By Dom Cioffi
My plan this Sunday was to have a nice breakfast, mow and trim the lawn, pull out the Halloween paraphernalia to decorate the house, clean the garage, make a trip to donate old clothing to the Salvation Army and finish things up with a quick grocery run.
All that, however, was thrown to the wayside when my phone rang just after breakfast. It was one of those phone calls that completely upends your day – except, in this case, it was in a good way.
The phone call came with an offer to join my brother-in-law for an NFL football game – free of charge. But if I wanted to go, I had to be at his house in one hour.
I thought about it for maybe 30 seconds and then got changed and headed out the door. My chores could wait for another day.
We got to the game just prior to kickoff and made our way to our seats, which were situated just to the side of one end zone on the lower level.
Just as I was getting myself settled (with a cold beverage and some cheesy nachos), I noticed a younger guy shuffling past the people in the row just below us. He made his way through and then stopped at the seat just in front of me and sat down. My first thought was, “Perfect, this guy isn’t that tall so my line-of-sight won’t be obstructed.”
He was wearing a jersey of the opposing team (which is always a gutsy move at the home team’s stadium), and looked to have a nice glow on to start the game.
It was apparent that he didn’t come with anyone, but as soon as he sat down, he started engaging with the folks around him.
At first it was lighthearted chatter: “I hope you boys are ready for a beat down,” he stated confidently. “I smell a victory,” he repeated with gusto.
Most everyone smiled graciously; a few more vocal fans threw back a friendly rebuttal.
I caught his back-and-forth, but thought nothing of it. After all, rooting for your team is part of the live action experience. I just assumed he’d eventually settle into the game and enjoy it like a normal fan.
But as soon as the opening kickoff flew through the air, this guy went into full combat fandom. “That’s right! That’s right!” he screamed. “We came here to make a statement!”
He screamed this while standing and frantically waving his arms in the air, forcing me to constantly adjust to his frenetic movements in order to see the game.
When the opposing team scored on their first possession, this guy went bonkers – like he had been put upon his whole life and now had finally found redemption.
He crossed his arms high on his chest and stared at everyone who had a home team jersey on. “How does that feel, suckers?” he said with venom.
People were still tolerating him at this point, but their attitudes would prove to be short-lived.
When the home team came back to score soon after, a few of the fans chided back at him. He did not accept this graciously and instead took it as an issuance of full-scale warfare.
From that point forward, things fluctuated between ugly and alarming. If things went right for his team, he would prance about like he was the king of the world, constantly positioning his arms in a “V” above his head to signify victory; if things went wrong for his team, he would scowl with veil contempt, looking like a constricted python reading to explode forth in attack.
By the third quarter, many of the fans around us were fed up with this guy’s behavior so an usher was called over to calm him down.
This worked for a short time, but being in such close proximity, I could clearly hear him denouncing the move as an obvious attempt at squashing the opposing team’s fan base.
He left for a short time, which allowed everyone in the vicinity to compare notes on just how unruly this guy was. Unfortunately, he returned soon after, looking even more fired up than before.
When things heated up in the fourth quarter he became completely unglued, slamming his chair defiantly and screaming at the top of his lungs.
And when the opposing team clinched the victory, he stood on his chair and verbally abused everyone with a home team jersey. Some took it well, others mentioned that they would be waiting outside to “set things right.”
I watched to see what the guy would do given that so many people wanted to beat him up and he just casually sat down in his seat and started texting on his phone, seemingly content to stay there until the entire stadium was empty, which is exactly what I think he did.
This week’s feature, “Gone Girl,” features a character who is completely nuts as well. But in this case, it makes for one of the year’s best films.
Starring Ben Affleck and directed by David Fincher, “Gone Girl” is a thriller of epic proportions. And while the acting is certainly top shelf, it is the masterful story that really pushes this film to premiere heights.
If you’re in the mood for an intense thriller with a storyline that will keep you guessing until the end, check this one out immediately. It’s everything a great movie should be.
A maniacal “A-” for “Gone Girl”
Got a question or comment for Dom? You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.