Colin Dunlap: Oh The People You’ll Meet
Takes all kinds, I guess.
And over the better part of the last week spent with my wife on the Las Vegas Strip for vacation I’ve seen all kinds. Or, at least, most kinds.
A trip here used to be thrice-yearly (at least) for me, but has slowed in regularity. What has not, however, is something I felt needed to be discussed and dissected.
What’s with this inborn, innate, instinctive notion that when some of you are on vacation it is an absolute must that you have to represent back home?
That you have to wear a polo/jersey/t-shirt boldly announcing to everyone on vacation where you are from even as (for me at least) my intent on vacation is to get away from everyone where I’m from?
Let’s take an unscientific look now at some of the most egregious offenders that I noticed off-hand during my time perusing Vegas:
The Boston-area sports fan:
This person is, flat-out, the worst. And when more than one gets together, it is downright insufferable. Such was my suspicion from previous vacations and interactions with this creature, but it was really hammered home on Saturday, sitting at the Planet Hollywood sportsbook watching (or at least trying to watch) the Red Sox and Dodgers game. Naturally, a group of Boston-area sports fans ruined it. You see, Jon Lester started that day for the Sox and pitched very, very, very well. However, there truly was no need, after virtually every strike, for these heathens to yell, “DAT’S RIGHT LESTAHHHHH!”
Give or take (and this is just a rough estimate) the word “LESTAHHHHH” was screamed 2,462,595 times during this game by a guy wearing a Rob Gronkowski jersey in the group. It will haunt me forever.
The University of Texas fan:
University of Texas fans, undeniably, feel the need to represent more than any other collegiate fan. You can’t walk 10 steps on vacation — in Vegas or anywhere else — without seeing this being. The obnoxious-level of the Texas fan isn’t nearly as high as the Boston-area sports fan, but they do (even through hundreds of people) feel the need to scream and do that Hook ‘Em Horns thing if they see one of their brethren. It is, well, just a bit much. The Texas fan, however, does deserve a bit of a free pass because the female version of the Texas fan is, many times, terrifically attractive.
The Notre Dame fan:
I believe roughly .04 percent of the people I saw on vacation wearing Notre Dame gear actually went to school there. And in a few days, seems like hundreds of people I saw were wearing Notre Dame gear. I’m as Irish as they come and have never understood the logic behind this.
The Steelers fan:
OK, here’s the cold, hard truth — there were two memorable snippets involving Steelers fans on my vacation. And, back to the main crux of this column … I knew they were Steelers fans because of their unyielding need to wear Steelers stuff on vacation.
First, at the Paris Las Vegas pool on Friday, there was a man in a Steelers shirt — with a couple buddies — just annihilating Coors Light pounders. And chain smoking. And they had their own handle of whiskey in a big, glass bottle.
All this at 9:30 a.m.
Now, they take this “no glass around the pool” thing pretty serious (at least that’s what I picked up on) as evidenced by some manager-type guy politely asking these fellows to remove the bottle from the area.
Oh man. The charade that followed.
And, again, this is 9:30 a.m., mind you.
First, the manager guy got the wave off, laughed-at treatment. Then, when the Steelers-shirt man realized he wasn’t going away, the Steelers shirt man gave him the whole, “I spend a lot of money at this place” treatment in his decidedly western Pennsylvania accent.
Manager guy still wouldn’t budge. He wanted the glass out.
Steelers shirt guy (I’m guessing fearing the next step was real security intervention) started to come to his senses and walked with the bottle from the pool area, but only after alerting the manager guy that his superiors would be notified.
The manager guy just shook his head, walked away (and this is just a guess) probably didn’t fear that he’d suffer any ill consequence for, well, enforcing the posted rules about not having a glass bottle of whiskey and acting like a goon — at 9:30 a.m.
There was another interaction with a Steelers fan on the trip.
As my wife and I were heading into the Celine Dion concert on Saturday night (don’t even flipping ask, it was my wife’s birthday, OK) the Steelers game was on at a bar at Caesars near the concert venue entrance.
How was I alerted to this?
Well, one voice boomed through the air, loudly, “[Forget] you Tomlin and [forget] you Danny Smith.”
This man was not happy.
The man was wearing a Steelers shirt.
This man had an accent purely Pittsburgh.
Oh, yeah, he didn’t say the word “forget” either.
As I looked at him first, as he was screaming at the television, my eyes then turned to the screen, which was showing a replay of the Knile Davis kickoff return for the Chiefs.
My Lord, if this Steelers fan acts like this in the preseason on vacation in public, I can’t imagine what he acts like in the regular season in the confines of his own home.
The (fill-in name of SEC school) fan:
Whether it is LSU or Alabama or Georgia or Tennessee, these people feel it’s requisite attire to wear their team gear on vacation. The low-end, sorta-trashy folk in these fanbases don’t intrigue me as much as their well-to-do comrades. Here’s why: They all dress identical.
Every man on vacation who roots for an SEC school has a “Bama Bangs” haircut, wherein the bangs on said man cover his forehead and are normally pushed to one side or another. Think Jay Cutler here (oddly enough, he played at Vanderbilt in the SEC). These Southern gentlemen on vacation — and I saw plenty of them on vacation in Vegas – are almost always decked out in a team, high-end polo shirt, a khaki pair of shorts and a pair of stylish flip-flops. But, here’s what sets the breed apart — the belt. Almost always, these guys have a canvas belt with leather backing with some design on it.
Like a crab.
Or a whale.
Or palmetto trees.
Maybe a horse or a sailboat or teeny-tiny American flags.
How about a horseshoe, an elephant, a marlin jumping out of the water or a duck.
Or, if they are super classy, it might be one from the Augusta National Golf Club.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weeknights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out his bio here.