James Donaldson was like any other resident of Topeka, Kansas.
“He was a good husband, a good friend and an even better host,” local neighbor John Barkowski said.
At 54 years old Donaldson was a happy man who could light up a room with his winning smile, but with the recent ongoing saga dealing with the ever-boring NFL labor talks, for all intensive purposes, multiple reports say Donaldson simply went insane.
Donaldson has been a season ticket holder of the Kansas City Chiefs for 22 years, but as far as the game of football he has been a fan for life.
“James was a true fan of the Chiefs, but more so he was a fan of football,” his wife Amy Donaldson explained. “Honestly, he loved seeing a grown man get hit so hard that he would suffer for the rest of his life. That is James for you.”
When news of a possible NFL lockout came up Donaldson remained optimistic things could be resolved.
“He knew it was coming, but knowing James he really thought things would get resolved, that the season would come just like any other season. I just don’t think he ever thought the constant boring coverage of an NFL lockout would cause him to lose his mind,” Barkowski explained.
Once Super Bowl XLV concluded every sports station spent countless hours evaluating the possible NFL lockout from what needed to happen to prevent it, what the garbage owners wanted, what the players wanted and what in the living hell a “collective bargaining agreement” actually was. Through it all, Amy says, Donaldson watched every minute of it.
“I think he was just trying to be a good fan,” Amy Donaldson said. “I think he just wanted to show everyone that he could and would understand what exactly was going on. Poor guy just never realized that if you try to acquire too much worthless information in a small amount of time you lose your mind. You go insane.”
Today is March 9, 2011. The sun comes up in the morning and dries the dew on the grass. Laying in a lawn chair in the grazing meadows at the Topeka Institute for the Insane is a man wearing jorts, no shirt, a red bandana and eating a bag of Cheetos. Foam slowly drips from his lips as he yells at the sky some incoherent babble.
This is James Donaldson. I try talking to James. I ask him a question about the NFL. He turns towards me, but is unable to make eye contact. His eyes wander. The only thing he mutters, or I can make out is something about “decertification.”
“What is decertification Roger,” Donaldson yelled. “What is it Roger?!”
This is who James Donaldson has become: lost, incoherent and of course insane. This was a man who only liked football, a man like any other man who just wanted to know what was going on with the possible NFL lockout. Unfortunately for a guy like Donaldson that task turned out to be too burdensome.
Some day when the Chiefs do play again their fans will rejoice from Arrowhead Stadium, but in one section of the stadium there will be an empty seat.
The seat of James Donaldson: a normal guy who went mad because of the constant news coverage of the dull, dreary and tiresome details surrounding the possible NFL lockout.
Only time will tell if James Donaldson is the only victim.