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Article:Life as a Sports Usher: Episode 15 - Fifteen and Ho Ho Ho

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Sunday was the last home game of the regular season for the Pats, and almost everyone in attendance had another victory atop their Christmas list.

In events I’ve worked, the home team has almost always won. In fact, the home team has lost a mere four games that I’ve been ushering.

For only the second time this season, I was relegated to taking tickets. But it isn’t all that bad. You’re giving people what they want (entry into the Stadium) so they’re extremely pleasant. And after last week’s snowy mess, any job would seem fun and easy.

Let me just talk about the weather for a second. It was in the high 40’s when I got to Gillette. Although rain was in the forecast, it held off for most of the game. There was minimal wind, and the temperature stayed above 45 all night. It was truly glorious.

Back to ticket taking. It was fairly uneventful. I made sure to mix up my greetings. “Enjoy the game,” “Happy Holidays,” “Welcome to Gillette Stadium.” Some fans would say “Merry Christmas” to me, and I’d say it back, but I didn’t initiate any greetings with an allusion to that specific holiday. I didn’t want to leave anybody out. At the BC game the day before, I said “Merry Christmas,” but that’s because BC is a Catholic school. I’ve obviously thought to much about this.

There were a few people dressed in Santa costumes. I said “Merry Christmas” to one of them and he replied: “I’m Jewish” then laughed heartily.

By the time we got sent to the break room, it was 14-0 Patriots. After finishing my meal, it was 28-0 Patriots, and nearly half-time. It appeared as though another blowout was in store for us.

I saw a supervisor that works the parking lot (her husband is also my regular supervisor) and asked her how things were going out there. She told me there was a “major incident” but left out details. I didn’t find out until Monday that some drunk idiot jumped off a pedestrian overpass and tried to land in a snow bank. He missed. He was med-flighted out, but he‘s okay.

The Event Manager sent me to my regular spot in the North End Zone, along with four other redeploys. I got there just as half-time began. That’s when things got interesting.

On his way up the aisle, a man fell head first onto the stairs. My supervisor went down to check on him. He also called the EMTs. With the concourses clogged with fans getting food, beer, and hitting the bathroom; it took some time for the paramedics to get there. Meanwhile, about a dozen event staffers (orange jackets) showed up to block the aisle and keep a path clear.

As people tried returning to their seats, they met a wall of orange, and me in my green jacket yelling “There’s a medical emergency, you can go to your seats through another aisle, but we need to keep a path clear!” Most people understood and waited patiently, but some were restless. “But my seats are right there! Was a common plea.

Finally, the EMTs showed up. The fallen fan was hauled up the stairs, put on a stretcher, and brought out. He was showered with boos, but trust me, he deserved them.

When he got back to the first aid room, he popped up off the stretcher, good as new. He demanded to return to his section. But he was obviously tanked, so my supervisor gave him the choice of leaving the Stadium on his own, or leaving with the police. Once the words “sobriety” and “test” entered the conversation, he left on his own.

The second half of the game was dull, on the field and off. I had missed all the scoring Brady and the Pats would do, and had also missed the Red Sox pregame ceremony.

Curtpats

Ortizpats

This girl working about 5 sections down from me was working her first game. She told me afterwards that she had a little chat with a blue wig wearing fan by the name of Jonathan Papelbon. I was insanely jealous. I’ve heard stories in this job of people meeting Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft, Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen, David Ortiz, Doc Rivers, Terry Francona, Curt Schilling, and so on. I’ve been working for 5 months and all I’ve met was Al Skinner, Jamie Silva, and Dan Reeves. But I did see undrafted rookie cornerback Tim Mixon at the Emerald Square Mall a few days ago. Does that make up for it?

The only entertainment in the second half was a drunk man clamoring for us to allow him into the section to find his make believe jacket, which was resting on a seat that didn’t exist.

After the game ended, I had my “encounter” with Dan Reeves. We were walking from our post, back to the break room to check out. One of my bosses ordered us to follow Dan Reeves from the press box area to the media elevator. Neither he nor his two associates acknowledged our presence, nor did they slow down to allow us to catch up to them. It was a C level encounter with a B level sports celebrity. But hey, it was still Dan friggin’ Reeves.

The employee lot was ensconced in ice, and once we left the confines of the Stadium, the heavens opened. Rain fell in sheets, and the once brisk 15 minute walk to Spooky World became a 40 minute expedition. But dryness, a place to sit, and beer awaited us.

We stopped at the McDonald’s up the road from Gillette. There’s always drunk Pats fans there, and this evening was no exception. A man in a Tedy Bruschi jersey in front of us ordered his food, and waited to the side. He got bored and started singing “I’m a Soul Man,” then lifted his jersey to reveal a Bob Marley t-shirt, as if that supported his claim.

Apart from the medical “emergency,” it was a simple day. It’s about two more weeks until the Patriots play at home again. But I’m excited for next weekend. Kansas is coming to the Conte Forum to play BC.

I hope everyone is having a happy holiday season, and will have a happy new year!

Ushering stats:

Events worked: 34

Ejections: 1

Ejection threats: 50

Uncomfortably hit on/fondled: 9

Times I’ve Heard “Shipping Up to Boston”: ∞

Photo credits: Jim Rogash - Getty Images


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