Thursday, April 14, 2011

Aces Casino Blog: Thoughts About What Happened to Bryan Stow and How it has Touched This Blogger

To suggest that our blog here at Aces Casino tends to be slightly on the irreverent side at times shouldn't strike one as being a surprise, and most followers of our weekly drivel would probably suggest we remove the word, "slightly," to maintain our accuracy in reporting the "news."

Yes, we're goofy, 'tis true.  It's in our nature, and we strive to bring a smile to our reader's face every time we sit down in front of our keyboard and "create."  I know; we're not very good at this, but we DO try hard.  We HAVE to.  That's what the boss of this Orange County casino party team tells us, especially on Pay Day.  (He's a smart guy.) 

Yes, when it comes to the staff here at Aces Casino, the Orange County casino night leader, "irreverence" IS our middle name. (Ed. Note: We're NOT putting that on the business license.  Stop asking us to change it.)  We've created a virtual "Alternate Universe" at Aces, one that provides entertainment value, and leaves the current affairs of the world on the outside, while we play on the inside.

But recently, something that occurred here in Los Angeles recently and has made it's way onto the newspapers and TV news programs of the nation has touched our team of Orange County casino night superstars very deeply.  You probably have heard of it by now.

It's the story of a man named Bryan Stow, a baseball fan of the San Francisco Giants.  A man that decided to attend the first game of his team's season, "Opening Day," and a game that pitted his Giants against the hometown Los Angeles Dodgers out at Chavez Ravine (Dodger Stadium).  As he was leaving the game that day, Mr. Stow was brutally attacked outside the stadium by two or more Dodger fans, an attack that has left him in an induced come since April 5.  I believe Mr. Stow is still here at Cedars Sinai Hospital, under the care of a team of doctors.  (Ed. Note: Actually, Mr. Stow is being cared for at L. A. County USC Medical Center.  Sorry for the misinformation.)

Now, we here at Aces Casino are big sports fans.  We love the Angels (OUR local team), the Kings, the Ducks, the Chargers... We just love sports.  ALL sports.  Oh, sure, we keep up on current events as well; world news, entertainment, you name it.  Pertinent, interesting things.  But, as the Trivial Pursuit game so adequately puts it, our favorite category in life would have to be "sports and leisure."

And that's where we currently sit here at Aces Casino.  Unfortunately, this senseless attack out at Dodger Stadium has pierced our bubble of protection that keeps us entertaining and irreverent, and has caused quite a lot of thought about just what has happened, and what this means to fans of sport.  The "sports," just like our Las Vegas casino night events, are supposed to be an escape from life as we know it, a time where discussions of playoffs and no-hitters, the current standings and who's doing well or not-so-well.

This one incident at the stadium has hit a nerve.  For this reporter, it has made me stop and think.  Yes, life here at our Orange County casino party company has gone on as "normal" since April 5, and the events have all been their usual spectacular self.  But something's been missing, something that has caused our irreverence to take a back seat.  Normally, our drivel appears twice a week, on Monday and either Thursday or Friday.

But, since the attack on Mr. Stow, it took some ten days to get a new post up on the blog.  It just didn't feel right.  The spirit was missing.

Hopefully, we'll get that goofy spirit back, but for now, a few points to make: First up, from everyone here at Aces Casino Entertainment, we'd like to send out our heartfelt prayers to Bryan Stow and the Stow family for a full recovery for Bryan Stow.  I can't imagine what your family is going through, and we wish you the very best when it comes to your family members' full recovery.

Aces Casino has chosen to donate a portion of our proceeds from our various events in the month of April to the Stow family to try to assist in what has to be a monumental hurdle that must be crossed to maintain contact with Mr. Stow while he's being cared for some 400 miles away from his home. 

Second, this unfortunate event makes us think about just what makes sport FUN for us.  Around HERE, it's the needling about one team or the other getting beaten.  Yes, our fave team might have been beaten.  But....

It should NEVER be about getting beaten yourself. 

My favorite rivalry, without question, is the rivalry between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders.  These two teams square off twice a year, with one of the games out at Qualcomm Stadium, the home of the Chargers, a venue about 90 miles south of us. 

FIERCE rivalry.  The two groups of fans HATE each other, and when they get together in the same stadium on any given Sunday, it's like gasoline and an open flame.

Now, for reference, I'm what you might call an "ancient blogger."  I used to go to Anaheim Stadium for Angel games in 1970, so that qualifies me for a 50-cent discount at any Regal theater.  Simply put, I'm too old for a "Wild Hogs" - type rumble at any stadium.  Unfortunately for most of the Charger and Raider fans that attend the games, they're NOT.

That's where the Bryan Stow situation kicks in.  What made the Raider / Charger rivalry so entertaining was the "interaction" between the two groups of fans.  And, for the purpose of this column, we define "interaction" as VERBAL zingers, jokes about each others' team and how the game might be progressing for one team or the other. 

WORDS.  NOT blows.

That's what has us thinking about how things have been progressing at the stadium lately for this game.  There's so much animosity now.  The hatred is hair-trigger for the fans now.  You can't zing some guy without him threatening to kill you for it.  Now, we've never waited for any return fire from a well-worded zinger of the Raiders, because their fans aren't normally the type to easily link a noun and a verb together.  (Yeah, zingers like that.)  Unfortunately, you shouldn't expect a zinger in return.  Now, you expect a punch, or worse.

The game has lost it's fun.  We go to the Chargers / Raiders game every year to watch the GAME, not the people, and certainly not to watch your back.  We've seen moments in the stadium and the parking lot that mirror the attack on Mr. Stow.  We've seen them a lot, all the time, time after time.

Saw this particular brawl in person last year (No, that's not us filming.  We're the ones trying to break it up).  Things like this are happening all the time, now..... WAY too frequently...

This is just so senseless.  It's ruining the game experience.  I go to these games in San Diego as often as possible, but I ALSO have two young children in the house.  When one of them asks if HE can go to the game with me, I give him the answer -- "NO, son.  The games are too violent, things happen at these games that are NOT fun."


I've said this to my son for three years now.  How sad is that?  And the SADDEST part?  I say it to him as a de-sensitized father, not as a football fan.  This Bryan Stow situation has opened our eyes here at Aces Casino.

And the worst part?

I don't know if there is anything that WE can do to make this go away.  We need to get the fun back into going to the games.  He can't be afraid of taking our kids to the games.  The worst fight I ever SAW at a game happened two seats away from me, at a Charger game.  We're NEVER involved in these fracases, but in a way, we ARE.  It spills right into where you're sitting.  I was sitting next to a young woman that almost got CRUSHED by the throng of bodies throwin' blows.

This just has to stop, and we don't care HOW.

Maybe we can do our part by identifying these hoodlums, getting names, license numbers, descriptions, and getting this information to the proper authorities, so this can be dealt with under the laws of the land.  In Mr. Stow's case, his attackers MUST be found and prosecuted for what they did.  This in UNACCEPTABLE for us, for our kids, and for the sports we love.  Report these idiots that are ruining the games, and make them pay for their unacceptable behavior.

To all of the friends that expect the usual irreverent drivel here, we apologize.  Our rant is over, and we promise to get this out of our system when it comes to the Aces Casino blog, and get back to the business of being the Orange County casino party leader when we resume the blog on Monday.

But...Rest assured, Mr. Stow.  We will NEVER forget YOU, and we'll never forget how much this event changed how we view going to the games.  We won't be de-sensitized any longer, thanks to YOU, Bryan.  We'll help in any way we can, and hopefully, someday, we'll be able to tell you how much your recovery meant to us.  Again, our prayers, Bryan, to you AND your family.

The Chargers / Raiders game will never be the same for us, now.  And that's NOT Bryan Stow's fault, people.  Those of you that come to these games to show off your machisimo and brawl with anybody and everybody...It's YOUR fault.  Get a clue and knock it off.  We don't need any more events like this happening again.


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