Page 1 of 1

True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:05 pm
by david
Last night I went to the local high school basketball game because my two daughters play in the pep band (the oldest playing saxophone and the youngest playing guitar). This is in a small, rural county school in Kentucky.

I was sitting in the upper bleachers very near the pep band. The crowd was somewhat thin, but enthusiastic about the game, as it was the only event going on in the county all week. About ten feet from me and three bleachers back a fight suddenly broke out.

This fight consisted of a young guy (about 40) trying desparately to get at a man in his 60's, but being fended off by several guys in their 60's or early 70's (one of whom just retired as the county's circuit court clerk). There was much screaming, cursing, swinging of arms and even some kicking.

Finally a county deputy came rushing up the bleachers and grabbed the young guy and pulled him down the bleachers by his coat collar.

Even though the game was tight, the crowd (from both sides of the gym) fell completely silent and was watching the real show.

In the nearly silent gym the young man was screaming, "But he spit in my freggin' coke!" And the deputy was screaming, "I don't care, you can't fight in here." The man was bum rushed to the exit where I could see he was having an animated conversation with the deputy. In a few minutes the deputy came back to the older men and asked, "Did you really spit in his coke?"

They explained that the young guy had nearly finished his coke and left his seat, leaving the bottle sitting there. One of the older men had appropriated the abandoned bottle to spit his tobacco juice in. When the young man came back he found his coke bottle missing and when he discovered his coke was now being used as a spit bottle he took personal offense.

The deputy went back to the young man and explained to him that he ought to know that if he left his coke unattended for very long somebody was going to spit tobacco juice in it. They agreed it would be best if he found a different place to sit for the duration of the game.

Now, while all this was unfolding the players on the floor were enough distracted by trying to see what was going on up in the bleachers that the coach called a time out. This was the cue for the pep band (which was about 20 feet from the fight and the commotion that followed) to begin playing. The band director stood and counted off the time, and about three band members began to play--all the others were watching the fight. As the students gradually began to realize they were supposed to be playing they began, one at a time, to play, but all coming in at a different point in the song.

The band director reacted by trying to shut down the band so they could begin again, but his attempts to wave them off were interpreted by the distracted and startled students as meaning to hurry. So, some were hastily beginning the song, others were trying to catch up, others were shutting down.

It seemed the perfect sound track to the deputy wading into the kicking and screaming pile of old folks in the bleachers and dragging the attacker head first down the bleachers.

I figured it was a valuable lesson for the budding young musicians about live gigs and crowd behavior. My daughters just thought it was fun to watch old folks fight.

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:27 pm
by ricochet
Shoulda videoed it!

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:26 pm
by bluejay
Two thoughts:

Chicken wire around the pep band for full authenticity in the future.

They should incorporate this scenario into American Idol.

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:49 pm
by jeffl
Quite a story David. It amuses me that we expect kids to act like adults at public events, and adults often act like kids.

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 6:57 am
by Reverend Mojo
I kept waiting for the punchline.

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2008 3:45 pm
by david
Reverend Mojo wrote:I kept waiting for the punchline.


When you live in a small rural community life is a long series of punchlines!

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 12:09 pm
by maxx england
I'm not normally envious of anyone, but I just wish I'd been there.

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:05 pm
by ricochet
Ray Stevens would have written a song about it if he'd been there.

Re: True Story: fight at the pep band

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 5:03 pm
by david
I do feel strangely fortunate to have been sitting right there while the whole thing unfolded. You don't get to witness something like that very often.

It was a truely gestalt sort of experience that can't be adequately expressed in words. I have to describe all the component parts one at a time but they were all happening at the same time. The whole event couldn't have lasted more than a minute or two at most.

Ray Stevens, or maybe Tom T. Hall, could have done a much better job of capturing the event as it actually happened. I was watching in disbelief at what I was seeing but the worst part is that I couldn't laugh because I know everyone involved. They are all upstanding members of the community and the very last people I would have thought would be in a fight at a ball game.

As the old saying goes: I've been to a state fair and two goat ropings and I ain't never seen anything like that.