Imagine you are a high school athlete, or the parent or sibling of one, and your team has just won the big game. Let’s say it is basketball and everyone rushes to center court to hop around and celebrate. Then, all of the sudden during the celebration, a stranger joins in with your team.
I know what you are thinking and yes, I know, there are a lot of strangers that might rush the court. But how many of these strangers are 5′-8″ 240 pound 28 year old males? And how many of these strangers are not just joining in on the celebration, but actually jumping on players backs for piggyback rides?
No, I’m not making this up…I couldn’t make this up.
Sherwin Shayegan has been dubbed the “Piggyback Bandit” for his actions over the last four years. He would disguise himself to look like he was part of the opposite team, sometimes filling water cups or laying out towels. To the away team, he looked like he was with the home team and to the home team he looked like he was with the away team. A couple weeks ago, he suited up for a game at Century High School in North Dakota.
“He helped lay out uniforms, got water. He even gave a couple of kids shoulder massages. Creepy stuff like that. He makes himself appear as if he’s limited or handicapped. I think he plays an empathy card, so to speak. We didn’t realize what we were dealing with until several days later,” said Jim Haussler, activities director for the Bismarck Public School District.
Sherwin started his piggybacking in 2008 in Washington and Oregon, but as he has gotten older he has began to take his talents east. Reports of his shenanigans have come in from Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.
He would do anything to get into the celebration. From blending into the crowd to acting as a team manager and sometimes interviewing the athletes for a “term paper” just for the chance to get on someones back. If there isn’t a scientific term or medical term for what he has, then someone needs to get on it…NOW.
And if only basketball players were the ones who had to look over their shoulders.
That’s right, he has also been known to go after soccer players, football players and, believe it or not, hockey players. Now I don’t know about you but if I see a 28 year old, over weight creep on the ice without skates or a uniform, the gloves are coming off.
Sherwin being banned from high school sporting events in Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota are just the beginning of his problems. He has 9 outstanding warrants in Washington and violated the terms of his probation in Montana where he was told to stay away from Montana High School events. By violating his probation, the judge could remand him to jail to serve the 360-day sentence that was suspended assuming he was going to return to Washington.
Someone that actually knows Sherwin pointed out that although he is socially awkward (understatement of the year), he is actually smart.
“He’s certainly socially awkward in any social setting. But he’s also not afraid to approach people. It doesn’t take very long to find out he’s a little bit different,” Mike Colbrese, the executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and familiar with Sherwin said, “What people don’t realize is that he’s very smart. He knows how to play the system. He just knows what to say and how to say it.”
Smart? No. Socially awkward? Most definitely. Needs a padded room? Absolutely. The bottom line is that there is a grown man jumping on teenagers and thankfully these states have not taken lightly to it. Besides injury to a player, emotional scarring is definitely a possibility as well. Plain and simple, more needs to be done. Every high school in America should have his picture outside their auditorium, gymnasium or locker room.
Until the word is spread far and wide…watch your back.