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The Idle American
"NFL Toughens 'Bag Lady' Rules..."
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 • Posted September 5, 2013

A generation ago, my wife proclaimed a small victory. “We can mark that one off,” she said. “I’ve just taken our youngest to the pediatrician’s office for the last time.”

“Congratulations,” I purred. “No more waiting in pediatricians’ offices for us.” (Warning: Saying “no more” with such finality is essentially the same as “never again.”)

Years later at a Dallas speaking engagement, my turn at the lectern was delayed by a talented male quartet’s 45 minutes of song. They were ALL pediatricians. This time, I waited not for one doctor, but four….

    *****

We both whooped it up when the same daughter progressed from nighttime diapers to “big girl undies.”

“We’ve been buying diapers of some kind for 99 consecutive months,” I announced, somewhat proud of my double-digit addition. We had cloth diapers in the early going—as did the diaper delivery and pick-up service—for the first of three daughters, anyway.

We “reminisced on,” naming the various brands of disposable diapers. “I couldn’t trust you to buy diapers,” Brenda said. “You rarely got the right brands, right type or right size.” I winced, nodding like a bobblehead doll….

    *****

“One thing for sure,” I laughed, shifting to subject-changing gear. “Never again will diapers dominate our conversations.”

Then—in the serious and understandable name of security—the National Football League comes up with new rules about what fans may bring into football stadiums. At first, I nodded approvingly. Then I noticed diaper bags no longer are permitted.

This edict can’t hold water. Young parents are going to throw fits—progressing from hissy, to conniption, to wall-eyed—and well they should. (Really now, if you were a walleye, wouldn’t you have a fit if you were hooked on the business end of a fishing line?)…

    *****

We who harbor suspicions immediately wonder if this is another money-grubbing scheme.

Fans will quickly notice if they set up diaper stands, perhaps just inside entrance gates. Hawkers may yell, “Get your diapers here, $10 each.”

And if parents want to trade one in, the answer is likely to be, “With trade-in, they’re $15 each.”…

    *****

I know. Fans can take in small transparent bags and “mini purses,” the latter no bigger than hand size. It’s a stretch to think they’ll accommodate diapers, burp cloths, pacifiers, bibs, bottles and more.

All fans have vested interest. What if games go into overtime, or hours are bloated by those wretched “further reviews”?

The announced policy, carried out, makes us cross fingers that the roof will remain open….

    *****

Oh, the folks inspecting carry-ins are just doing their jobs.

In the case of the Dallas Cowboys, some 40 additional personnel are serving in the parking lots, advising what can be taken inside.

I’d sooner work on a sardine-packing assembly line, even if my job was closing their little eyes before the cans were sealed….

    *****

If the diaper bag rule is amended, there’ll be thunderous cheers. And creative moms—some who’ve already contrived massive hats made of diapers and held meetings on smuggling techniques—can channel their energies elsewhere.

I imagine the other edicts will stand up. Fans will grouse for a while before resuming our culture’s sheep-like tendencies, but they’ll eventually accept the tightened rules as standard operating procedure.

At home, TV viewers will add still another item to their lengthening “why-bother-going-to-the-stadium” lists. “Hey,” couch vegetables (potatoes and others) will say, “My big screen won’t match the one at Jerry World, but it’s about as big as our den wall can accommodate.”…

    *****

This ain’t your father’s Oldsmobile or old NFL. Back when, game tickets were cheaper than a hot dog is today. Fans often were seated three seats apart so there could be “spreading room” only. I imagine anything one could carry or drag into stadiums—short of artillery or dynamite—was A-OK.

Oh, many fans will continue to flock to games in this Barnum and Bailey world, hang the cost.

Others will be more discerning, though, opting to watch games on TV at home.

I feel sorry for AT&T, already laying out big bucks to name the stadium. I doubt that AT&T was consulted about the diaper bag rule. Besides, they’re busy trying to convince fans that it’s AT&T Stadium, not Jerry World….

*****

Don Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Speaking inquiries/comments to: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury

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