Monday, November 6, 2006
Updated: November 8, 3:05 PM ET
We didn't make up this story
By Wright Thompson
Please stop reading if you're (a) mature (b) my wife or (c) work in ESPN human resources.
It's not every day we get to celebrate the 6th birthday for Page 2, and it's not every day we get to celebrate the first anniversary of the greatest moment in the history of mankind. We'll never do both in the same day again, so
Let us all pause for a moment of silence.
It was a year ago that two lovely Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, according to a police report that reads like something out of Penthouse Forum, got, er, down in the bathroom of a Tampa, Fla., bar called Banana Joe's. Page 2 was, as I'm sure you realize, born for stuff like this.
On the night of the actual anniversary, the bar will let anyone wearing a cheerleader outfit in for free. They've even, umm, erected a monument to the alleged liaison. Outside the offending bathroom door, they've got painted in Carolina colors: "If there's grass in the stall, play ball."
"You know, when it first happened, there were people who wanted to take pictures of the bathroom," bar manager Harold Eddy said. "We had people from all over the world calling and asking to get shirts shipped to them. It's amazing that people still remember a year later. Half the people can't tell you who won the Super Bowl last year, but they can tell you about that."
Amazing people remember? No, man, it's just amazing we haven't put Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley on Mount Rushmore, provided, of course, that Mount Rushmore has a main stage.
OK, I know you're asking: The greatest moment in the history of mankind? Well, bear with me. Sure, we've invented the wheel, discovered fire, figured out that oysters were edible and Play-Doh wasn't, and we even figured out that Maker's Mark combined with Coke turns into a heavenly elixir. But this? Two cheerleaders allegedly making out in a nightclub bathroom and then punching a fellow patron post-coitus? It has it all. Let's recap:
Ever since high school, when all adolescent males silently prayed for Mary Ashley to forget her bloomers on pep rally day, dudes have been obsessed with cheerleaders. It's like our own personal Goldbach conjecture, sent down from the gods to torment us: By the time we actually figure out how to get women, they no longer wear cheerleader uniforms!
Yeah, we know. We shouldn't glorify drinking. My mother said nothing good happens after midnight. I'd like to offer an amendment. Nothing good happens before 3 a.m. and a fifth of Old Charter.
Which is funnier? The scene from "Dumb and Dumber" or the scene from "Van Wilder"? The mature folks are trying to figure out what I'm talking about. The rest of us know that I'm referring to great moments in the history of cinema. I think "Van Wilder" was funnier. Thoughts?
It is not latent homosexuality; we just enjoy some old-fashioned fisticuffs. Nothing wrong with that. The best male bonding experience is drinking beers and watching boxing. And if it's a catfight? Double your pleasure.
Someday soon, they will have football on every night. That is the day that I turn into pure energy and, also, get divorced. I'm OK with that trade.
6. Girls making out with girls.
Ladies, this is your man's fantasy. Ask him right now. It's cool. Do it; we'll wait for his answer.
There you have it. Six of the eight pillars of mandom in one moment. If we could figure out how to incorporate gambling and Golden Tee into this deal, I'm fairly certain the End Times would begin. That's why today is a day of national celebration. Heck, let's celebrate the entire week. National Cheerleaders/Drinking/Bathroom/Fight/Football/Girls Making out with Girls Week.
Sadly, not everyone is as excited as we are. The woman who was assaulted proved hard to reach. She told reporters afterward that she was humiliated. She does, however, still frequent Banana Joe's -- a place that could never, ever buy the kind of publicity it got from this.
"She comes in the club all the time," said Bridgette Collier, national manager for the bar's owner. "She's a regular customer. She's pretty much got a free tab for anything she wants."
The cheerleaders, who denied any adult shenanigans took place, have gone underground. They both took a plea and did community servicing. Oops. Service. Did community service.
The best no comment, though, came from the Tampa Police Department. I tried to call the two arresting officers, find out if they've become cult heroes to their friends and relatives. They're like the guys who happened to see Bruce Springsteen at some little bar. Right place, right time.
Tampa PD media relations specialist Andrea Davis wasn't having any of it. No way she was letting these two men talk about cheerleaders getting it on in the stall. Talk about a conflict of interest. They might be cops now, but they were men first. So while the police trust these officers with guns, they don't trust them not to turn immediately sophomoric when asked about those classy Carolina TopCats.
"What do you think two guys are gonna say about this?" Davis said. "It doesn't make the police department look too good."
Wright Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sound off to Page 2 here.