Monday, July 13, 2009
Did I ever tell you...........
Every single time, and I mean EVERY SINGLE TIME, I go to The Cell to watch a White Sox game, I have to tell the kids that I was at Disco Demolition Night all those many years ago. And they are never as excited to hear that story as I am to tell it--over and over again.
You see, before each home game, they play a lovely sequence of White Sox highlights from years past to get everyone pumped for the game. They have really old footage of glory days, diving catches, incredible plays, and high-fives from the 2005 World Series win set to music from the Pirates of the Caribbean. Oooh, it just gets me all goose-bumpy thinking about it--I love watching that video every time we go. And smack dab at the explosive parts of the music, they show footage of the disasterous/uber-cool Disco Demolition Night exploding disco records in the outfield from 1979.
And yes--I was there. In all my teenage glory.
This July 12 marks the 30th (gulp) Anniversary of the event and although most White Sox personnel would like to forget the incident--I would like to revisit that glorious night when I was actually a hooligan. Okay, so it didn't happen all that often with me, so give me my moment, okay?
The Reader's Digest version is that Steve Dahl, a disc jockey from the radio station The Loop, decided to rid the world of Disco music. It was on a slide anyway, so promoters somehow thought that allowing fans in for the sweet price of 98 cents (the radio station was 98 on the dial) and disco record (to be collected and blown up later) would gather a crowd. And yes, it worked. The place was mobbed!
I went with a couple of the neighbor guys and my best friend, Cheryl. Mike, Burt, Cheryl and I packed in Mike's van and headed out to the double-header--not for the riot that would soon ensue--but to watch a couple of White Sox games for 98 cents. I honestly did not even know who Steve Dahl was at the time or what this whole thing was about. See? NOT a hooligan.
Between the games, the collected records were stored in a box in centerfield and was about to be blown to bits. Dahl and his sidekick, Garry Meier, worked the teen crowd into a frenzy yelling "Disco Sucks" over and over until everyone was a tad nutty. When the box exploded, ironically so did the crowd. Teens were going crazy, throwing records, shooting off fireworks and storming the field. Nobody was in their seat--me included. We worked our way down from our seats towards the field and hopped out there with the rest of the hooligans. My friend, Cheryl, stood at the fence all worried and panicky and I pretty much told her to either "get out here or goodbye". Good friend, eh? Cheryl would still be standing there today if I didn't tell that girl to move. I think she secretly thanks me for getting her to be a hooligan that night too.
So, we stood out on the field, yucking it up with the other goofs, watching them tear up the pitcher's mound, stealing the bases, and dodging flying records that were basically torpedos from the upper deck. It was insane and dangerous. It was mayhem and out of control. And I was standing there in the middle of it--all glorious that I was a part of something. Okay, so it was a riot--I was a part of it!
After a bit, the craziness sort of subsided and we worked our way back to our seats. There is only so much shenanigans you can do standing on the field you love, so we got bored and went to sit down. Most people joined us, but there were still a few hundred idiots who couldn't stop themselves. The crowd booed and told them to get off the field--we were ready for the second game, but it was too late. The field was destroyed and they were forced to forfeit the game.
So, non-hooligan me was actually bummed because we missed out on the second game and we went home a little let down. Little did we know that this was like the biggest event at old Comiskey Park--ever. And that it would be on the news and they would have 30th anniversaries and stuff. And that I would tell my children over and over how I was there and I was an actual rioting teen at one time. And then they would yawn. Sheesh.
Good times. Good times.