March Madness is a difficult time for Josh Stevens
BALTIMORE, MD—For many sports fans, the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is a celebration of the purity of sports, a time when fans come together in hopes of witnessing the ultimate in athletic excellence. But for Josh Stevens, March Madness always takes him back to the ugliest, most vile period in his life.
“The 2002 Final Four was huge for us,” Stevens recalls, “Maryland was playing Kansas for a shot at the title. A big group of us met at Hooter’s to watch the game. The place was insane.”
Stevens had skipped lunch that day so he could leave work early. He was the first of his friends to arrive at the popular restaurant, which features attractive waitresses dressed in skimpy attire.
“I scored a large table close to the big-screen,” Stevens says, “I was pretty famished, so I ordered the large nachos supreme and a dozen wings. Spicy.”
As he waited on his companions, Dickie Jurgens, Matt Harman and Tommy Parker, Stevens ate the entire plate of wings and most of the nachos, plus two pitchers of beer. The anticipation of the game was killing him. He had managed to strike up a friendly conversation with his waitress, Sierra, and even worked up the nerve to ask for her number. Amazingly, Sierra seemed interested and wrote it down on a napkin, which Stevens quickly stored in his wallet.
“Josh was pretty worked up by the time we got there,” says Parker, “The place was packed with people but he kept pointing out how Sierra was only paying attention to him.”
According to Parker, Stevens managed to play it cool with the attractive waitress, engaging her in witty banter while keeping a close eye on the game. Maryland held a comfortable lead at the half, but late in the second half a Kansas rally had closed the gap to four points.
“I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable,” Stevens says, “I knew I would be needing to hit the john pretty quick. But the game was getting pretty tight.”
The entire bar watched in breathless anticipation as the clock wound down to zero. The Maryland Terrapins had won, and were on their way to the national championship game.
“The whole place erupted,” Jurgens recalls, “And almost on cue, so did Josh.”
Stevens leapt for joy, but when he landed, his bowels evacuated so violently that the sound drowned out the cheers. His friends could do nothing but stand back in shocked silence.
“It was awful,” Harman says, “The back of his pants and both legs were covered in, can I say shit? Yeah, they were covered in shit. Some of it was even red. I think he got the three-mile island wings. He was in both physical and mental pain.”
His friends quickly ushered Stevens to the bathroom to clean him up, but the damage was done.
“It was strange,” Parker says, “This was both the most painful and absolutely hilarious thing I have ever witnessed. I didn’t really know how to respond. We just took off without paying. The whole crowd was yelling ‘there goes the shitter!’ when we left. I’ll admit, I still yell that every time I see him.”
Stevens hasn’t watched another NCAA Final Four since that fateful night, 11 years ago. He also never called Sierra, her number lost along with all the other contents of his wallet in an endless torrent of feces. His friends also haven’t been able to forget that awful moment, sometimes texting him late at night while they’re hanging out without him to remind him of it.
“This is a pretty sad time of year for me,” Stevens says, “It’s weird, one minute you’re on top of the world and the next you’re standing in front of a crowded restaurant with half-naked waitresses in shit-filled Dockers.”
Editor’s note: Following the publication of this story, the Baltimore Hooter’s sued Josh Stevens for his and his companions’ unpaid bill. The tab of $145.67 with interest totaled $1954.32.