Kalani Simpson Sidelines

Kalani Simpson

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Screwy scene awaits
UH at Red Mile

I tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen. No, ho, ho! ... There's no laws in this place. Anything goes! It's Thunderdome!

-- George Costanza

IT'S Fresno State week, and you know what that means.

It's Tool Time.

Let's start the insanity.

Here comes another trip into that raucous outpost known as Bulldog Stadium. Another long walk down the road Fresno State fans call the Red Mile.

It was a rough place -- the seediest dive on the wharf. Populated with every reject and cutthroat from Bombay to Calcutta.

It's worse than Detroit.

As Tim Chang said after the 2002 game at Fresno, "Everything wasn't all that friendly."

As Dr. Frasier Crane said, after surviving a similar circumstance, "I've just spent the last six hours in a holding cell with the cast of 'The Road Warrior.' "

It's a wild, wild scene, man.

Yesterday June Jones was effusive in his praise of Fresno State's "college atmosphere."

College atmosphere? What college is he talking about? The University of Attica?

College atmosphere?

How about post-apocalyptic Mel Gibson movie atmosphere?

Hold on. Wait a minute. Kalani, you are making a lot of outrageous, outlandish, inflammatory and most likely untrue generalizations. Have you ever even been to a game at Bulldog Stadium?

What? Are you kidding? Of course not. My life insurance policy only goes as far as sky diving, running with the bulls and June Jones press conferences.

Why, it was only a couple of years ago that Fresno State athletic director Scott Johnson was quoted in The Fresno Bee as being tired of answering for "every little incident" related to FSU's game-day atmosphere.

And now Fresno State coach Pat Hill is joking that Friday's game will be "Home Depot Night."

I think he's joking.

I'm afraid either way.

He's referring, of course, to the craziest thing to come out of that crazy college atmosphere, what I have come to call "the Screwdriver Incident."

You remember. Two years ago, in the frenzy that followed Hawaii's win, Jones claimed that a piece of flying hardware had come out of the stands and flip-flip-flipped just past his head and stuck in the ground (sproing!) in front of him. It was quite a scandal. FSU events, facilities and security officials vehemently denied that anything of the sort had happened, but Jones stuck to the story and Johnson later issued an institutional apology.

The news went nationwide.


In preparation for this column, I went on the Internet and did a Google search on "Fresno" "Screwdriver Incident," and came upon a page that I'm sure all of you would be very interested in, a page that seemed to tell the true, inside story. A page that might answer once and for all whether there was a single "magic" screwdriver or, as some contend, a second screwdriver. So I clicked on it:

The post you selected no longer exists. It may have been recently deleted.

Hmmm. "Recently deleted," huh?

"No longer exists," eh?

I know a conspiracy when I see one.

What we do know is this: In Saturday's Fresno Bee there was the week's police report that included this item from last Thursday night:

"At 11:18 p.m., Fresno police went to Tequila Rose nightclub in the 4000 block of East Belmont Avenue, where the male victim said he had been assaulted with a screwdriver outside the club."

Of course, there are some who say that Fresno State's Red Mile reputation is way overblown, that even the legendary Screwdriver Incident was the result of an overactive imagination at the end of a crazy, emotional game.

"It's become a bit of a comedy routine," Hill said at this year's preseason Western Athletic Conference media days. "I'm still not sure there ever was (a screwdriver)."


Never mind.

See the Columnists section for some past articles.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at ksimpson@starbulletin.com



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