Authorities announced early last week that "no foul play" was suspected in the disappearance of a Colorado man. Why is this news? Perhaps it was because he was last seen amid a crowd of his sixty or seventy thousand closest friends: Denver Broncos fans. Fifty-three year old Paul Kitterman wandered off at halftime from his seat at Mile High Stadium where he and his family were taking in the spectacle of his team beating their division rivals, the San Diego Chargers. Why weren't they concerned?
Considering the kind of behavior that can be found in and around the sports arenas of this fair land, it was a surprising reaction. When I consider the case of Bryan Stow, a San Francisco Giants fan who was beaten and left for dead by Los Angeles Dodger "fans" who took the battle on the field out into the parking lot. Without any rules. Without any protective gear. Without any common decency. The good news is that when it came time to throw out the first pitch for game four of this year's World Series in San Francisco, Bryan was on hand to shout out to the crowd, "Play ball!"
It's not the expectation of most sports fans to end up in the intensive care unit when they go out to the local sports arena. Then again, no one expects that the joy of winning would be as agonizing as defeat. How then do we explain the broken windows and burning couches in the streets of San Francisco right after the Giants won their third World Series Championship in five years? Was this some kind of retribution for the injustice suffered by Giants Superfan Bryan Stow three years ago? Some sort of cathartic upheaval connected to the pent-up frustrations of sports fans in the Bay Area? That doesn't make sense, since winning championships is getting to be pretty much routine. Disappointment remains the currency of Oakland Raiders fans, but even they seem to be able to maintain a certain amount of decorum when it comes to losing. Practice, it seems, makes perfect.
As for our missing Bronco fan, it turns out that he had "had his fill of football," and just left. He went "for a walk." One hundred miles later, he was found in a Pueblo, Colorado K-Mart parking lot. This is good news on two fronts: Mister Kitterman was found safe, and there is still a K-Mart in Pueblo. He didn't get beat half to death and left in some ditch by angry San Diego Charger fans. He wasn't left in a coma, battling for his life. He just left. The Broncos were ahead at halftime, so maybe he just figured he's seen enough and it was time to see something different. Like the parking lot of a K-Mart in Pueblo. That might also explain why there were all those broken and burned things in San Francisco. No foul play here. They had just "had their fill of baseball."