Recently I attended an Eagles concert at the Hollywood Bowl, where I was able to obtain some pretty good seats through a contact we know. I later found out that my wife’s sister had also attended, but in the cheap seats. She and her boyfriend walked out at intermission despite enjoying the Eagles immensely.
They left because the people around them would not shut up during the performance. They moved to another row, but still could not find a place where they could hear the band over the yammering crowd. She was surprised to discover that even in our more expensive section, we had a similar experience. The people in the box next to us showed up 45 minutes into the first set and just ran their mouths during the entire show. One “gentleman,” the biggest offender, asked me during the encore the songs with which the band opened their first set. I told him that was a long time ago. What I refrained from saying was “if you were such a big fan, you would have shown up on time and not run your mouth during the entire show.”
We have often experienced this lately -- people paying a lot of money to see a performer and then talking through the show. We are forced to decide between asking them to be quiet and facing their “righteous indignation” or enduring their obstreperous behavior. It is another sign of our declining public civility.
My son was working for the Athletic Department at Kansas University in the fall of 2008 when he gave me a tour of their very impressive facilities. This was just after Coach Bill Self and his team had won the national championship. As I entered the basketball team’s locker room, the first thing I saw was John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success. From that singular moment, my respect for Mr. Self soared. I came late to the Wooden fan club. I moved to Los Angeles in 1969. If you are a sports fan and you move to L.A., you choose sides -- Bruins or Trojans. I chose the Bruins and I am forever thankful. Had I not been so fortunate, I would gladly forsake those football championships, and would gladly have given up the basketball championships for the single honor of meeting “Coach.”
In 1975, I was attending San Diego State and lived five minutes from the Sports Arena. Some friends asked if they could stay at my place to see the Bruins in the Final Four. I said sure, you can all stay -- just get me a ticket. I had the good fortune of sitting behind the Bruin bench for what turned out to be Wooden’s last game. Quite an honor.