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The 12 People You Meet In A Socially-Distanced Stadium

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Are you a Kyle? You sure about that?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports. Banner Society Illustration.

In Banner Society’s most recent edition of Bad Idea Time, we posited that the most logical possible answer to gameday distancing concerns and depleted television inventory vaults lies at the intersection of “Admit as few in-person spectators to each college football game as possible, but make each spectator front a unique viewing experience.”

While the opportunity to holler whatever you want into a live microphone for a national audience for four hours will surely draw candidates from all possible walks of life, there are some avenues well-trod enough to enable the educated viewer to plot their gameday channel-hopping in advance. We have collected a modest set of potential archetypes here – a distanced fandom zodiac, if you like – some of which may be based on members of our own family. You can surely come up with plenty of your own.

Introducing …

  • The Eric: More of a pro guy, as he’ll repeatedly tell viewers at home. “I really have five favorite NFL teams,” he’ll say, by way of introduction. He will then proceed to list them in descending order of affection, beginning with the Cowboys and Steelers.
  • The Trey: Every friend group has one. “That’s a pass play!” he’ll crow triumphantly, as the quarterback visibly cocks his arm back to throw. “Did you see how I called that? I totally just called that. I should’ve been a coach.” Stands the entire game, clapping the entire time, regardless of on-field events.
  • The Shelby: The “WOOOOOOO” girl. Every game needs one. A preternatural ability at getting the WOOOOOOOO directly into a sideline parabolic mic, despite being nowhere near the mic itself.
  • The Carl: A team lifer. In between snaps, is mostly interested in talking about parking, and how close he managed to get his car to the stadium compared to last week, and compared to last year, and compared to previous years, while noting in minute detail the price increases that accompanied each change of venue. Watches the plays themselves while sitting on the edge of his seat, arms crossed, in stern but companionable silence.
  • The Susan: A player’s mother, grandmother, or aunt, who complains so loudly about on-field treatment of her relation that the PA announcer actually begins to join in haranguing opposing tacklers, either out of genuine sympathy or fear of retribution from Susan herself.
  • The Ronnie: Is ready to suit up at all times. I mean, REALLY ready to suit up at all times. As in, may join the team unbidden on the sidelines, or may just attack Eric after hearing “I really have five favorite NFL teams.”
  • The Melanie: A very different kind of stay-ready star. Despite being alone in the stadium and framed by a very large camera, is absolutely covered in covert bourbon vessels. Flasks in both boots and at the small of her back, plus a repurposed sunscreen bottle filled with scotch in her clutch complete the look.
  • The Kyle: Again, everybody’s got one. Best not to mention. But you just know he’ll end up with a ticket, the lucky little bastard.
  • The Stuart: Is drastically overserved before ever entering the stadium. Also unfortunately is in a band, not marching band but like a band band, which you are about to hear a lot about. Hope you like Jason Aldean covers, “but punk”!!
  • The Tonya. Does not want to be here. Was not informed of the isolation rules when she agreed to come. Was dragged by her boyfriend, Trey, who is assigned to another section, and about whom she has a number of less-than-charitable psychological insights. An instant fan favorite.
  • The Anthony: Is relentlessly hustling prop bets on everything in sight, from the coin flip to the field temperature at kickoff to the score at the end of the third quarter. Is not visibly skilled at prognosticating any of these things, but will somehow still take Kyle for everything he’s got, which mercifully isn’t much.
  • The Randy: Local father of three, thrilled to be out of the house, thinks it is his job to entertain everyone watching his video feed as though you are all on a very long car trip. Talks back to every stadium announcement as though the PA guys were seated directly next to him.
  • The Duke: An unaccompanied child of unknown parentage whose caretaker for the day did not read the fine print before applying for tickets this week. Will not reveal his name, only declare himself to be the Duke of Outer Space. His mouth-fart symphonies are surprisingly musical, and find a dedicated audience before the end of the second quarter.