Across Stadiums and Arenas, Squatters Are Everywhere

Joe BrownCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2010

PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 20:  A fan poses in the stands without his shirt on during the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field on December 20, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

Jerry Seinfeld once wrote, “Do you ever sneak down to better seats at the game, and get caught by the usher? When you’re a kid, it doesn’t matter because you’re always getting chased from everyplace anyway. But when you’re an adult, it’s really embarrassing to get caught. You have to pretend like there’s some confusion. So you put on this whole act, you’re looking at the tickets, “I don’t understand how this could’ve happened. Let me see . . . Oh I see the problem. These are very good seats, I have very bad seats. That’s the misunderstanding.”


There are many different types of the fearless few. Men, women, both young and old, make up this courageous group.  They are none other than, “The Squatters”.


Let me go on record that I don’t like them.  Actually, I kind of despise them.  But damn it, I respect them.  The audacity of these people never ceases to amaze me.    


If you happen to be the one getting squatted just stay calm and take refuge in the fact there’s a normal process of events.  It goes like this:


You and your buddy (parent, child, or family member) enter your section from the concourse.  You begin walking down the steps towards your row.  As you begin peaking at the descending numbered rows passing by, you notice up ahead it looks like there are a couple pot bellied middle aged men in your seats.  You can’t quite say for sure though because you’re still a good ten rows back.  As you inch closer your heart starts to beat faster as your assumption appears to be correct.  The next several steps go much quicker as the nervousness transcends to annoyance.  Now for the awkward and hopefully brief, confrontation which has all the makings of a fine Larry David moment.  Seinfeld mentioned the act the squatters put on as they look at their tickets and act all confused.  My favorite is when the shameless squatters act shocked and then go for the fake pocket tap (both front and back) and maybe even dipping their hands into their pockets and pretending to rummage around for the imaginary tickets.  Perhaps they give a simple shrug of their shoulders, maybe even mutter a quick apology and do the walk of shame up the aisle back to their rightful seats in the nosebleeds.


I think it’s fair to say that most of us have squatted at least once to some extent.  I don’t have a problem with that so much.  My disdain is more towards the habitual offenders.  What pisses me off is fairly straightforward.  Say you pay fifty bucks a pop for your two seats.  By the fourth inning a beer-bellied, middle-age jersey wearer and his beer-bellied middle-age jersey wearing friend both plop down in the row right in front of you.  They paid $15 each for their seats and they’re in front of me!


I’ve been in seats all over the stadium through my years of attending sporting events.  I have been the victim of a handful of squatters.  

Lines of vision have been distorted by large shirtless squatters poaching the seats the row in front of me.  I have even seen several squatters in action up in the first few rows from the top of the stadium.  These are the guys that have their binoculars attached to their face the whole time.  The problem is they’re not watching the game.  They are scanning the lower deck looking for an area to park their scandalous butts.


Imagine you are standing in a painstakingly long line at the grocery store.  All of a sudden some scrubs cut in line ahead of you.  Not only that, but imagine them receiving an additional 50% off their groceries while you don’t.  That is how I liken the scenario in simpler everyday sense to how I feel about these characters. 


Personally I would never be caught dead squatting.  I think that is one of the more embarrassing things an adult can do. 

Now if I’m at a game and I know for sure that somebody sitting in front of me is sitting in seats that don’t belong to them I sit back and observe.  I admit I enjoy watching the skittish squatter whose head is on swivel nervously looking over his shoulder.  However, my favorite part is when a legit ticket holder comes back from being gone a little while and stops to walk down the squatter’s row.  At this exact moment there is a look of fear and angst as these ticket holders walk down the aisle and the squatters aren’t sure if this person is the one whose seat he is in.


So my recommendation to all you squatters is simple. Quit Squatting! Suck it up and have some pride.  I’m going to give a pass here to the kids and teenagers that currently do this because well, they’re kids and you’re not