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viewpoint

Adventures in the student section

| Wednesday, October 3, 2018

It started because my friend wore shorts to the Stanford game. Well, actually, it probably started at a tailgate an hour or two earlier, but I entered the narrative when my shorts-wearing friend turned to me and asked, “Is someone … pouring something out? Behind us?” Unfortunately, there was no one pouring something behind us. The sprinkle of liquid that my friend must have felt on the back of his legs was instead the result of someone peeing. In the stands. Of the student section.

I won’t write out what I screamed at the kid (a sentiment that a number of the students around us echoed), but you should know that it was loud and appropriately disgusted. However, whether because he was too drunk or because he was just really proud of himself, this did not deter the kid relieving himself in public, and instead he continued to do so with the rest of us screaming at him from a distance until the usher came to guide him out. And let me tell you, in the meantime, everything was hanging out there. I did not ask to see that. Honestly, he might have kept going as the usher pulled him out, but by this point I had looked away.

Now, I want to fully justify my utter disgust and confusion at this. I am 21. I, like many people at this school, have been drunk before, and I mean very drunk. This is okay. Drinking is not inherently evil or bad or disgusting. I have done many things while drunk, such as karaoke, midnight walks through the snow in the middle of November and just constantly telling anyone in a given room how much I love them. A few of these things were unsafe, most were probably a little stupid and all of them have been embarrassing. However, despite all of this, drunk or not, I have never once in my life felt the need to pee in public.

If the initial urination wasn’t enough to ruin my night (even though it definitely was), I also had the added benefit of not only having to stand on pee-covered benches surrounded by pee-covered ground, but also of having to do so surrounded by the urinator’s buddies. This involved putting up with a lot of cursing, being fallen on and one incident in which one kid tried to get even more urine onto my friend. However, it really became a problem when, before the end of the first half, another kid began falling onto my friend to the left. She turned around and told him to stop. He did not. She told him less nicely to stop. He did not. His hands were all over all of my friends, and, intentional or not, his hands were in extremely inappropriate places. Finally, she pushed him off of her and he immediately fell back onto the seat with a glassy look in his eyes. By that point, I had been harassed and shoved by this group of boys and literally peed upon, so I had every right to feel nothing but anger at this kid, but he truly looked messed up enough that I was mostly just scared he was going to pass out in front of me. I was worried for his safety.

Now honestly, there are a lot of directions I could take this piece. I could argue against tailgating or unsafe drinking. I could talk about the stupid things people get up to when they’re drunk, and I undoubtedly could draw connections to recent happenings in our country. I could even turn this around on the ushers or the stadium, demanding my money back for a night ruined by kids who should never have made it into the student section.

But I don’t want to do any of that. I like the ushers, and I know they do their best. I think that, when done responsibly, drinking can be fun, and I don’t want to make some broad statement about it and come across like a hypocrite. What I really want to do is ask why. Seriously, can someone please explain to me what part of getting so drunk that you repeatedly fall on strangers or literally go to the bathroom in public makes game days fun? Why do you enjoy getting so drunk that you don’t remember the game that you paid to see? Is getting escorted out by the ushers, or watching your friends get escorted out, that enjoyable of an experience?

I also think I want to end this with a plea. I would love nothing more than for everyone to enjoy their game day. Go to tailgates! Have fun! But I can’t have fun if there are people peeing or falling on me. Of course I could have moved, and ultimately I did leave. But I have the right to enjoy the game without worrying about this happening, and not just as a paying customer of the stadium, but as a person trying to watch football with my friends. I have the right to go out in public and not have to worry about some drunk guy touching my butt or — and I cannot emphasize this enough — literally peeing on me. I shouldn’t even have to ask this. But please, please, please, next time you drink in any situation, think of me. Think of this story. Think, “if I drink this next beer, will I be drunk enough to be a disturbance to the people around me?” And please, be responsible.

Abby Gervase

senior

Sept. 30

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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