Wednesday, October 8, 2008

To Attend Or Not To Attend, That Is The Question

Hey folks. Just recovering from appendix and hernia surgery and once again Jim provided today's post. Thanks, Jim.

T-Bone’s post on diagnosing the various types of sports fans seemed to generate quite a bit of chatter and got me to thinking about a few things. Is it worth going to the games to watch my favorite teams play if I have to wade my way through “the Instigator,” “the Coach,” “Captain Negative,” or “the Embarrassment”? With the price of tickets skyrocketing all across the sports gambit, are the crappy seats that I can afford better than the recliner in front of my television?
If the stadium was filled with “Eye Candy” fans, then I’d be all for attending every live sporting event on the planet, regardless of ticket price or seat location, but is that a realistic possibility or just some crazy fantasy my overactive imagination has inserted into my thought process? When my mind wanders sometimes I go to this place, where beautiful women are interested in sports almost as much as they are interested in me. They cheer for my teams. They fill every seat, and scramble to be near me when I appear on the jumbo-tron caught by that ever embarrassing “give her a kiss” moment used during commercial breaks and timeouts. Sometimes when I sleep I dream of this Shangri-La, but for now I fear it only exists in the deepest recesses of my beautiful mind. Where was I? Oh yeah, watch the game vs. go to the game.

Here I present the pros and cons of each choice. Some of my reasoning may seem crazy and irrational to you, but hey, sometimes we all go a little crazy.

Watch the Game At Home Pros:
When I am at home I watch the game on my 50-inch High Definition Plasma TV while sitting in a comfortable recliner and enjoying a delicious snack and beverage. The announcers often give funny and insightful tidbits of information that you would miss if you were not listening to the broadcast (that is, of course, if you’re not one of those tards that wears his headphones to the game so that he can enjoy both the live atmosphere and get the play-by-play). Had I not been home watching a game I would never have heard Calvin Murphy, the color commentator for the Houston Rockets go on and on about Kendrick Perkins’s body, an event that Boyd and I laugh about often. “Just look at his body. He’s just got one hell of a body. He’s got the tall, lean, muscular body that you want in a player at his position. It’s just such a beautiful body.” Mr. Murphy’s words, while a bit disturbing, were also undeniably funny.
Instant replay is better at home and there is never a moment when you are left wondering if the refs got the call right or wrong.

With the beauty of HD programming I am assured the best seat in the house all for the relatively low cost of my NBA, MLB, or NFL season pass package with my cable subscriber. I can watch the Celtics game and on the commercials flip over to see if the Jazz are winning. While my beloved Mets were squandering another late lead in the NL East pennant chase, I was able, for better or for worse, to flip over to the Phillies and Brewers games to see if the Mets had a chance (damn you horrible bullpen, especially you Aaron “GAS-CAN” Heilman, I hope you all get deported).

Watch the Game At Home Cons:
While attending a live sporting event I have never been asked to “turn that stupid game off and pay some attention to me and the kids.” With a 50-inch television you might think that your kids would never be able to block the screen during an important play, but you would be totally wrong. I mentioned the play-by-play often being an enjoyable part of the stay-at-home experience, but when a crying baby is on full blast the television has little capability of drowning out that noise (and trust me, don’t even think of just turning the volume up on your set if you want to stay on your wife’s good side.)

At home you have the kids yelling, screaming, and playing at the tops of their voices. You have the dog barking to go outside, whining at his water and food dish, and licking the sores on his feet until you want to drop a cinderblock on his head (so to speak). At home there is the telephone to answer, the door to attend to, and the dirty looks from your wife to ignore if you want any chance to enjoy watching the games that you love.

In most cases I prefer watching football and basketball in the relative comforts of my own home.

Go to the Game Pros:
If you are in a premium seat (anything within the first fifteen rows), or sitting in a luxury suite eating shrimp cocktail and stuffing yourself with slice after slice of tender beef sirloin all while watching your beloved Celtics demolish the hated Jazz, then my friend there is no comparison between watching from home or going to the game. In situations such as these, the stadium is the only place to be. From these seats you can keep a close eye on the action. You can see the player’s movements, watch the plays unfold before your eyes, and appreciate what Calvin Murphy loves to talk about: Bodies.

The atmosphere at a game cannot be beat, especially (and I hate to admit this) at the Energy Solutions Arena, home of the Utah Jazz. The fans are crazy and often in a hate-filled frenzy. The seats are right on top of the court and no other place in the NBA can intimidate a group of referees faster than can the ESA (look at the Jazz’s home record compared to their road record last year if you don’t believe me). So if you are lucky enough to afford a slice of high society or to know someone willing to reach down and pull you up for a couple of games a year then going to the games is really the best.

Go to the Games Cons:
Unfortunately, when I go to the games on my own dime the experience is far from what I just described above. At the old Salt Palace in SLC where the Jazz used to play in their kick ass musical note uniforms I always had to sit on the top row and I could literally touch the ceiling (which I’m sure was made of asbestos). From those heights you couldn’t tell Karl Malone from Mike “the Big Brown Bear” Brown, or John Stockton from Bobby Hansen. I would rather stay home and play a rousing game of Nintendo’s “Double Dribble” than watch nameless, numberless players run around. At least with Double Dribble you would get the cutaway actions scenes for dunks. At the old Salt Palace you couldn’t actually tell if the players were making or missing their shots. Today’s stadiums are no different. Even with binoculars you are still too far away to tell what is going on. Inevitablely when I go to a game the guy sitting next to me will be wearing a team replica jersey and no deodorant. This is the view I get to look at most of the game. I wish this picture was a scratch and sniff because the smell coming from this often drunk individual is impossible to describe, though I believe it lies somewhere between nervous anger and damnation. The fan obviously cannot smell himself nor can the friend to whom he is giving numberless high-fives or else something would be said. Something like, “for the love of God put your hands in your pockets and keep them there!” If you are this guy, don’t be offended by my words, just put on a tee shirt and some Old Spice for hell’s sake, and you can high five ‘til the cows come home for all I care.
If you want the perfect reason to watch games at home, just try and buy a meal for you, your wife and two kids. The price is greater than that of the movie theater concessions stand, which apparently sets its prices for food according to the ever-fluctuating price of twelve ounces of gold, a black market Russian orphan, or 18 gallons of crude oil.

(Baseball is my only exception. I love watching baseball live and struggle to watch it at home. The smell of the grass and dirt, the sound of a ball popping a mitt, the crack of the bat, I love them all. I hate hotdogs, but there is nothing like eating a Chicago dog with the works as you watch the Cubs play a day game at Wrigley. Sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” with Jerry Springer on the loudspeaker and say your not enjoying yourself. I defy you. PNC Park, where the Pirates play, is another beautiful venue where I enjoyed countless innings of joy, passing time the American way.)

So there you have it. Most of the time I would rather stay home and watch sports because I have a nice TV and not enough money to participate in a lot of live events. But give me a seat behind home plate at Fenway when the Mets are playing the Sox in a fabled World Series match-up and I don’t think I’d trade that for a goose that crapped golden eggs.

P.S. Sorry, NASCAR sucks, live or on TV.


Boyd said...

This post had a couple of exceptional parts. The paragraph by the picture of the screaming baby is simply amazing.

Che said...

Two things:

First, excellent reference to Double Dribble. When you heard the robotic voice proclaim "Dwubo Dwibo" and heard the national anthem, you knew it was on. And there is nothing harder on God's green earth than successfully performing a free throw on that game.

Second, is it just my ADHD, or do you find it impossible not to get sucked into watching the hypnotic glow of the jumbo-tron while at live events? A quick glance at the replay to see if he really got him on the arm, and before I know it - halftime! This is usually followed by a shameful expression and an inner monologue that has me chewing myself out for not just staying home if I were going to watch the whole damn thing on TV. I even got sucked in at the Salt Palace, when there was no replay but just an animated cartoon declaring D-Fense. It's like a glowing black hole of attention!

- Stay sweet

Rich said...

Pro's for being home:God bless the DVR. Wife or kids get in the way, no need to turn the volumn up(and believe me I have tried this too!) or slide to one side or t'other. Just hit pause followed by the back button for a quick jump to the past!
Pro's for going to the game are the joy you experience of having that stupid blimp fly over and actually getting an envelop or the spectacle of a tee shirt blasted out of a cannon and hitting a kid right smack dab in his pie hole at 50 mph...I saw this once, priceless. Not to mention the ladies shakin' that thing on the court between time outs!