Behind Enemy Lines

Welcome to our regular Saturday feature “What Aggravates Me”

By Comedian John Knight

As you probably already know, John Chamberlin and myself went down to Nashville to do the podcast from the Pittsburgh bar there while the Penguins were in town. The following are the events of our trip to the best of my recollection.

We weren’t even to Wheeling when we had our first argument. I had been silent about his choice of music up to that point, but when the CD started to play for the second time, I had to say something.

“We already heard this.”

“I know, but we’re heading into the music capital and I think we should listen to Pittsburgh music all the way there. This guy is originally from Canonsburg.”

“I don’t care where he’s from. No way in hell am I listening to Perry Como all the way to Nashville. I’ll jump out of the car at high speed before we reach Cincinnati.”

He grimaced and reluctantly ejected the CD. We drove in silence for a few hours, except for the announcements from Google maps.

We started speaking again around the time we reached Kentucky. As we approached an exit, there was a sign promoting “Abraham Lincoln’s famous birthplace.” I said,

“Lincoln wasn’t born in Kentucky, was he?”

“I always thought he was born in Illinois.”

‘So did I, that’s why it’s called the land of Lincoln.”

I just figured you go to the place, pay the money and they’d say,

“Oh, not that Abraham Lincoln.”

As it turns out, we were both wrong. Lincoln was born in Kentucky. I blame our Sto-Rox education.

We arrived in Nashville and set up for the podcast. We had a lot of problems with that because neither of us knows that much about setting up sound and recording equipment. Again, I blame our Sto-Rox education.

The podcast went smoothly and it was easier taking down the equipment than setting up. I’ve always been better at pulling things apart than putting them together.

That was Sunday night. Monday was game day and we went to check out the city. I must admit that it’s a great city and they know how to throw a party. They had a big stage with country bands playing all day before the game. Down from that was their version of the big screen, where they draw twenty thousand a game.

This is a big deal for them. Of course they’ve only had professional sports since 1998. Their only other chance at a championship was when the Titans went to the Super Bowl after the 1999 season. It’s not like here where if the Steelers aren’t in the Super Bowl or the Penguins in the Stanley Cup finals, it’s considered a bad year.

Professional sports here go back as far as the Pirates playing in the very first World Series. They won’t play in the next one, or the one after that, but they were in the first one.

As we were listening to the music and soaking in the atmosphere, we ran into a real Pittsburgh celebrity. You know, unlike us. Although one guy did say to Chamberlin,

“Hey, ya Jagoff!”

He walked around with a big head for a while after that. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was because he walked into the guy while he was texting.

Anyway, we saw former Penguin and current announcer Jay Caufield standing there. He couldn’t have been nicer to us, which was good. He’s a big guy with enormous hands. I wouldn’t want to get punched by one of those. In fact, if Chamberlin and I were to put our heads together, he could punch us both in the face and have enough hand left over to point out directions.

That night we went back to the bar to give away prizes and do promotion for our sponsor, “Total Sports Enterprises.” Do you see how I got the plug in there?

Katherine Amenta and Channel 11 were at the bar as well. They were there on assignment to show the excitement of Pittsburgh fans in Nashville. If you remember game 4, there wasn’t much to be excited about that night. Nothing like game 5.

Now, I’m a sports fan and get a little down when my team loses. Chamberlin is a die-hard Penguins fan. If they lose, it really eats him up. That’s why I began to worry about him as the game went on and the Penguins couldn’t score.

If you know John Chamberlin, you know him to be an easy going guy. That’s why I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen. When Nashville scored the empty net goal and put the game away, he got a look on his face like I had never seen before. He suddenly stood up and ran out of the bar. I tried to keep up, but he was full of adrenaline and running like an antelope.

When I finally caught up to him, he was confronting the twenty thousand fans watching the big screen on Broadway.

“This is not a hockey town! You’re never going to win…you got lucky tonight!”

At least nineteen-thousand of them were ready to beat him to a bloody pulp. I was thinking about taking a couple of shots myself, just so they wouldn’t think I was with him. But, he is an old friend. I had to step in. I put my arm around him and said,

“Please forgive him, he recently went off his meds.”

Thankfully, southern people are friendly. They just threw beer on us as I walked him back to the hotel.

The next day, it was a quiet ride home. Oh, except for the sounds of Perry Como. I have to admit, the man does relax you.

Follow John on Twitter @jknight841

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