Tuesday, October 21, 2014

All's fair in love and...football?

Ok, so this is a real life story, which will be told in as accurate a way as possible.  (Names, demeanor, and/or gender may or may not be changed)  ;)

I work at the Harold B. Lee Library, as many of you may know.  If you don't, suffice it to say that it's a big library at Brigham Young University, and I'm a security guard.  Now, usually, this involves sitting at a desk and telling people not to bring Jamba Juice into the library, but this last Saturday I was persuaded to help out a co-worker by working at the BYU-UNR football game.  

I'd done this once before, and while it was a long and exhausting experience, I didn't dislike it.  At least, not that much.  So, with some dragging of my feet, I took my post at the crosswalk between the Marriott Center and the LaVell  Edwards Stadium.  The job was simple; keep the pedestrians from crossing when they shouldn't and/or getting themselves killed.  So, I directed them in a friendly fashion from 5:45 till 8:15, when the game was going to start.  

Alright, that was all kind of back story.  Here's where it gets meaty.  A young man was standing at this crosswalk, asking any and all who passed by,

"I need two tickets!  Does anybody have two tickets?"  

And so on and so forth.  A few stopped and told him that there was a man further down selling tickets, but he glumly replied that he didn't have any money.  A few others asked why he needed tickets, and he said that they were for his mother and sister.  

This continued for about 2 hours, until finally an elderly man came and pulled out two tickets.  I was standing nearby, and as the tickets exchanged hands, I casually asked him,

"Why did you need those tickets?  Is it terribly urgent?"

"They're for my sister and my mom."

He seemed annoyed at my question.  Something seemed fishy, but I dismissed my apprehensions.  After all, the kid had a right to beg for tickets for his family, right?  Maybe they're just really poor , hardcore BYU fans, right?


After about 10 minutes, I spied this youth on the other side of the crosswalk, holding the two tickets up in the air.  I wondered why he would be doing that, and so I crossed over to that side.  

"Hey!  Do you need more tickets?  What are you doing with those ones?"  

He glared at me, and muttered, "I'm selling them."  

I must admit, my jaw dropped a few inches, at least in my mind.  He must have noticed, because he defensively said, "I need a new scooter, alright?"  

I stared at him, aghast.  Then, I turned to the people gathered at the crosswalk.  I was angry.

So I said, "HEY!  Anyone want some tickets?  Two tickets right here, freshly begged off of some guy just 10 minutes ago!  Anyone?"  

He glared at me more fiercely, and the crowd stared at me and at him, looks of confusion and bemusement on their faces.  He turned and scurried away.  

"Good riddance" I said to myself.  

This was not the end, however!  30 minutes later, I see him again, with an older buddy on the other side of the crosswalk.  Tickets exchanged hands, and they began hawking their ill-gotten wares.  

So, I did the only reasonable thing.  I went over and tried to help advertise.  

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we have tickets here for sale, freshly begged from fans like you!  Anyone need some tickets?"  

The older boy (should I say man?  No, he must have been at least 20, but no.) came up to me and started to rant angrily.  

"Hey, looks like we've got a real DOOFUS here!  Yeah, this guy's a real fool!"

Then, he got about an inch away from my face, and hissed, "What's your problem, huh?  We're just trying to make a buck, so back off!"  

"Well, I'm just trying to help you advertise.  What's the problem with that?  After all, I saw you beg those tickets off of other people for your 'family'"

"You wanna punch me, huh?  Punch me!  Punch me, big man!"  

"Why would I want to punch you"

"What's your problem, man?"  

"Oh, just that I believe in human decency and honesty."

He threw his arms up in the air and sneered. "Decency!  Wow, we've got a real doofus here!"

I just shook my head and left, resigned to the fact that he would not be dissuaded from selling the tickets.  There's an epilogue to this story.  After the game, when I was at the same spot, the second boy came up to me, yelling, "How much did you make, huh?  How much did you make?

Okay, so that's pretty much the end of the story.  However, I fear that this is not an isolated event.  It seems that human decency takes leaves when the game starts.  During the game, I saw grown men hurling infantile insults at the players.  Why?  Because they happened to make a good tackle.  I saw a 50 year old man blatantly ignore the words of a security officer and climb under the rails like a child, rather than walk the 15 feet to the stairs.  What is this?  Is there some secret agreement in society that I've never heard of that accepts childish and idiotic acts as long as it's at a football game?

Now, before you just assume that I'm completely naive and have never run into rude people before, let me assure you that I have been insulted, physically spat upon, and punched in the face by very rude and angry people.  But, for some reason it didn't seem to affect me as much.  Maybe because they didn't act like it was something that should be acceptable.

Who knows?  Maybe these specific people are the same way.  But I'm afraid that statistically, many of them are likely members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  And as a member of said church, I expect a certain degree of "human decency" out of fellow brothers and sisters.  A level of decency that condemns the begging of tickets under false pretenses in order to turn a profit.

Was it legal?  Probably.  But hey, I'm no lawyer.  Was it moral?  Absolutely not.  Those who proclaim to be honest in their dealings with their fellow men would not do such a thing as this.  He seemed to view his wheeling and dealing as equivalent to my job.  I was hired to protect people.  He was lying to get gain.  There is no equivalence.

Here's my plan.  If you go to BYU football games, just don't play into the system.  Buy your tickets ahead of time, and try not to buy extras.  If you have extras, try to give them to someone that you know and trust.  Because as long as people keep giving out tickets and buying them like this, the corruption will continue.

And if you happen to be reading this and you deal in this chicanery?

You should be ashamed.  And I hope that you can recognize that before you carry your deceit into something a lot more important.

1 comment:

  1. I wanted you to shoulder throw that guy into oncoming traffic. You're a better man than I am.