The Wolf of Virginia Street, Week 1

For your reading consideration on the eve of college football’s celebrated return to all of our lives… Andrew Maurins’ Rules To Abide By This Football Season And Every Season

  • Don’t be a jerk ~ This is the foundation upon which every other rule is built. I know how hard it can be to act the part of a gracious host with ungrateful guests (I’m looking in your directions, Vegas and Boise). But the absolute, bare bones, hardly-have-to-exert-any-extra-effort advice each one of you can put into practice (if you haven’t already) is “Don’t be a jerk.” If you don’t want to buy an opposing fan a drink or offer them one of your kidneys, you don’t have to. But the absolute bedrock minimum you should do is NOT go out of your way to be a jerk to them. No swear words. No unprovoked hostility. No exceptions. "But we have to protect this house! We have to let them know who—" Stop. This is a football game, not your ticket to Valhalla for vanquishing The Enemy in glorious battle. The Golden Rule isn’t hard for functioning adults to grasp. Do your tiny part to make the whole game day experience fun by being the opposite of an un-fun jerk. Don’t misunderstand me: be invested in the games, and get excited when good stuff happens. Cheer for the Pack (within reason) until your vocal cords are gelatinous blobs of fleshy pulp. Even dish out some good-natured trash talk with folks who are clearly OK with it and willing to reciprocate; it’s a weirdly satisfying bond if you do it at the right times with the right people. And if an opportunity to be good to a visitor presents itself — to issue the “Welcome to Reno” spiel, pay them a sincere compliment, or offer them a hot dog or beer — seize it. But if you do absolutely nothing else, take a page out of Google’s playbook and...

  • Don’t get really drunk ~ I get it. Beer at football games is expensive, alcohol is great in moderation, and most people are good company after a few drinks. Yours Truly is especially entertaining when lightly toasted. For all of those reasons, it makes sense to do some imbibing before you go in to the stadium. But please….PLEASE don’t get completely plastered. Not before the game. Not during the game. Maaaaaybe after the game, depending on what’s at stake, the outcome, and your DD status, but still probably not. This could easily get rewritten as rule #1B. Sporting events cram lots of total strangers into confined spaces for hours at a time. We’re all in this Mackay Stadium game day thing together, and if you choose to spend every weekend there stinking, sloppy, stumbling drunk, you are a low-level sociopath and need to go home. Don’t ruin other people’s experience with your carefully rehearsed Drunk History Chautauqua. Take some responsibility for the enjoyment of the game, both for yourself and those around you. If you “need” to get loaded to enjoy an already expensive sporting event you won’t remember anyway, then rethink your relationships with alcohol AND with sports.

  • It’s OK to look away from your smartphone. Really. ~ No, I am neither (that) old, nor do I have a lawn with any darn kids loitering on it, dagnabbit! True, social media is undoubtedly important for various uses today, and a stadium-wide WiFi network would serve many practical needs. But for now, we still don’t have one, and that’s OK. It affords you the opportunity to interact with the people you’re sitting around, and maybe observe that ruckus with the 22 be-jerseyed chaps running around on the pitch that you paid to see. Unless you’re reading my column, in which case: please continue.

  • You’re probably no good at heckling ~ This is coming from a place of experience as a recovering heckler. The list of people who are truly exceptional at it — quick, confident and objectively laugh-out funny at a consistent clip — can fit into a Fiat. Know your audience and who you’re ostensibly talking to. The players don’t hear you, and likely wouldn’t care if they did, anyway. Anonymous word diarrhea is what Twitter is for.

  • Don’t be the guy/girl who’s “too cool” to be there ~ Take part in traditions, whether cool or dumb. Don’t roll your eyes at other people’s lack of hang-ups when doing silly stuff, because no one likes a sourpuss. Once again, this comes from experience. I was absolutely that guy in high school, and the moment I stopped all of this nonsense is the moment I started truly enjoying my time at Nevada.

The Beer

Rubicon Monkey Knife Fight Pale Ale (Sacramento, CA) ~ With a name like that, you would think everything about this beer is EXTREME, when nearly the opposite is true. The challenge for American pale ales not named Sierra Nevada has been making a name for themselves without relying on tons of hops, and with the surging popularity of more unusual styles of beer in recent years, the old-fashioned pale has faded into the background. MKF has a gold-orange color with little head and very light lacing inside the bottle. From the smells of tropical fruit and Mt. Hood and Cascade hops (the latter “dry-hopped,” or added at the end of brewing), to the tastes of caramel malt and grapefruit down to the bitterness of the whole range of flavors, everything about this beer is mild to moderate and thoroughly unobtrusive. It’s a little like an English bitter, for a comparison: it has enough to like on its own merits, but will probably leave American hopheads wanting something stronger. You’re glad to be back in the swing of things sipping a good ol’ pale, but also eager to see what else is in store for you. In that sense, it’s the UC Davis of weekly beer reviews. I give it three tipsy Wolfies out of five.

All fan mail (burning or otherwise) can be sent to:
Andrew Maurins
c/o North RV Lot
Campus of THE University of Nevada
Reno, NV 89557

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