The Law Fought Me But I Was Too Tall
When Indy Eleven goes on the road, the Brickyard Battalion always look at the calendar and attempt to make “every game a home game.” Meaning, wherever Indy goes, the fans go with them. Some away games are easier to plan and bring a good number of folks. Western Conference & mid-week matches are usually the toughest when it comes to folks traveling from Indy for a game. When Indy goes down to Louisville, we have seen 100+ travel down 65. Earlier this season, in Detroit, we saw just under 50 people make the trip. When I mentioned mid-week matches, I failed to mention Open Cup matches. The cup is the exception. A few years ago, on a Wednesday, close to 25 made the trip out to Pittsburgh for a round 3 matchup. This year, in Columbus, on a Wednesday, one could argue that we saw close to 100 folks make the trip.
For those that don’t know me, I am of tall stature. I will wear a jersey that dons the number 84. This was done to assist folks who questioned how tall I was. When this happens and I don’t feel like talking, or I’m saving my voice for when I hop in the south capo stand of the BYB, I can just point to the number. Usually, there’s never any issues between myself and event security. Whether it’s at The Mike or anywhere on the road. They (event security) & I have one goal in common, stay safe and leave the stadium unharmed. Typically, in the USL Championship, we all walk past our sections “designated security people.” Typically, they are then staged throughout the section to help keep the group “safe.” In Louisville, there’s typically one at the stairs right next to us and another may be close to mid-way up the stairs. In Detroit, there were a handful down on the walkway of the bleachers and in the vicinity of the BYB. Typically, when the BYB travels we see more of what the event security did in Detroit. Hang around at the bottom and leave it at that. Personally, I prefer more of what Louisville does but wish they would have a few more personnel on the stairs. The BYB is not violent and fans in general are not violent towards the BYB. Security in the section is all a “just in case” measure. Just in case some idiot gets drunk, is pissed off about the result, sees us having a grand ole time, and chooses violence. It’s not something we have seen, albeit there have been folks “asking for it.” I’ve seen it several times in Louisville. Simply because we do not shut up for 90+ minutes. Win lose or draw, we stay loud down there. But nothing ever comes of it, and everyone goes home unharmed and filled with memories of the BYB being the loudest folks in an opponent’s stadium.
“Okay yeah John, we know how away days’ work. What does all of this have to do with the title of this blog?” Security measures. That’s what it has to do with it. During Indy’s round 3 open cup match in Columbus, close to 100 of us filling 2 sections set for us. Security was either on the field or up at the top in the concourse. Sure, only half the stadium was open, and we were next to the start of an empty section. However, security not being actually in the section is what started it all. Had they been on the stairs, or even in the empty section directly next to us, they wouldn’t have started a fight that they simply couldn't win.
I was minding my own business. Slighting leaning on the wall of one of the tunnels and had my left foot on the armrest of the chair of the row below/in front of me. No big deal, right? I do that anywhere. Even at The Mike I have a foot on the bleacher bench in front of me. However, Lower . com field security didn’t see it that way. These security personnel were again, up top in the concourse and were looking down. All they saw was someone towering over everyone else. Roughly 5 security guys were at the top yelling and pointing towards me. Some context for the rest of this story, my back was to them the entire time and I was only told all of this by Josh Mariano (Former BYB VP) & Katherine Reed (BYB President.) Katherine, who was at the bottom of the section, noticed and heard commotion from security up top. Being the good President she is, she walked up and asked what was going on. “What are you guys worried about? What’s the problem?” Katherine asked sternly with a skeptical look. “He has to get down, he can’t do that.” Security said as they pointed directly at me. At this point, security had called for backup due to fear of “mob mentality.” Again, no security made any contact with me on the matter. When backup appeared, and conversations were going on, they were told “He’s not standing on anything, he’s just that tall.” They got themselves in a position to actually see & realized that folks weren’t lying.
At some point during all of this, I presume was after they realized, Josh came down to talk to me. It was more of a “just to inform you of what happened,” type of talk. To be completely honest, I had a few drinks in me by this point, & jello shots may or may not have been taken a few times before the match. So, all I heard was “security doesn’t like you” and “Katherine would like for you to take a picture with them.” After starting an “84 inches” chant, I finally went and took said picture. After all, I was told Katherine wanted it to happen and I don’t say no to her. Unless of course it’s dangerous or could get me in trouble. Josh walked with me up to the security guards. I said “hello, yes I am tall.” They looked at me with a look I’ve seen far too many times. The look of “son of a biscuit he’s tall. I hope we don’t have to carry him off or try to stop him for whatever reason.” Yeah, that look. Every event security staff gives that look, even at home matches. Luckily, we don’t see new folks every game, except at the gate.
If you haven’t witnessed an away day, I highly encourage it. I’ve done numerous away days. More than I can count at this point. Every single one of them have been a blast. Security is usually pretty chill, even if there’s a little dust up, cool heads prevail, and we all say thanks after the match. The goal is always “every game is a home game.” If you’ve seen Indy play a home game, you know it’s loud and it doesn’t stop for 90 minutes. This is the same for away days. Everyone involved in the planning bit tries to get things organized as early as possible. Usually, the last thing they are waiting on is a ticket link provided by the home club. If you do go on an away day, it is encouraged that you purchase your ticket through the link. By purchasing your ticket through the provided link, you help ensure that the Indy Eleven front office sends the appropriate number of staff to serve as a liaison for the BYB. Sending staff is a USL rule, not an Indy Eleven or BYB rule. Typically, the ticket link for away days is sent via the Indy on Tour email. To obtain these emails, you can head over to https://brickyardbattalion.com/ to sign up or you can reach out to the Brickyard Battalion via any of their social media accounts.