My sister and her boyfriend had been, for the most part, in a relationship for about a decade when she announced to the family that they finally decided to wed.
Smiling brightly, she told us she wanted to have the ceremony where our grandparents had worked so hard to give us an opportunity to even afford a wedding—in southeast Puerto Rico.
The date, she somewhat set, was to be in late June. I quickly began to think about my situation. Graduating in May 2008, it has been almost a year since my last homework assignment yet I still do not have a full-time job.
It’s been hard for new journalists. The printing and publishing industry is crumbling every day.
With many layoffs and closings, recently graduated journalists are no match to the seasoned reporters who’ve fallen victim to those layoffs and are now, while swallowing their pride, scooping up those entry-level jobs.
I began to go over the prices in my head:
About $300 per plane ticket.
About $300 for lodging.
About $2-300 for food (I know it sounds like a lot, but the food is truly priceless).
About $200 or so to help my sister out.
About another $100 for a gift.
About $100 for transportation.
About $100 for drinks, leisure/recreation, etc.
Clearly, this trip has the potential to drive right over the hump of a thousand dollars.
When the MLB schedules came out earlier in the spring, I was hopeful to set a date where I could come to Chicago and enter the friendly confines to catch my 'boys of summer' beat up on someone as I do every year.
It was then that I realized they would be coming to Detroit for the first time in several years. The first time I entered Comerica Park was to catch Slammin’ Sammy, well, slam some home runs.
Looking over the schedule, I planned to take my flight to paradise on the morning of June 24. Could it be? The Cubs would be in Detroit on June 23?
Living in Lansing, Michigan, this was a great opportunity to catch them. The problem with this scenario is the hole that I plan on digging. With merely some part-time work and an unpaid internship, the struggle within myself is fueled.
To go or not to go?
Surely, I can go another time. Or can I?
Sports have always been a haven, an oasis outside life’s current struggles for millions across the globe and generations.
Not too much on this earth makes me feel better than walking up to the red "Welcome" sign outside Wrigley Field with my tickets in hand and three to ten family members or friends beside me.
Even if we lose, I believe I’d still find the experience as gratifying as the first time.
But now, life’s current struggles may be too big to reach that oasis. Not just for me, but for many.
ESPN’s Page 2 columnists wrote several articles on the state of millions like me who struggle to find meaning in purchasing their tickets only to give the fat cats in the suites more money.
“Unemployment's up; sales, wages and spirits are down; the No. 8 car can't find a sponsor; Yankee Stadium might cost taxpayers millions; skyboxes go empty while our soup kitchens are full; ticket prices mixed; concessions holding steady; players' salaries up; coaches' salaries up; everything up, up, up—except for those of us among the freshly down and out,” wrote Page 2 columnist, Jeff MacGregor.
He’s absolutely right.
Not only would I be spending money unnecessarily (as necessary as I believe it is) to go to the Cubs/Tigers game, I would also be missing a week of work while in Puerto Rico where I can be making money.
Now, please...do not cry for me. I’m sure you aren’t crying and you shouldn’t.
I am fine. I promise.
In reality, if I miss the game, it will be no big deal. My mere concern is whether the club owners and agents will ever remember they were once fans too.
There are a lot of people like Jamey Winchester, in Jim Caple's article, who’ve sacrificed years of their life on waiting lists only to have their eventual tickets ripped from their prying fingers because teams want $200 billion stadiums that no one can afford to get into except the players’ wives.
Times are hard. People don’t have to go to games. All I’m saying is that people are making tough choices to have to go to them.
There is something wrong with that.