SUPERPICKS: Seating shuffle doesn’t hinder excitement of big game

Hollan Holm

It’s 11 p.m. on Tuesday and my red Western T-shirt is soaked with the sweat of two victorious Sun Belt tournament games. I have avoided the laundry room in my building like it was full of Middle Tennessee State University fans.

(That’s not right. I’d do laundry everyday with a smile in that case.)

My basketball fun began Tuesday night with an hour-long wait outside Diddle Arena. I tend to be obsessive-compulsive when it comes to things I want. I begged everyone standing around me to give estimates of how many people were standing in front of me.

I heard they were only letting in 1,000 or 500 students, depending on the rumor. For all my estimation skills, I could have stood among the entire Hebrew population waiting to cross the Red Sea.

Being a columnist for an award-winning student publication — recently voted into the Axis of Evil by one sidewalk chalk commentator — adds social pressure to be funny when I hang out with people.

This pressure gets especially tense around sports games because:

1) I have the hand/eye coordination of the legally blind.

2) My sports knowledge is limited almost entirely to a book I read in elementary school on the wackiest sports moments in history.

If the time a hockey puck was hit into the rafters of a hockey arena and fell into the net for a goal doesn’t come up in conversation, I have to find my niche in humor.

Such was the case Tuesday night.

Whenever a photographer walked by and snapped a photograph, the crowd would put on its best “the fans are wild tonight” impression, usually involving hoots, hollering and/or profanity.

“Calm down!” I yelled. “It’s only the Daily News.”

The group I was with laughed. I had found my groove before the game even started.

I tried to say the same joke about Bowling Green’s television station WBKO whenever a video camera came by, but it just didn’t get the laughs. I had blown my groove one joke later.

Then out of nowhere, Big Red decided to crowd surf from the front of the line. Our ESPN star mascot rode the wave fine for about 263 people.

At that point, one of my friends spotted him. (I’ll just call my friend “Wade.” Not that he’s afraid of any red plush reprisals, but I am.)

Wade decided it would be cute to step out of the way when Big Red came riding down his sea of fan love.

The mutant cherry Skittle came off a crest of hands only to find no one to receive him but the ground. (Originally, there had been more people around Wade, but his natural bodily functions and the pizza he ate took care of that.)

The quick-thinking and muscles of my friend Weldon behind me was the only thing that saved our beloved fur ball from spending the NCAA tournament in an orthopedic halo.

After Big Red’s slow motion tumble and near paralysis, he careened over to an SUV and checked to see if he had lost any of his teeth before he bounded on his way to harass more fans.

Wade got away without an attempted murder rap.

Once I got into the building, I was moved twice by the Sun Belt Conference “Brown Shirts” to accommodate alumni and fans that actually paid for seats.

(Oh wait. If you decide to count the $90 athletic fee students pay regardless of whether we go to regular season games or not, you could think of it as already paid.)

I seized my final moment of athletic heckling glory when MTSU Blue Raider Tommy Gunn missed a free throw.

“Gunn’s shooting blanks,” I taunted, ignoring the fact that he hit three others.

I decided with that pun I would go out on top. I had fulfilled my fan’s role watching my first live SBC championship. My sideline jokes ended for the evening and the season.

I was relieved, at least until football season.

Picks O’ the Week

•Tired of everyone talking about what could be war with Iraq? More tired of not knowing what the hell an Iraq is? Hint No. 1: It’s not just the butt of a lame joke in a Steve Martin movie. Hint No. 2: Go to Downing University Center room 310 at 7:30 tonight.

•Dr. Dook will be looking to ease your symptoms of boredom at 10 p.m. Saturday at Tidball’s. Unfortunately, the $4 cover will not be covered by your HMO.

Hollan Holm is always looking for something to do on the weekends to put in SuperPicks. E-mail him at [email protected]