I hesitated but continued on, weathering the risk of judgment for passing too much time studying the gendered bathroom signs. After all, there was a significant crowd in the general restroom vicinity and I was in opposing colors. I did not need to look the part of a fool. But when I turned to the man who’d followed me in and questioned the abundance of stalls and lack of urinals I almost immediately knew I’d screwed up. And when I heard a voice, distinctly a female voice, question, “What are you guys doing in here?” my face swiftly turned the color of my shirt as I beelined back to the entrance of the women’s restroom I had mistakenly just entered. And the aforementioned crowd in the general restroom vicinity? Well to them I delivered a brief bow as I noticed each of the restroom doors had the gender opposite their inhabitants painted on them within the greater context of an arrow. A fool I’d been made.
But this alone was the greatest gaffe of my trip to Colorado. Some might cite my bravado and irreverence to the host’s blackout. Others would draw attention to the performance of my team, their own bravado behind the veil of miniscule national ranking and a tidy 20-3 record, and the loss they would incur. And yet another couple – specifically the couple seated before us at the contest – would reference a perceived “lack of respect” we were showing to an unnamed source which evidently merited a tooth flicking. Yes, you read that correctly, someone flicked their tooth at us.
None of that holds a candle to the foolishness of waltzing into The Dark Horse’s women’s restroom.
Because I am a fan; not an enemy.
Ask the young man at The Sink who held nothing back in letting our group of three Wildcats know what idiots we were for cheering Arizona and that the Buffs were now “officially 2-0” against Arizona this season. He’d continue on, making somewhere between little and no sense, in ensuring that we knew we were in the wrong. And then I bought him a $1 shot of well whisky and I had a new best friend.
An enemy I am not. A grand time I had.
From the new friends I made to the old ones I joined, hitting the Pac-12 road was as great as ever. Sure the outcome was less than satisfactory and the mile trek to The Golden Buff hotel amidst a four-inch snow storm was the coldest damn thing ever; but this was unchartered territory and adversity was foreseen. Did Sir Edmond Hillary expect a red carpet to the top of Everest? Was Neil Armstrong thinking the anti-gravity think would be a cakewalk? You can rest assured that Adam Butler did not jaunt into the Coors Event Center thinking life would be easy. No, he expected cold and anger and battle of a basketball game. And he jaunted away impressed. The production and the show-up of Buff Nation was commendable. While UCLA struggles to get its own fans to support their 19-7 program, I met Buffalo upon Buffalo who drove 30+ miles (Denver-Boulder) through snow and construction for an 8pm tip to get rowdy, return home, and go to work the next day. Consider my beanie, earmuffs, and hood tipped.
I enjoyed The Buff and college town drink prices and not going to work for two days before a three-day weekend. I had a five-day weekend.
No, I am not an enemy because I went there for the experience and I got exactly that. And now I’ve recruited others to return to Boulder next season when Arizona is likely to still be a Top-15 team with the Colorado Buffaloes looking to beat them like they did this Valentine’s. I’ll be there again as a fan, perhaps an intrinsically foolish role we’ve subscribed to. So while The Dark Horse may have misled me, my fandom did not.
And it never will.