02.02.20 — The DW Sunday Column: From 200,000 to 2 — the difference 17 hours makes in Metro Phoenix

It is two o’clock, Friday afternoon, in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the Waste Management Open. Crowds around me were about five deep. It was impossible for everyone to be totally quiet when the golfer was ready to putt. There were just too many people. Not sure the tournament cares; they have a DJ playing on the 16th hole for gosh sakes.

At the faraway remote concession stand line was a ten-minute wait, minimum. By the time I reached the counter, I saw why the previous five people were served so fast. There was nothing left. No hot dogs, sandwiches, anything that was food. But, the beer was still flowing. Since I really needed lunch, I went to the “long” line that I avoided ten minutes prior.

This food area was crowded. And loud. It had beer. Free beer. Not kidding. Many of the vendors were giving out free sample sizes with hope a regular purchase would be made. Their plan worked as many would get the free beer and purchase one at the same time.

While waiting in line, one young lady remarked that they might as well get the beer, and then go back in line, because by the time they are done with the beer, they might be at the head of the line again.

My plan was a little more basic. Wait about 25 minutes just to get a hot dog. Maybe chips. A soda. I looked around, and there was no kids’ menu line. This was an adult only vending area, and I was the one of few interested in a G rated version of food and conversation.

We wait for a table. Odds are low, but you never know. On the way to the table we pass the two young ladies in line again, beer in hand, sipping. These were the two with the idea of drinking while in line for another. Life was going according to plan for them.

We see some people leaving. Finally, our sit down plan worked. We find a seat. We watch the lines get longer. The conversation gets louder and the f-words flow freely.

By the early evening, a rough survey would put the just drunk ratio to can’t walk straight and slurring my speech drunk ratio at about 5 to 1. At least now, I am not sure if they are still throwing out the f-bombs, because I can’t understand what they are saying.

About a year ago, the Waste Management Phoenix Open stopped giving out daily attendance numbers. Not sure why. When they did, there were two times I was in a crowd of 200,000 or more, all on an 18 hole golf course, eating, drinking and standing in line and talking when a professional golfer was trying to putt.

The local news guessed the 2020 Friday attendance on this day as close to 200,000. Who knows, it is not like 190,000 would seem like a small gathering. I just know all the lines were really long.

All good things need to come to an end. Time to go home.

It’s Saturday; we wake up early and walk to the trail. One mile later we are at the top of the mountain by my house. It is dark. We need a flashlight to see. The beautiful city lights are glowing. We see two hikers in the distance with a headlamp. We sit on a rock and drink coffee. We didn’t have to wait in line to sit down.

Darkness turns to a red glow. The sounds of the morning include birds chirping and a coyote howling. The glow of the sun increases. The coffee is all gone. It’s seven o’clock, Saturday morning.

We run into the headlamp hikers as we start our way down the mountain. We say hello.

I don’t hear any f-bombs. No slurring of words. No lines.

What a difference 17 hours makes.

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DP Watz

DP Watz

A very part time storyteller looking for interesting and positive stories to tell.