Obviously not my son. But rather the writer of this article's son.
I have zero tolerance for drunk and or obnoxious fans. I mean zero tolerance. (makes me sick to my stomach when I see a father sitting with his younger son or daughter or even a young teenager and the father is berating the ref or opposing player, and sure enough the kid starts berating the ref. I want to turn around and berate the father.
But is this mother overreacting? I don't know. Although I have never sat above the second row of the balcony, I hardly think, "Pacers games can turn into bacchanalias, suggesting they’re not places for kids". As it states oin the article. I consider pacers games to be very kid friendly overall. Hope he goes to another game soon and becomes even a bigger fan.
If you’re a sports fan, you’d enjoy talking to my seven-year-old son. For the past year, he’s insisted each morning on reading The Star’s sports section (proving the paper can appeal to younger readers). Wherever we go, he chats with fans about their favorite team’s numbers, stats and schedules.
Since he’s caught the sports bug, we’ve attended our share of Indiana Fever and Indianapolis Indians games, where he sits rapt. So when we saw that his school was hosting a Spirit Night at the Pacers game, we knew there’d be no way around it.
Friday night found us near the rafters of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, my son cheering and calling the players by their first names. He absentmindedly downed a hot dog and chips and did not even bother to badger me for the rainbow ice treat that his friend next to him scored.
Shortly before halftime came to a close, I had turned to my right to tend to my fidgeting younger son when I heard a commotion. I whipped my head around to my older son’s side. But instead of seeing my son, there was a large man draped over the seats.
It took a good five seconds of heart-pounding fear to realize my son was underneath the bulk.
“HEY! YOU’RE ON MY SON,” I screeched.
A giggle erupted from the mass as the bozo slowly unpeeled himself. My son looked up, blood pouring from his mouth. At least, my first thought was, he’s conscious.
“My toooooth, my tooooth,” he screamed.
Now I will confess that my child can be prone to exaggeration when it comes to injury. So at first, I told myself, he just bit his lip, and it’s bleeding a little. Then my husband and I got a closer look.
Blood was pouring from his mouth and he was clutching his face moaning. Drama king or no, this was serious.
Rocking back and forth, wailing, my son was too terrified to let us get a good look at his mouth. By some bizarre stroke of fortune, we were sitting next to a friend and her mother who is a dental student.
“Does he have any permanent teeth?” she asked, urging the people in front of us to look for the tooth in case it was an adult tooth.
Meanwhile, the man who had tumbled down stood awkwardly at the end of the row with his buddy, staring at us.
“Gee, I’m sorry,” he started to say.
But we were not interested in his feeble apologies. We tended to our son, and by the time I looked up again, he had disappeared and security was there.
My husband took my son to the bathroom to wash out his mouth to get a better look, and an EMT provided an ice pack. By that point we ascertained it was a baby tooth that had fallen out, destined to be lost in the stands forever. Other than some serious bruising and a fat lip, my son was fine physically.
But he was jarred emotionally. “Why did that happen? Why did that happen?” he asked over and over again, as we slowly made our way to the exit, our desire for the game dampened.
Really, we had no good answer. Everyone who has heard the story immediately says, “the guy was drunk.” To be honest, checking the guy’s inebriation status was not top of our mind.
Still, it is hard to believe that a grown man would have just fallen down one row — or more likely two as there no one was sitting behind us — without some alcohol involved, especially since my son had a recollection that the bozo and a friend were wrestling just before he toppled.
At the end of the day, we know we were incredibly lucky. My son’s head, rather than his mouth and face, could have knocked into the seat, causing a concussion. The guy could have fallen on a smaller child and possibly broken bones.
Or, the guy himself might have suffered some more serious damage, had his fall not been cushioned by, well, my son.
The most frustrating thing, as my son quickly deduced, was that this all could have been avoided, had the guy and his friend used some commonsense. Nor is it the first time this season that an innocent fan has been wounded by another ticket holder.
A woman attending the Colts-Broncos game at Lucas Oil Stadium in October had to be taken to hospital by ambulance after another fan fell on her, sending her tumbling over her seat until she hit her head two rows down. The man was arrested but prosecutors decided against filing charges.
In our case, I know the guy meant no harm. He was just being goofy. But he was also dumb.
Sporting events shouldn’t be mistaken for bars. People have warned us that Pacers games can turn into bacchanalias, suggesting they’re not places for kids.
The prospect of my kids overhearing a few curses or off-color language wouldn’t deter me. Besides, this was supposed to be a school spirit night, so I figured if any night would be family friendly this would be it.
“Did you think this would happen?” my son quizzed me on the way home.
“Of course not,” I answered, realizing this was not a good lesson for all of the times I warn him and his brother that bad things will ensue if they do not desist in whatever dangerous behavior they are engaged in at the time.
When we got home, my son penned a note to the tooth fairy. “I lost lost my tooth,” he wrote (to distinguish, he explained, from a simple loss of a tooth), “when a guy fell on me at the Pacers’ game.” Dubious about the tooth fairy, my son thought that everyone was looking for his tooth at the game to give it to her, so he figured he’d tuck a note under his pillow just in case.
The tooth fairy clearly felt pretty rotten there isn’t more she can do to control random accidents at sporting events. She left $20, a largesse that he will hopefully remember as long as he remembers his first professional basketball game.
Call Star reporter Shari Rudavsky at (317) 444-6354. Follow her on Twitter @srudavsky.