Mitch Albom and the Lubricated Fists

09.28.09 8 years ago 89 Comments

Last night, for reasons I can’t quite explain, I felt compelled to visit the Detroit Free Press online to see what the local reaction was to the Lions first victory since 2007. As you might expect, it was mostly effusive stuff. Bundled with the reaction to that joyous moment, however, was the usual morally upright scolding from pompous schlock merchant Mitch Albom, who had Something To Say about the horrible, no-good video that circulated the Intarwebs (but not here – WTF?) last week of the female Lions fan getting arrested for making a scene at the game against the Vikes. I could not help myself. I was compelled to give it the PK treatment.

The video featured two attractive women.

Were they fucking?

It was shot by an onlooker.

Did he get a good view of the fucking?

It hit YouTube by storm.

Because they were fucking?

You’re no doubt thinking “sex,”

[Shocked by how easily Albom “gets” him]

but let me assure you the women kept their clothes on. Unfortunately, that was the only ladylike thing about them.

On the video, they appeared intoxicated, swore like sailors, got in fights, then screamed, shoved and cursed until security finally took them away, one in handcuffs.

This was not a women’s penitentiary. It was a Lions game.

Difficult to confuse the two. American prisons are full, after all.

You can argue that watching the Lions might make anyone go ballistic. But I’m guessing these women, like many football fans, had another reason for their belligerence:

They were hammered before the game began.

They pose a threat to everyone! What if they had been piloting this plane?

And you could shoot this video every Sunday.

Woohoo! Copious blog fodder!

Look, it’s bad enough that most NFL games begin at 1 p.m. and that people are buying beers before kickoff.

Tell me about it. How I wish they’d move kickoff up to 6 a.m. so I could make it out in time to go the 11 a.m. church service.

But thanks to tailgating, many fans are blotto before they hand over their tickets.

And sometimes, like this Cardinals fan, even before they’re finished getting dressed at home!

One day, we’ll explain to Martians our tradition of arriving hours before a football game, sitting in cold parking lots in fold-up beach chairs, swigging beers and grilling fatty foods between bumpers of pickups

Ah yes, the hoary moralist cliche of how our backwards cultural practices will seem to the visiting Martians of the Future. Well played, Albom. After all, we really do want to give our best impression to Glaxar The Magnificent. It’s the only way our planet will be spared. I know that’s how my dad got me to quit smoking.

(at which point the Martians will bolt to their spaceships).

Uh oh, I found the tragic flaw in your argument, Mitch. Here we have a surefire way to rid ourselves of invading marauding aliens, and your suggestion is that we do away with it?! Preposterous.


Unless there’s a sinister ulterior motive lurking within your column. Which one are you, Kang or Kodos? REVEAL THYSELF!

But, meanwhile, make no mistake. The fists may fly in the stands. But they get lubricated in the parking lots.


This will not make me popular with Budweiser, Miller or millions of parking lot drinkers,


but what is the point of going to a football game for the expressed purpose of getting wasted?

It’s fun?

It’s one thing to be out at night and one beer leads to another.

And later: Ford Field fisting.

But when you get up at 8, are parked by 9, and are three beers deep by 10, you have issues.

And hopefully a decent selection of food.

I blame the tailgaters, but I also blame the teams — pro and college.

“Did I forget to blame my readers? Okay, I blame them too.”

By encouraging a seven-hour drinking experience, football now sees its stadiums marred with behavior like this past week’s wildly popular YouTube moment (billed as “Two Drunk Girls Kicked out of Vikings vs Lions Game”).

When you watch this sad debacle, you see how two guards have to struggle to get one enraged woman under control. It’s not easy. People crowd around, getting bumped, getting angry, making threats. And that’s just one woman! You can imagine when five or six burly guys are blitzed to the point of confrontation.

Easy. You just let the Raider fans kill each other.

In stadiums with upper levels, railings and long steps, we flirt with disaster every week.

Carson Palmer says we’re gonna have a fatality in the Upper Deck any week now.

But it never stops. If you dare suggest curbing tailgating, the populace rises up in arms. Last year, I read angry letters to the editor when a San Diego stadium cut tailgating from five hours to four before the game.

Five hours to four?

And I bet they don’t even have a TV tuned to the Sports Reporters while they’re there! Wastrels!

Now I know that many people — maybe most people — handle tailgating responsibly. They eat, laugh, they drink, but keep it under control.

The fisting stays gentle.

But if you’ve recently been in NFL stands — especially with kids — and heard the drunken swearing, the macho threats, or worse, been doused with beer or flecked with vomit, then you know how the minority ruin it for the majority.

If, like me, you worked in journalism for a number of years, you know how to decipher the many euphemisms columnists employ to conceal their actual message. Allow me to elucidate:

“But if you’ve recently been in NFL stands (FILLED WITH BLACKS!)– especially with kids (RUN AWAY FROM THE BLACKS, SUZY Q.!)– and heard the drunken swearing (JIVE TALKING!), the macho threats (ANGRY JIVE!), or worse (SPANISH JIVE!), been doused with beer or flecked with vomit (THE BLACKS ARE FILTHY!), then you know how the minority ruin it for the majority (THAT’S ME!).

And that is not justified.


Which is why the NFL teams — and their cities — should ban the tailgate booze. You want to sit in a parking lot, eat, laugh, go ahead.

Albom has permitted you to laugh, America. Just don’t get too boisterous about it! WHAT ALBOM GIVETH, HE CAN SCOLDETH AWAY!

But no drinking. That’s right. I said it. No drinking. It’s not a God-given right.

Only a Constitution-given right! Not the same!

It’s their parking lots. Sure, enforcing it might be a pain. So is pulling apart a drunken melee in the bleachers. As for those who say, “Aw, the people will just drink at home,” well, they could do that now. My guess is it’s not as much fun getting hammered alone.

Because no one is capable of inviting friends over for drinks? Or does God mandate no drinking in groups in thine dwelling?

Not so long ago, there were blue laws that outlawed alcohol sales on Sundays.

Yes, they still exist in some states. People circumvent them by buying alcohol on other dates.

Now on Sundays, booze rules and women are handcuffed.

[Dashes off quick love letter to Sundays]

I’m not saying everyone needs to be in church.

“I’m just saying that if you happen to be found outside of church, say, drinking with others in your own home, you should be forcibly castrated and burned in a pyre with your fellow sinners. No big whoop.”

But when loaded, wasted, hammered or blitzed are the words people associate with pregame, it’s a problem.

Not when it should be associated with tortuously boring studio shows overpacked with bloviating priggish assholes!

And when it winds up in the stands, it’s everybody’s problem.


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