Bad Time Sports Cartoon Posted December 15, 2012

I would say that I had a complicated relationship with my father if I didn't already think complicated relationships with fathers were the functional default.

I don't know. Maybe it's something I made up. Maybe I self-selected a cohort messed up for the same reasons I am. In any case, I never spent much time with him. Any time we did manage to spend together was often tense and felt like stepping on egg shells. It seemed like we were different in every conceivable way, and nothing I did ever seemed to make him proud. Whenever he berated me over my interests and hobbies and how they were all a waste of time, I usually just ignored him and not bother sticking up for myself.

But we did share one common interest, and that was football. My father eventually become terminally ill from pancreatic cancer, and I was determined to get some quality "father-son" wherever I could. In the summer of 2009, I bought some tickets to a Browns/Vikings game and treated my father out.

We arrived early, so we ended up talking while the stadium was filling up. We were swapping opinions and catching up on things. No arguments, just... agreeing on stuff and learning from each other. It was riveting!

But just as we were beginning to enjoy ourselves, we heard an obnoxiously loud voice shouting in front of us. With more than twenty minutes left until kickoff, this somewhat overweight middle-aged woman with strained hair and a cup of booze was screaming... "C'MON!! LET'S GET THE GAME GOING ARLEADY!! IS THE OTHER TEAM SCARED OR WHAT?!"

Any attempts to return to our conversation proved to be futile, as the woman kept on shouting towards the field. Moving elsewhere was out of the question since the stadium was completely full at that point. When the opposite team was being introduced, she shouted more obscenities in two minutes than I've heard from an entire Eminem album. She even made chicken noises in a futile attempt taunt the opposite team.

This type of behavior might be on the lower-end of acceptable if you're sitting front row in the infamous 'Dawg Pound', but we were nowhere close to it; We were situated in the nose-bleed section on the upper-level mezzanine. Don't get me wrong -- celebrating, shouting toward the field, or periodically teasing a fan of the opposite team is what fans are supposed to do... but only when a reason presents itself. But there was no rhyme or reason to her outbursts. There was no peace to be found in our section. She had complete disregard for everyone around her. This woman had the complete inability to grasp the fact that everything she was doing had zero effect on the outcome of the game, but she was convinced that she was. And she was going to keep doing it no matter what. I've witnessed at least two fans kindly suggesting her to take things down a notch, only for her to bust out in a verbal rampage that would've made even Satan blush.

There was no salvaging this experience. One quarter of the game was all my dad could stomach before he wanted to leave.

But I couldn't let this slide. Before we made our way out, I ended up throwing my empty water bottle at her.

Many angry words were exchanged from a short distance, and a ragefest of DragonBall Z proportions ensued.

The funny thing that came out of all this was the fact that the section guard was evidently oblivious to all of her tantrums during the game, but he gave me flak for doing what I did.

As we made our way out of the stadium, I felt defeated. I just wanted to have one good day with my father, and I wasn't going to get another chance like this again. But as we headed toward the car, my dad lightly chuckled and said the very words I've waited all of my life to hear...

At least he seen me stick up for myself before he passed away.

Dedicated to Robert Lee Branham. See you on the other side.