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The Orion

Cat Bite: Playoff rivalries can go too far

Nick Woodard, Sports Editor.

In all my year of attending baseball games, I have never gotten close to being in a brawl. That is, until I went to my first playoff game on Tuesday.

It was the ninth inning, and you really couldn’t ask for more from a playoff game. The score was tied at 4, and the crowd was rowdy, hungry even for a win. Nearly all the spectators in center field were on their feet, so naturally my dad and I rose to cheer on the team from a better vantage point.

Then, I received a tap on my shoulder.

An older, larger man was on the end of that tap. I didn’t see his team affiliation, but he promptly lectured me on how disrespectful I was being by standing. I countered by politely apologizing and saying that this was the only way I could see the game, with everyone in front of me on their feet as well. Fine, he said.

The man proceeded to stand on the seat in front of me to directly block my vision of the game. My dad tried to calmly explain to the man what I had already tried to convey, that I really couldn’t see and I meant no disrespect. Apparently caught up in a huff, the man returned to his original post, but not before letting me know how he felt.

“What a f****ing disrespectful punk.”

Now, I don’t know if this is a common phrase, but I’ve definitely never been defined by it. I wasn’t sure if it was because of what was on the line in the game, the fictitious hot dog that he accused me of knocking out of his hand, or the seemingly endless amount of alcohol this man had consumed prior to our little conversation. But with that statement, it became clear that he wasn’t too fond of me.

One other thing became clear to me as well. My dad and I combined may not have amounted to this man’s mass, but we were the bigger individuals. We came to watch two of the best teams in baseball battle for supremacy. No rounded bleacher bum was going to change that.

An inning later, my team won with a bunt that became a walk-off error by the opposing pitcher, and the stadium erupted. People screaming, high-fiving, rejoicing in what felt like a win that truly belonged to us all. In the midst of taking in the most exciting game I’ve ever been to, I though about turning back around to face my new nemesis, hopefully with some quick-witted comment.

But even in the craze of the playoff atmosphere, I had an overwhelming sensation to think better of it. My team had just earned a playoff victory in the most dramatic of fashions. My dad and I resisted another individual’s childish ploy to engage us. We had already won on both accounts.

I never looked back.

Nick Woodard can be reached at [email protected] or @nwoodard25 on Twitter.

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