A Little Bummed Out
Well, the passage of a few days has helped temper the frustration and embarrassment I felt after watching the uncivil, competitive, and self-absorbed behavior of some of my fellow Nats fans. But I'm still a little bummed out by some of what I saw.
I certainly don't condemn everyone who attended Opening Night - it was predominantly a fun, excited, eager, *cold* bunch of baseball fans.
But as I walked through the spacious, open concourses, I was struck by how selfish and petty so many of my fellow fans were as they marched around the new building. I felt like I was on the Beltway in rush hour - countless people rushing headlong to their goal, unwilling to cede an inch of ground to anyone going in a different direction, or at a different pace. I saw a woman who appeared to be 65 or 70 turn from a Team Apparel outlet on the main concourse level and get bowled over by three laughing men. These well-dressed, self-impressed guys were too busy walking in circles to even notice they'd knocked her down. But she wasn't able to get up immediately; the crowd was in too big a hurry to let her up. And where exactly were they going?
I saw this repeated, in different forms, from 6:00 until after 7:30. As I carefully walked with my Souvenir Cup full of [Nats Sponsor] Zero past a high-def TV broadcasting Final Four coverage, the stooges who had gathered to watch wouldn't let anyone through. Some actually jockeyed for position to stop a family of four that had the temerity to be . . . walking along the only path to their seats. It would have taken these clowns three seconds to open a path, but they seemed to view the Battle of the Stadium Turf as a zero-sum game. If they were nice to anybody, they would somehow lose.
Time has helped me understand it a little. I now realize that 40,000 of us were herded into a huge new corral, hours before the game started. We were warned by the Nationals, the city, and the U.S. government that we'd damned well better arrive at those gates by at least 6:30 if we wanted to see the first pitch. Once in, we could stand in awe of the beautiful new building and all of our choices for activities and food. We could sit in our seats and smile about the amazing sightlines, and the huge scoreboard. Great; 10 minutes down, 85 minutes to go.
After that, we could shuffle along the concourse with the other tens of thousands of fans itching to see the game. And shuffle. After that we could shuffle some more. Oh, yeah - we could also buy a lot of stuff.
So I'm willing to chalk up the crowding and the boorish behavior to the special circumstances of ppening night. But in the future, maybe we can all interrupt our Very Important Conversations about our Very Important Work and our Very Important Plans (and don't forget our Very Important Cell Phone Calls!) to let somebody get through the line with his or her soda intact, or to help a little old lady to her feet. Then, filled with the joy of doing a good deed, we can go sit down and boo the umpires. As nature intended.
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