I get mad when people say, “Why would I pay $53 to go to a sports game when I can simply watch it for free from my TV?”
Watching athletic events in person is, first and foremost, the way sports were intended to be experienced. If Wikipedia is correct, the very first known sports were sprinting and wrestling.
Now do you really think that such events were performed in complete and utter secrecy for the sole enjoyment of the two participants? Certainly not. You see, the purpose of sports was and is to provide entertainment for the masses and serve as a public venue where participants can showcase their talents.
Nowadays, athletic events are available in a risk-free environment known as a plasma screen. Yes, it’s free to watch games on a screen. Yes, on such devices you can rewind and decide for yourself whether a player was out-of-bounds or not. Yes, you do get a clear, close-up view without the risk of bad weather or an uncomfortable seat. But what you may gain in comfort and convenience you lose in authenticity and experience.
You miss out on the simple, original joys of the game and become less of a participant than the cat snoozing next to you on the couch.
To those of you who have never attended an athletic event or even those who consistently choose the TV as opposed to the real deal, here is what you miss out on:
Attending a football game gives you an appreciation of the grandeur of football stadiums and the history that resides within their concrete walls. Listening to the band play fight songs during timeouts and watching an entire stadium do The Wave are the Eighth and Ninth Wonders of the World. The smell of the green grass and the rush of 75,000+ fans erupting after a touchdown provide a glorious sensory overload.
At a baseball game, the anticipation of catching a foul ball or a home run is paramount. The seventh-inning stretch is a time to literally stretch and sing a few songs, including “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.” Sitting behind the catcher gives you a greater appreciation for the speed of the pitches and the vastness of the baseball diamond.
The iconic folding stadium seats give you that patriotic feeling of being a beloved spectator of America’s favorite pastime.
A basketball game offers close-range action that stands unrivaled in the world of sports. The speed of the game is doubled in person and the ability to high-five strangers next to you never gets old. The squeaking of shoes on the court and the rising decibels of the student section gives way to mysterious goosebumps.
Live soccer games redefine fandom and devotion. The elation (or depression) of a goal is infinitely amplified. The classic “Olé” chant that follows is life changing. The non-stop action raises blood pressure and penalty kicks induce a collective breath-hold from the crowd.
Tennis, volleyball, track and field and even Nascar are not exempt from the experience-enhancing qualities that live athletic events offer.
Attendance at these events will not only broaden your horizons but will give you memories that will last a lifetime. Good luck naming a time when plasma screen viewing has done that.
Get off the couch and into a stadium seat. Abandon surround sound for authentic noise. Sacrifice the “sky cam” view for the nosebleeds. Trust me, your experience will be priceless.