Anybody who's had season tickets to any sports team has had to deal with That Guy. You know who I'm talking about. He's the fan who's in or near your section and is doing everything he can to be as vocal as possible, usually for the worse. Every call that's ever gone against That Guy's team is a result of refs being blind, stupid, or corrupt. Any missed shot or turnover by a player on That Guy's team is a reason to send that player to the bench, and That Guy would clearly know how to coach his team better than the guy wearing the suit on the sideline. Even good things that happen to That Guy's team can be cause for disappointment -- where was that earlier in the game?!?!?!
It's easy enough to tune That Guy out, but when the team you're rooting for is locked in close battles, the last thing you want to deal with is the enraged, nonsensical ramblings of That Guy. Such has been my plight in section 210 of the Comcast Center this season. My beloved Maryland Terrapins have thusfar avoided being the victim of a Red Line Upset (at home, at least -- Iona managed to pound the team into a pulp in a neutral-site matchup during the Puerto Rico Shootout), but it's been anything but easy. The Terps hadn't had a double-digit win so far in the season, and many "guarantee" games have gone down to the wire. That meant a LOT of putting up with That Guy when I'd rather be left alone, thankyouverymuch.
I was bracing myself for more of the same for tonight's game against Albany, and That Guy didn't disappoint. Despite the home team getting off to one of its best starts of the year, the verbal barrage started early.
"Kick that out for a three, come on!"
"That was a travel, ref!"
"Come on, where's the foul?!?!?! What game are you watching out there?"
It only got worse as things progressed. Albany started draining threes, getting to within two of the home team with less than three minutes to go in the first half. Seeing "that nobody team" get back into the game was enough to send That Guy over the edge. He wasn't just loud -- he was getting vulgar.
"What the f--- was that shot? Make the damned pass!"
"How much are they paying you, ref? Way to f--- us again."
Maryland carried a five-point lead into the break, leading you to think that maybe, just maybe, That Guy would take the halftime session to calm down and watch the rest of the game a civil human being. No such luck. Albany came out and took a lead shortly after the second half started, and That Guy went berserk.
Tonight, however, was different. With students on winter break and families together for the holidays, there was an unusually high number of families and young children in attendance. Specifically, young children who probably shouldn't have been hearing That Guy's R-rated commentary. And one mother decided she had heard enough.
So with his favorite team down two with about 14 minutes to go, the ushers let That Guy know that his night had come to a close, and escorted him out.
What followed was possibly the most enjoyable 14 minutes of basketball I've watched this year.
Seeing this scene of schadenfreude play out was entertainment enough on its own. To have the same team he was "cheering" to victory come back and down Albany by an 83-72 margin, Maryland's most convincing win of the season, was just the cherry on top.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Maryland pull off a convincing win tonight. Without question, it was the second-most satisfying victory of the night.
at MARYLAND 83, ALBANY 72 12/28/2011
ALBANY 7-6 (0-0) -- M. Black 5-12 1-2 13; L. Aronhalt 4-17 3-4 13; G. Suero 9-23 3-6 22; L. Devlin 6-11 0-0 16; B. Metcalf 2-3 0-0 4; J. Puk 2-6 0-0 4; J. Guerrier 0-0 0-0 0; R. Watts 0-0 0-0 0; T. Gibson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-72 7-12 72. MARYLAND 8-3 (0-0) -- S. Mosley 2-7 1-1 6; P. Howard 3-3 4-4 11; T. Stoglin 7-16 2-2 22; A. Len 6-9 2-4 14; J. Padgett 4-6 5-9 13; N. Faust 5-10 0-0 10; A. Pankey 1-1 0-0 2; M. Parker 1-3 2-2 5; B. Weijs 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 29-57 16-22 83.
Three-point goals: ALB 9-24 (L. Aronhalt 2-9; M. Black 2-5; L. Devlin 4-8; G. Suero 1-2), UMD 9-19 (S. Mosley 1-3; M. Parker 1-1; T. Stoglin 6-11; P. Howard 1-1; N. Faust 0-3); Rebounds: ALB 27 (G. Suero 7), UMD 48 (A. Len 8); Assists: ALB 17 (G. Suero 8), UMD 19 (P. Howard 8); Total Fouls -- ALB 19, UMD 15; Fouled Out: ALB-None; UMD-None.