Childhood friends and lifelong Skins fans Ankur Patel and Ryan Fields, plus Patel’s cousin Jony, were together watching Alfred Morris polish off the Cowboys in the final week of the regular season. That’s when they decided they needed to pay tribute at the first home playoff game in 13 years.
“Somebody should dress up in an Alf costume,” one of them suggested, in honor of one of Morris’s roughly 400 nicknames.
The trio wondered if they should draw straws to determine the costume-wearer.
“I said no, I volunteer,” Fields told me on Monday. “I’m going to do it. I wasn’t really looking to get any attention or anything. I’ve painted my face to go to the games before, and I’m always up for doing the crazy stuff.”
So the 28-year old season-ticket holder from Gaithersburg ordered an Alf costume off Amazon for about $80. It arrived on Thursday, and he posted an image of himself inside the furball on Facebook.
“We gotta make the eye and nose holes bigger,” he wrote. “Can’t see a damn thing…or breathe for that matter.”
“We’ll do some surgery tomorrow,” Ankur promised. “I’ll bring an exacto knife.”
So they showed up at the game, with Fields donning the costume near the Extreme Skins tailgate. He still didn’t have a Morris jersey, since he hadn’t found one large enough to fit over the costume, but it didn’t matter.
“It took me two hours to get into the stadium,” Fields told me. “We got lucky; we left the tailgate about 2:30, wanted to see some of the warmups. It’s a good thing we left when we did; we got to our seats about 5 minutes before kickoff….
“People loved it,” he continued. “Just walking around, people were shouting ALF, ALF, ALF. It was a really good reaction. I was a little bit nervous that people wouldn’t get it — he was an ’80s sitcom star, and a lot of the younger generation is out at the game. I was a little concerned people wouldn’t know who Alf was or they wouldn’t understand the connection. But they did.”
Of course, that was going in, before he bought an XXL Morris jersey at the team store, posed for dozens more photos, and then watched his team lose a playoff heartbreaker.
See, it’s one thing to march out of a stadium dressed as a furry ’80s sitcom star when your team has won. It’s another thing to do so when your team’s season is over, and your star quarterback is injured. Fields took the mask off, but the body fur remained.
“You know, I couldn’t exactly take it off,” he noted. “I was so sad, so disappointed. Heartbroken. I didn’t know what to do with myself.”
Still, when he got home and saw how many people had been posting his image on Twitter and Instagram and blogs and sports sites, Fields knew for sure the costume was a hit. So now he’s planning on wearing Alf to the Wizards game on Saturday, and to Nats Park this spring, and to the MSP Polar Bear Plunge on January 26th at Sandy Point State Park. (Well, the mask, anyhow. Donate to team “Frozen Fingerspellers” here.)
“I explained to my wife, the Alf costume is something I can wear on Halloween for years to come,” Fields said. “It was really uncomfortable, the whole thing was itchy and hot and sweaty, but it was absolutely 100 percent worth it.”