Billy and the Haunted House of New York Sports
Issue 4, Volume 111
“Alright young’uns, step right up and enter, if you dare, to the New York Sports Haunted House!” bellowed the scraggly tour guide.
“Mom, I don’t wanna go,” shouted young Billy. “New York Sports are scary bad.”
“Honey, it’s okay,” she replied. “It can’t be that bad. After all, how bad can a sports team be?”
Young Billy gathered his pride and stepped up to join the other three members of the tour group, clutching his mother’s hand tightly. As the group headed into the house, the tour guide explained, “The NYSHHS [New York Sports Haunted House Society] is not liable for any insanity experienced while exploring the New York Sports Haunted House. We have had some...er...incidents.” He had to add that disclaimer due to an incident last season when an entire tour group ended up in a mental facility, which resulted in an ongoing lawsuit that he was not authorized to speak about.
They first came across the Hall of Football. As they entered, the tour guide warned, “Be careful to watch your step, many have lost entire seasons due to the turf in here. It’s the exact turf that was on the field for the 2020 Jets vs. 49ers game—very hard stuff to get a hold of due to the poor quality of it. Whoever is still left when we get to the end of the hallway will then enter into the butt dimension.”
As the group carefully stepped across the turf, one five-year-old decked out in NY Giants apparel shouted, “I’M THE NEXT SAQUON BARKLEY!” and ignoring the tour guide’s warnings, sprinted across the turf through the cones when he suddenly let out an ear piercing scream and crumbled to the ground, clutching his leg.
The tour guide immediately pressed a red button on the wall, calling the ambulance. “Let’s move on,” he said as he briskly exited the room, leaving the poor child writhing in pain on the floor as the wail of the ambulance neared. “The medics will salvage what’s left of him.”
When Billy made it to the door of the butt dimension, he was terrified of what he might find. Once inside, he saw something truly gut wrenching: hundreds of monitors surrounded them on all four sides of the very narrow room, all of which were playing the same five seconds of that fateful Jets vs. Patriots game on Thanksgiving night in 2012. The camera kept panning to Mark Sanchez’s face as he collided with the behind of his O-Lineman and the voice of Troy Aikman repeating “the backside of Brandon Moore” set to scary music. Billy and his mom grew paralyzed with fear at the entrance, though the tour guide startled them out of their trance by saying, “We all remember where we were that night, watching Mark Sanchez pull one of the most humiliating plays in the history of sports. If you’re wondering what those things flying across the room are, you would be correct in thinking that they are butts. In fact, [Moore] was kind enough to let us take a cast of his butt, so you could have as accurate a butt fumble experience as possible. Get out of this room quickly, or you may be stuck in the fumble dimension for all eternity.”
One group member, a middle aged man donning a Sam Darnold jersey, broke out into a fit. His breathing quickened, and he began to growl as he shouted, “Why did you have to remind me? I’ve spent the last eight years erasing the memories of that night and now...now.” He trailed off, proceeding to turn back and run through the Hall of Football to the entrance of the Haunted House. Apparently forgetting the Metlife Turf implanted in the Hall of Football, Billy heard the loud blood curdling scream of the man and a thud, followed by the whimpering of the five-year-old. Not daring to look back, Billy sprinted through the flying butts and stopped at the doorway of the next room. Out of the five people who started on the tour, two were gone. Billy, his mom, and the grandmother of the five-year-old were the only ones remaining.
“And then there were three,” the tour guide ominously whispered, sending a chill down Billy’s spine. “And now, we have reached the second-to-last stop of the Haunted House. Only the strongest will live to see the light at the end. Three people in the history of the house have made it all the way through, and one of them is me.” The tour guide had a misty faraway look and shuddered.
“We have reached the Knicks Korridor,” he announced. Ghosts that looked like stars Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Zion Williamson, Kristaps Porzingis, and LeBron James roamed the room. “The ones that got away,” the tour guide explained. “This room is rumored to be haunted with the ghosts of players the Knicks could have had. Every October, these ghosts return and possess innocent visitors.” Billy noticed a large hulk-like man, consisting of several actors stacked up with the head of James Dolan stomping around the premises. “And why have one horror in a room dedicated to the most beleaguered organization in the league when you can have many?” the tour guide continued. “This room also has past coaches in the walls. Isaiah Thomas and Derek Fisher, among other terrible coaches, snap at the ankles of passersby.”
The three remaining guests slowly weaved through the ghosts, avoided eye contact with monster James Dolan, and everything seemed to be going well until, about halfway through the hall, the grandmother erupted in a deep voice, “I, with Kyrie, will bring the city of Brooklyn a championship!”
“Oh no, I had hoped this wouldn’t happen,” the tour guide muttered under his breath. “Not after last year. The ghost of KD seems to have possessed her.” Then, louder, to Billy and his mom, the tour guide reassured them, “We’ll have to leave her here. She’ll emerge sooner or later.” In reality, the tour guide knew that the poor old woman was stuck there until KD fulfilled his promise and brought the Nets a NBA Championship.
Billy, still gripping his mother’s hand, tiptoed through the rest of the room and made it to the doorway of the last room. The tour guide announced, “You two have made it to the final stop of the tour, but don’t get too excited yet. Legend has it that this last room is the most difficult to advance past due to the supernatural forces at work. The Curse of Bambino was broken back in ‘04, and now this room is a swirl of broken magic. Welcome to the Baseball Diamond of Despair.”
“Here you will experience some of the worst plays in New York baseball history for as long as you can endure,” the tour guide explained. Billy and his mom entered to find a bizarre full-sized baseball diamond. As they brushed off their initial disbelief, the tour guide launched into a monologue: “Before there was any mention of the Warriors or Clippers blowing a 3-1 lead, there was this. In the 2004 ALCS, two of the biggest rivals in the history of sports, the Yankees and the Red Sox, were facing each other. The Yankees were up 3-0 and had all the momentum until this play.” Billy and his mom then turned to watch on the Jumbotron as the Yankees, up 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth of game four, pitched to Bill Mueller as Dave Roberts took off for second. The throw from Jorge Posada came in just a tad late, giving all the momentum to the Red Sox and allowing Roberts to score off a single. The Red Sox went on to win Game 4 and propeled themselves to a victory in seven games and their first World Series win since 1918, breaking the Curse of Bambino.”
Billy’s mom, transfixed on the play, dropped his hand. The tour guide looked over and cursed under his breath. “And I forgot to mention, because of the forces in this room, if you look at the screen for too long, you’ll remain stuck there until the Yankees beat the Red Sox in a ALCS Series in the future.”
Billy let out a cry and started shaking his entranced mother, “Mom, don’t leave me here!” The tour guide attempted to calm him down. “I hate to say it son, but we need to keep moving and get out of here before we get stuck ourselves. You need to gather your wits; follow me.”
The tour guide scampered toward second base, making sure not to look at the Jumbotron. Billy was left with no choice but to follow.
And then the unthinkable happened. They made it out.
Billy dove out of the exit door onto the pavement as the tour guide rang a bell and announced, “Billy, you have done what thousands have failed to do: you conquered the horrors of the New York Sports Haunted House.”
Young Billy leapt for joy, forgetting about the fates of the three other group members and his mother. He rushed over to the gift shop and purchased a souvenir T-shirt reading “I conquered the horrors of New York Sports, and all I got was this lame T-shirt.” Walking around with a renewed swagger, Billy emphatically announced, “I’m moving to L.A.!”
Meanwhile, the tour guide was met by two police officers, who arrested him for “abduction” and “an unsafe amusement experience.” Billy gleefully waved him off and returned to the Haunted House years later to recover his mom once the Yankees beat the Red Sox in the 2024 ALCS. No one knows what ever happened to the three other members of the group. And thus is the saga of the Haunted House of New York Sports.