|Let me set the stage by saying in my younger days (pre-kids), I had a pretty nasty temper when provoked, and the story I'm about to tell probably would not have ended nicely if it happened ten years ago.
At my son's Fall Ball game tonight, which started at 5:30 pm, and dark enough and under the lights by the second inning. A lot of the parents with young kids choose to sit over in the bleachers off the first base side, where there is room for the kids to run wild. Some of the cooler parents bring chairs and sit behind the fence in the outfield, in front of their cars. Basically there's a parking lot (semi-circle) right behind the outfield wall. It's kind of low-key, but with the 9 year olds, the fence isn't so far away that you can't see everything that happens. I've been sitting out there all season, and it's fun. The dads do a running-commentary sort of tongue in cheek, talking about how the pitchers are painting the corners or throwing "purpose pitches" if they throw a bit inside.
So, I'm out there for warm-ups at 5pm and sit in the chair basically the entire time for the first three innings. At that point, a car pulls up next to me, and the engine keeps running. I'm noticing this and thinking its odd, because the common courtesy is to turn your car off (and headlights obviously) as to not bother the other people watching the game or the batters. I look over a couple of times hoping to send a friendly signal, and the caucasian lady driver and her kid are oblivious. At some point, breathing car fumes and listening to this engine for 15 minutes right next to my head, I get annoyed to the point where I get up and wait to make eye contact. She looks up, and I make a signal and mouth "can you turn off the engine please?" She doesn't understand, so she rolls down the window. I then said out, "Can you turn off the engine?" Long pause. Her mouth agape. I'm kinda stunned this request isn't registering with her, so I said, "or park somewhere else?". She turns off engine.
I'm kinda of asurprised I had to ask, and that she was oblivious completely. Let me say, I never threatened her or said anything derogatory. I never came within ten feet of her car. I don't think I said, "please", but I certainly didn't think I was threatening or rude or "charged her car".
So, an hour later, the game finally ends. My kid's team lost in dramatic fashion, but that's irrelevant. Pack up, and I notice an African American dude standing in front of the fence eyeing me up. I thought it was the ump for the game, but didn't really know. I walked past him. Turns out, this guy is the woman's husband, who must have been sitting over on the other side. Not really sure where he was or in fact if he's a coach on the other team. Whatever, I went and met my son, talked to a couple of the other dads, and then came back to our car. We get in, talk, and as I'm backing out, this dude is eyeing me up like he wants to kick my ass, which is starting to annoy the fuck out of me. So I pull up next to him, roll down the passenger window and ask him what the issue is. At this point, I come to the realization this is the lady's husband. With the window rolled down, he sticks his finger in the car and tells me he's going to fucking kick my ass for talking to his wife that way.
I'm pretty sure my son's never heard someone use the F word like that, let alone threaten his dad, so this is one of those crossroads moments in life. I've got to make a split-second decision on how to handle this situation, because the repercussions could be serious. 15 years ago, I would have put the car in park and gotten out and got in his face immediately. Being older and wiser, I know better. I've got more too much to lose, but more importantly I want my son to be proud of how I act.
So, I calmly said, "whoa, listen, I would never talk like that to your wife, and I didn't. All I asked her to do was turn off the engine. And now you're going to come over here and threaten me and swear in front of the kids. Is that necessary? That's not worth it. You're going to do this in front of the kids?"
He looked in the back seat and saw my son, and then he looked down to the ground like he knew he had fucked up.
I rolled up the window, and then I opened the driver's side to continue the conversation by just talking over the top of the car but standing there ready to get back in if need be, because he was still jawing. The wife then tried to calm him down because he was doing the "hold me back, hold me back" schtick. I said, "all I asked her was to turn off her engine." She said, "but the way you charged me..." That's when I knew she had concocted the story in her mind, and who the hell knows what she said to him to set him off. She kept telling him it's not worth it, it's not worth it. I just got back in my car at that point. The lights for the field were being turned off, so the parking lot (which doesn't have lights) was literally pitch black at that point.
So, we're pulling out of the parking lot. I'm pretty shaken up and angry, and I'm worried about how my son is going to react.
I said, "that guy is acting like an idiot." My son responds, "because he IS an idiot."
Wow. My nine year old is wise beyond his years. Sometime I think he's a better person than me. Much of that credit goes to his mom and his grandfather.
We drove home and had a decent talk, but I didn't want him to focus on that. I'm not sure I ever saw someone threaten my dad like that when I was nine, so I couldn't quite put myself in his shoes. We talked about fighting and how that doesn't solve anything. We also talked about not mentioning this to mommy because we don't want her to be stressed out about it, and he was cool with that.
Now, here's where I need some advice. Do I just let his go? Part of me wants to call the coach of the opposing team and find out who this dude is and have the league ban him from future games. There's a very strict policy with our league on code of conduct. Another part of me wants to call the police on this dude.
I'm leaning towards just letting it go. Not sure I'll ever see him again. Although there is a chance we might have to play this team again next Sunday night in the championship game.
Did I react strongly enough? I didn't want to seem like a pushover by letting this guy do that in front of my kid. The wife was a complete shit-stirrer apparently because I hurt her feelings by asking her to turn off her engine.
This is where I lost it though. If someone came over and asked me to turn off my engine, I would have apologized and said yes immediately and turned it off, feeling embarrassed. She took the stance that she was going to text her husband and tell him how I was out of line.
Anyway, I needed to get that off my chest. Appreciate everyone reading if you made it this far. I'll probably forget about this by tomorrow, but I just don't want the kid to be shaken up by it. I think I was ok in my response.
Last edited on Mon Oct 10th, 2016 07:19 am by Blazer
"Well, maybe I like the nightlife just a little bit more than I like the damn gym, jack! And when you're makin' $500,000 a year, there ain't no reason to change what you're doing." - Dusty Rhodes, 1/4/1986