He sat directly behind us in the upper reaches of Sanford Stadium on an October day that felt more like August. It was hot. The sun shone down from just past the array of high intensity lights off to my left, ducking behind wispy white clouds every half hour or so and teasing us with blessed shade. We were high up, we were miserably hot, but we were there.

He started in during the first quarter and never let up. Well, that’s not quite true, because the run of brilliant comeback play put on by the beleaguered Dawgs in the third quarter rendered him strangely silent for fifteen minutes. Other than that, the onslaught of negatives was as punishing and consistent and mind-numbing as the Mizzou defense.

A missed tackle. An errant pass. An inexplicable time out call. A missed pick. A terrible special teams gaffe. It didn’t matter.

“There are no football players there, no football players.”

“Poor coaching. That’s all you can say. Poor coaching.”

“Terrible pass. Terrible. Terrible pass.”

“He’s a seasoned senior. He should know better.”

“They’re young kids. No football players out there.”

“Bad coaching, really bad coaching.”

“We just can’t play. No players. No football players out there at all.”

It was like watching my team getting beaten up with Dustin Hoffman doing excerpts from the Rainman script in my ear.

Now, granted, it was a miserably hot day, with lines for water stretching fifty people long. We played poorly. We lost.

On the other hand, it was a beautiful October Saturday. I was enjoying the company of a friend. I was watching a sport I Iove on a stage that only major college football can set. The music was excellent. (How many college bands have you seen perform Appalachian Spring on the field?) It was just so much fun to be there. To be part of it.

92,745 of us enjoyed being there, even with the loss. (The folks wearing yellow stuff really enjoyed being there)

One guy obviously did not. If he did, he sure had a funny way of showing it.

All I can say is,

“Four days to Vandy. Four days to Vandy.”

Unlike Ray Babbit, I hope that negative gentleman CAN find a television close by, fix himself firmly in front of it, and comment on every single play in a completely empty room where none of the Dawg Nation have to hear him.

Can you give a us a break, Ray? Please?

One thought on “Rainman

  1. My X is like that. When he was young, he was fun. As he got older, he turned cranky, and then it became worse. He just wasn’t happy unless he was putting someone down. When I escaped, his dentist and optometrist had a restraining order on him. They called me, and advised me to get out. I didn’t believe in divorce unless he physically hurt me-slapped me or something. We went in for counseling several times, and he charmed the counselors. I know that, because the military counselors told my military PCP what a good man my husband was, and I was the one with mental problems, which made my primary care doctor mad. It helped my husband went in and tried to beat up one of the primary doctors. They tried to get the counselors to add that to my husband’s mental diagnosis. I just heard that he belongs to a group that takes their Bibles to the gun range, read and pray, and shoot. It scares my son-fortunately the old man lives 2,000 miles away. How’s this? a mentally ill vet is scared of his sane father. I like what you say- I see lots of common sense and compassion, but I’m suspicious of counselors. I just feel sorry for the family of the negative football fan. It can’t be that much fun living with him.


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