Height doesn’t take a Vacation

This past weekend there was a big football game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. I would’ve loved to have been back at Kinnick Stadium to tailgate with my fellow Hawkeyes but instead I found a place here in Portland, OR where they play all of the Hawkeye games.

What I find wonderful about this little place is that every person there exuded the spirit of true Iowa people: passionate about football, polite, friendly, and genuine. I felt like I was in my hometown except for one thing, they were all short. There was one guy there who was just over the 6’0” mark but everyone else was short! What the heck?

See the height difference?

I went up to the bar and ordered a beer apologizing to the couple behind me for blocking their view of the game (why is it that us ‘tall folk’ feel the need to apologize for something we can’t control?) and the woman said to me, “You’re definitely from Iowa, you’re tall.” I said, “Yes I am. Thank you.” And then I headed back to my place to watch the game. I heard a couple of whispers, “I wonder if she played at Iowa?” “Man she’s tall!” “Look at that hottie!” Okay, I made that last one up but the whispers were still there which of course I love. I tried to catch people’s eyes so that I could make conversation but eyes were mostly on the game.

Look for me in the far right!!

Being a Hawkeye is a tradition in our family because my cousin is an Athletic Director at Iowa so we are big Hawk fans and because this is an inter-state rivalry, this was a big game. I had to watch this game. The game started and the Hawks were kicking some butt. There were high fives all around and I had to laugh. This cute little blond girl made a big scene of getting up on a bar stool to give me a high-five. To which I stood on my tip-toes and really made her work for it. I love doing that.  The game ended and of course the Hawks won!!

Next we headed to my Tall Club’s rummage sale. We are raising money for our TALL Scholarship and the rummage sale is one of our ways to raise a little money and help us to clean out our closets. Remember how I take pictures with short people? Here’s one I think you may enjoy. This was taken at the rummage sale (or garage sale for those not from the Midwest).

Awesome short guy!

Now normally I wouldn’t share my entire day of events with you but here’s where I think every TALL person can relate: height doesn’t take a day off. Everywhere I go my height goes with me and although I usually don’t even think about it, others can’t help but see it. At the bar watching the game I didn’t think twice about my height until I went to the bar and ordered a drink. Then I felt like I had to apologize for blocking someone behind me. I’m polite by nature so it’s not completely out of character for me but it never occurred to me that a short person wouldn’t apologize, why did I feel compelled to say something?

Then of course when I was at the rummage sale and the wonderful picture opportunity came up, I started thinking again about how my height is always present. Thankfully I grew up in a family that nurtured tallness instead of cursing it, but it makes me wonder how I would cope if it were the other way around. What if I didn’t want to be tall? How do you get away from something that is always present?

I always remind myself of how lucky I am and height is one thing that I’m very grateful to have. I wish that more people could experience this and it’s too bad I’m in the 95th percentile (or something like that). Or maybe that’s a good thing…too many people like me around might make me less special. Either way if you are reading this, hopefully you can relate. I guess the moral of the story is, height doesn’t a vacation, so you should always be prepared to take pictures with short people.

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It’s not just tall people that block views

A few months ago I was lucky enough to go see a show at Teatro Zizanni, which is similar to Cirque du Soleil except you get to have dinner while the action happens just a few feet away from you (I highly recommend it). Not long after I sat down, a woman sitting at the table not far behind me asked me if I could slouch down so she could see the stage. Now, I’ve gotten used to these kinds of requests over the years as I know my long frame can cause problems for those that sit behind me. I politely agreed and spent the evening in a weird sort of position that was truly not ideal for my future posture.

So when this past Sunday, at the Saints game in the Superdome, you can imagine how pissed I was when my view was blocked. Months ago my little brother bought us tickets to this game for our family trip to New Orleans, where I was born and a lot of my family lives, long before the Saints went on their 13-0 tear. Back then the seats weren’t worth much, but now, they are worth a lot and you can see why from the view:


We had amazing seats, 2nd row back from the field. Can’t get much better than this…. except it can get worse.

Every 2 minutes this jackass was jumping up to clap. He was like a frigin‘ jack-in-the-box, blocking my view with no concern for the people behind him. In fact, his entire row was doing this constantly through out the game. It got to a point where my Dad, who is so close to 70 he can reach out and touch it, had to ask the guy in front of him to stop because he couldn’t keep up with jumping up every time they did. I took to sitting on top of my seat while it was folded up, which did improve my view a fair amount but did no favors to the people sitting behind me.

I was actually fairly ticked off till my little brother pointed out something to me; people sitting at the end zones weren’t standing up the whole game but the people across the field from us behind the Saints were. Why is this? For a couple reasons.

1. Their seats overall are just flat out higher than our seats. So any obstacle in front of the first row does not force it to get up every minute to see whats going on.

2. There’s no football team standing in front of them to block their view. Our seats were literally just a few feat about the ground, so when the football team is standing and the first row is seated you might as well put up a brick wall between them and the field. Here, take a look at a photo I snapped while the guy sitting in front of me was off buying beer.

That’s a pretty horrible view for that guy if he’s seated.

This led me to switch my anger from him to the designers of the Superdome, Curtis and Davis, that my trusty “series of tubes” tells me designed the arena in 1967. The only logic I can find for their design is the following:

  1. They assumed that teams would be seated the entire time, thereby not blocking the view of the first few rows.
  2. They’re idiots.

I’m going with option two. So sorry dude that was sitting in front of me at the game. My misdirected anger really belonged somewhere else.

But still, shorter people, sometimes, you’re blocking peoples view. Or sometimes your designing a thing that will be built that will block peoples view. Either way, sight lines are important and please keep the people behind you in mind.

PS: As we were leaving, a guy turned to me and asked me “how’s the air up there?” and if I ever played basketball. I said thin and “No, but the rest of my family did. Look back, you should be able to pick them out of the crowd.”