My letter to Green Day

Apologies if you’re looking for coverage of the Milwaukee Panthers. I’m taking this space to share the story of the most important person in my life.

In ten years of being a Milwaukee Panthers basketball fan, I’ve been to dozens of road games. I’ve been practically everywhere in the midwest, following a team that highly likely will never win a national championship, or even get to the Final Four. But I don’t follow the team because I am looking for that one shining moment. We may never win a national title, but I love every second I spend following the program. I love my alma mater, I love the school colors, I love that we’re a plucky mid-major and I love spending time with people who are just like me. If the Panthers ever make it to the Final Four, you’ll probably find me on the ground, in a heap, unable to contain my joy. I’d spend every last dollar I have getting to that stadium if I needed to. I’d have to see history.

There’s no true equivalent for most fans of music to those of college basketball. For one, no fan is alumni of a band. People also tend to like the music of all sorts of bands and their fandom gets spread across a bunch of them. For these people, there is no Final Four. My wife Sarah is not one of these people.

Sarah belongs to a group of lovable misfits that call themselves the Idiot Nation. They’re the raucous, ravenous and ridiculous fans of the band Green Day. They follow the band around the world, to Europe and Tokyo and who knows where. They paint themselves up, wear crazy clothes and carry handmade signs to catch the attention of their heroes at the concerts they attend. I say heroes specifically because when my then-girlfriend attended Green Day’s show at Lollapalooza in August 2010, Sarah carried a sign that read “I wanna hug my heros!!!” I’m sure it was out of pity for hilariously misspelling the word on a sign that got in the front row, but for some reason Billie Joe Armstrong got her and some other fans on stage to sing a song. She missed her cousin’s wedding for the concert, and four states away the family that did make the wedding celebrated the fact that she got on stage.

When I met Sarah, there wasn’t much more in her life outside of Green Day and family. Have you ever seen the movie Dodgeball? There’s a scene when Vince Vaughn walks into Christine Taylor’s house and is flabbergasted to see that she has covered every inch of the walls and shelves with unicorns. That was exactly the same for me, except instead of unicorns I had Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool staring at me from every direction possible. I even said “Dear Barbara” when I finally could speak. I didn’t turn and run, I stuck with her, and it’s been the best decision of my life. To this day we have a framed poster up in the living room. Every time I wake up at 3 am to go take a piss, Billie Joe is staring at me. Don’t judge me, poster Billie Joe.

Because Green Day is banned from playing in Milwaukee, Sarah has to go to Chicago whenever they come through. Luckily for her, that’s relatively frequently – at least once every few years. She camps out, is often one of the first in line at the venue, and does everything she can to be as close as possible to the action. When she is, she’ll hang out with her fellow Idiots and show them her tattoos – five: one for her godson, one for a late term miscarriage, and three for Green Day. I can’t even look at her wedding ring without seeing a heart on her middle finger.I guess Billie Joe has the same one. She had it when I met her. It’s pretty punk, which attracted me to her in the first place. That and her art, which she is very good at and is almost always Green Day centered.

So when Green Day was announced as 2015 inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, I knew she had to go. This is my beloved Panthers going to Final Four. She had to go.

Green Day is one of the most popular bands of the last quarter century. They’re going into the Hall with some other crazy popular bands. So tickets are hard to come by. Knowing this, Sarah went and became a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to get access to early ticket sale. So when the day came around, she had gotten off work and I was off already, so both of us used our computers to make sure we got her a couple tickets.

No dice. Within seconds, the show was sold out. Ticketmaster’s website was telling us there are no tickets left. Dejected beyond belief, my wife scrambled to Stubhub to see what prices for tickets were going for. Well beyond our budget. There was no Final Four for my wife, who went back to each website twice a day for a week to see if anything would open up. Nothing ever did.

Resigned to the fact that she wasn’t going to be able to go to the induction ceremony, Sarah decided that she will join the throng of people outside the Hall who are watching the induction ceremony on screens. It was the only chance she’d get to see it without actually getting to be in the building.

And then, out of nowhere, Green Day announced they were playing a show at the House of Blues in Cleveland just a couple days before their induction in the Hall of Fame. Here we go, I said to myself. Here’s another chance.

The Idiot Nation had a pre-sale on Thursday morning for these tickets. Great! Not many people will be in Cleveland that are also members of the Idiot Nation, so she stands a good chance of getting tickets. The Idiot Nation (or perhaps scalpers) must have flooded LiveNation’s website, because there was no chance. An 11 minute wait time on the website ticked down until it said there were no more tickets available. We each clicked on the website at 9:00:01 am (we’re in Milwaukee on Central time), and there was no shot. No shot at all.

It kills me. In college basketball there’s always next year. There is no next year for Sarah. Green Day has one Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, and that was this year.

I’m not a very connected man, which is especially true in the music industry. We’re not well off, and the price of tickets is just too steep on the internet for us to come close to affording it. I have no recourse for making this happen.

Maybe someone out there has a couple tickets available. Maybe someone knows someone who knows someone. I don’t know. I’m at the end of my tether. I want her to have this very badly, but there’s nothing else to do but share our story and see if there are any good hearts out there that want to help a real fan get to the Hall.

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