nobody, is going to sit and repeatedly insult him in my presence. I was seriously contemplating throwing down with this guy. But I held my tongue and glared (an if looks could kill kind of stare down) at the back of his head for the rest of the inning.
The thing is, I know I shouldn’t bother with these people. I know I should ignore these things but, ooh, it just makes my blood boil. And I know the taunting and the insults are just going to get worse. Wait until I have to endure the Phillies fans (ugh!). How can I remain gracious and dignified when every fiber of my being wants to superman punch someone in the throat? I don’t have the answers but I desperately hope it’s something that gets easier with time. Maybe one day I’ll wake up and have a “clear the mechanism’ feature ala Kevin Costner and be able to tune everyone out when Nik pitches. Wouldn’t that be a glorious end to my struggles with sportsmanship?