November 20, 2007

A Note on Stadium Etiquette

Last week while attending a Knicks-Clippers game at the Staples Center, I happened to take notice of a man sitting on the lower level who would break into a full-scale body gyration complete with clenched teeth/overly intense game face during every timeout. His dancing (if it could be called that; it was more like a full-body dry heave set to music, to quote Seinfeld) really had no correlation whatsoever to the music that was playing -- at times, he was thrashing about when the music wasn't even turned up loud.

His shirt, for reasons unknown to me, had the moniker "Rental Man" stamped on the front. At times he wore a cape and alternated between different hats during timeouts. And it goes without saying that most fans (myself included) found him to be at best a mild source of amusement and at worst a PCP-crazed buffoon. (For reference, see the video above, which shows Rental Man, who is apparently something of an Internet phenomenon, doing his thing at Dodger Stadium.)

Eventually, an usher approached Rental Man regarding his loutish behavior and, unable to tell him he couldn't exercise his right to act like an ass, this usher did the next best thing, saving us all from further exposure to the man's dancing by forcing him to take his proper seat (which was located at the end of a row where he couldn't traipse around in the aisle).

This quietly brought an end to the Rental Man regime for that evening at least. And to tell the truth, his vomitous body motions had more or less faded from my consciousness until this Tuesday night, when I saw a different but altogether shocking example of inexplicable stadium behavior.

Late in the third quarter of the Raptors-Mavs game, as Dirk Nowitzki was unleashing a barrage of four straight treys to close the quarter, the Mavs TV broadcast cut to a shot of a fan holding a sign in the stands. The sign read:

"Dirk Will Lead the 4th Reich"

I didn't come here to give a lecture about why this sign is wildly insensitive and inappropriate (however, if you're interested, you can attend my upcoming lecture series, "Cultural Insensitivity and Inappropriate Nazi Germany References at Our Nation's Basketball Arenas"). What I will say is that if Rental Man is going to get censored for doing a shit-poor Elaine Benes impersonation at the Staples Center, then 4th Reich Boy really shouldn't have been allowed into American Airlines Arena wielding that particular piece of cardboard. And perhaps more to the point, he sure as hell shouldn't have been put on TV holding up said sign (though you have to think that someone in the TV truck realized that pretty quickly, because the shot of the sign was only on the air for about two seconds before it cut away).

In sum:

1) PCP is bad for your health.

2) Rental Man is possibly insane and definitely hard to look at, but probably harmless (though I might not recommend inviting him in for coffee).

3) If I ever see you with a "4th Reich" sign or any derivative thereof at an arena near me, I'll personally take said sign from your clutches, rip it into at least eight pieces and then dump a cup of expensive soda on your head.

Thank you, that is all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! I noticed that "Fourth Reich" sign at the end of the game - not the third quarter. I thought the cameraman made a stupid mistake by showing that...but to show show it twice? That was no mistake, just idiocy...or ignorance. Take your pick.

I'm sure if Dirk had seen that, he would have told someone to tell that kid to get rid of the sign...or twist his nipples off. Take your pick.

12:51 AM, November 21, 2007  
Blogger The OCC said...

Can't believe that was on twice. I'm guessing Dirk would have gone with the nipple twist if given the option.

12:13 PM, November 21, 2007  
Anonymous Aimee Berg said...


11:06 AM, November 28, 2007  

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