My family recently attended a college football game.
I don’t want to mention where for fear of embarrassing the institution, but it was my alma mater and it rhymes with University of Missouri.
My wife and son were witness to more than a football game that evening.
They were treated to a play by play narration of the contest from a lovely human being sitting behind us, a man who apparently never met a beer he didn’t like, or a swear word he wasn’t willing to use in public.
As a parent, when you bring a child to a major sporting event that has been preceded by hours of tailgating, you knowingly accept the fact that you will be subjected to unwanted vocabulary lessons at some point during the game. The situation we found ourselves in that night, unfortunately, was much more than we bargained for.
So, as only a wife can do, before the first half was over, and after being serenaded to drunken diatribe after drunken diatribe, I got the look.
My wife’s face was seeking two answers to the same question. With just a slight head nod, and without speaking, she asked me, “are you going to do something about this?”
Albeit in the form of a question, this, of course, was really more of a command. After the slight nod, I could see her eyes go blank and her expression turn inquisitive as she internally asked the question again, “are you going to do something about this?”
This time, she was debating if I even was the type of guy who would do something about this.
With one face, and two questions, my manhood, and potential for a peaceful drive home, was cast into doubt.
I wanted to flag my wife and the idiot behind me for unnecessary roughness, and have them both ejected from the game. That, however, was not going to happen.
So dutifully, and with all the confidence one can muster when about to get into a fist fight for the first time since junior high, I stood and turned around.
During the two seconds it took to stand and turn, I hoped for many, many things.
I hoped this guy behind me was Steve Urkel and not Stone Cold Steve Austin.
I hoped that he was so tanked that he had the reaction time of a frozen pea. I hoped that I wouldn’t drop the soda and hot dog I just spent $435 on.
I really hoped my son wouldn’t ask what some of those words meant on the way home from the game. Mostly, I hoped a firm word and diplomacy would win the day, because I have no jab, and my upper cut wouldn’t cut it, if you know what I mean. I said my peace to this clearly intoxicated young man, gave my wife a look that said, “internally discuss that!” then sat back down and waited to either be kicked in the back of the head or thrown up on.
Happily, diplomacy did win the day, order was quickly restored, and we enjoyed the remainder of the game in relative silence.
The young man behind us was leaning on those around him and unable to speak during the second half because of the shock and awe of my visage as I turned to confront him, and not because he really needed Advil and a nap. That’s my take on it anyway.
I just hope those around me didn’t hear the sentence enhancers I used when Mizzou squandered a lead and lost the game.