July 05, 2011

happy 4th of july! i didn't get arrested!

happy crappy tuesday after a long holiday weekend where you don't want to be back at work, everyone!

i had a lovely and packed 4th of July weekend - full of food, booze & friends. and fistfights and arrests. although i am pleased to report that i was neither involved in the fight NOR was i arrested! congratulations, me!

i've written before about the wonders of the barra brava section at DC United games, but suffice it to say that an enormous communal tailgate, much drinking, and then cheering and throwing beer to celebrate goals is generally a pretty good time. so on saturday, my friends and i headed to rfk stadium once again to eat, drink, and learn spanish cheers in honor of our friend's birthday.

all was going well - we ate! we drank! we were standing in the barra brava section, singing in spanish! - when things went REALLY well: DC United scored the first goal of the game, and our section went wild. many, many beers were thrown exuberantly into the air, and a fine mist of beer droplets (along with the occasional more drenching downpour) rained down on us all.

apparently, some dude in the front row was unaware of this tradition. (the front! row! of the barra brava section! how did he even GET there if he wasn't with other barra brava members?) i guess someone a few rows up must have thrown a beer on the full-ish side, because dude got pretty well doused.

dude - we'll call him "doucherton," for short - turned around, and decided that the middle aged white guy directly behind him - he was about 45 or 50, and wearing a kilt, so we'll call him "kilt" - must have deliberately poured the beer on him. kilt had not. kilt may have thrown his beer, but he did not upend his beer directly onto doucherton. this mattered little to doucherton, though, who proceeded to start furiously punching kilt in the face.

somehow - and this part i didn't see - kilt's wife ended up crumpled on the concrete floor with her foot twisted underneath the hard plastic seats. i did see her a few moments later, though, when she was crying, and shaking so hard she couldn't get up for a good 10 minutes. (technically, i don't know if she was his wife - could have been a friend or a sister, i suppose, but for simplicity we'll assume they were married.)

meanwhile, kilt recovered from the initial attack and wasn't taking things lying down. he lunged at doucherton, knocking him up against the railing, and looked about ready to kill him, had not several people quickly intervened to drag the two of them apart. they got to both guys before kilt was able to get a good hit on doucherton; kilt had angry red welts on both cheeks, but doucherton just had his well-coiffed curls slightly mussed. (and very full of beer.)

at this point, the general raucous celebration from the score was dying down, and more people were noticing that the hoopla up front was more scuffle-y than joyful. both men were still being restrained, but doucherton started to look a bit uneasy as more barra brava members began noting the dynamic - like kilt's wife on the ground, still crying & shaking. people started to look a little ominous. doucherton took the opportunity to get the hell out of dodge.

within minutes, police & EMTs had arrived. the police started taking statements from people in the row directly behind doucherton while the EMTs began icing the woman's leg and taking vitals. some very earnest college students next to me gave full statements, along with very detailed descriptions of doucherton. shortly thereafter, the cop asked the college boys if they'd come ID doucherton, who they believed they had in custody up in the stadium.

i was the only one of my group who happened to be right next to the fight, but it turns out a few of them had missed the scene because they had gone to get more beer... where they saw a drunk guy, with well-coiffed curls, cuffed by the cops and ID'd by some college kids.

kilt's wife was taken away in a wheelchair, which i'm hoping was precautionary and that her leg is just a bit banged up. kilt looked like he'd probably be pretty sore around the face the next day, but otherwise OK.

it was an ugly incident, but all around i have to say i was pretty impressed with everyone's reactions. the cops were on the scene almost immediately but kept things low key and localized. the EMTs were kind and professional. and in a section full of inebriated, rowdy soccer fans, the outsider who started an unprovoked pummeling of one of their own was restrained, but not subjected to mob justice. (it's likely his choice to flee was a wise one, though i'm fairly certain i saw some barra brava members head grimly after him - but evidently, to hold him for / turn him over to the cops.) basically, it felt like the incident COULD have been a lot worse and a lot messier, but everyone (aside from doucherton) handled the situation really well.

so! how were your weekends? arrest-free, i hope?


  1. Damn my life is boring.

  2. I'm with Mrs. Irritation.

  3. Wow...
    I will have to remember NOT to EVER sit in that section, because flying beer doesn't sound much fun to me.
    It's quite possible that I am now officially old.

  4. Wow. I hope Mrs. Kilt is OK! If I ever go to a game like this with J., I will have to tell him about this tradition, because I could totally see him pulling a Doucherton. :)

  5. Dude, there was this nasty knock down drag out at the slip n' slide when one kid cut in line and then....

    Yeah. Okay. My life is pretty much boring but I knew that anyway.

  6. This is why I don't go to games.

    (Just kidding. I don't like sports all that much.)

    I love that your Mom thought you were involved when you started to tell her the story. WTH? Ha.

  7. People tend to act a fool when sports and drinking are involved. It doesn't make any sense to me. I feel bad for that poor woman with the crushed foot. Glad you were able to avoid the kerfuffle. I'm also glad I got to use the word "kerfuffle" in a sentence. Yay words!

  8. Wow... I was going to ask if being arrested was even a possiblity, and it turns out YES it totally was! Drama!

    My weekend was ok. I dressed up like an amish person and my flatties and I recreated some family scenes in the backyard. (We're doing a weird series of family portraits to hang in our hallway.)

  9. That sounds insane! And I would have totally been one of the earnest bystanders giving a detailed description. Or at least much more likely to have been them rather than the vigilantes. I hates me some confrontation. Glad you survived unscathed!

  10. While getting beer all over oneself sucks, I do hope doucherton got caught!

  11. I would hate to be the guy sitting in that section not knowing how rowdy it got... but you never throw punches, come on!