Comcast SportsyNet's Adam Littlefield and I spent some quality time in the Preakness infield on Saturday. First off, let me say that if you're not a 21-year-old college kid whose idea of heaven involves Milwaukee's Best, tasteless t-shirts and rolling around in the dirt, this event will invariably make you feel very old. To start, here's an example of the noble spirit of the day:
Mildly exuberant folks were getting themselves dragged out of the infield from the crack of dawn, but the draggings seemed somehow calm and peaceful early in the day. By our last trip into the mayhem, sometime around 4 pm, the air was thick with the pall of violence. We were interviewing two friends, who demonstrated their love for each other by dumping beer over each other's head, when nearby, some guy chucked a full can of beer over his shoulder, hard. It crashed into some other guy's back, 20 yards away. The guy who got hit jumped up and grabbed a third, unrelated party. They pushed and yelled and postured, and then finally started fighting, and then two women jumped in, and one woman got popped in the head, and the police came to drag people away while the woman who had been hit went straight down, to be comforted by friends.
This was around the time we decided to leave. We walked out behind an ambulance carrying a guy with a massive gash on his head and blood everywhere. We needed Jason Whitlock to chronicle this event, and to tell us what it all means.
Anyhow, for me, the highlight was the port-a-racin'. This new, exciting sport invites participants to jump up at the beginning of a long row of port-a-potties and attempt to traverse the entire row. Meanwhile, fans show their support by showering the participants with enough beer to inebriate a frat house. Usually, the athletes fall off somewhere in the middle. I'm demanding the WaPo include this sport in the "Why We Compete" series.
Littles and I managed to interview one port-a-racer as he was being escorted out by security. He was down to one shoe. His body was a mess of bruises and scrapes. He asked security if he could go back and get his wallet; the request was denied. Littles asked this competitor why he had raced, what he had gotten out of the experience.
"No comment," the fallen athlete said.