Attending a game in person sounds like a great idea to most sports fans. Being there in person is almost always a more memorable experience than watching on television and every fan should experience seeing their team live at least a couple of times.
That being said, there are many ways in which being there is actually better in theory than in practice.
It's not that going to a game totally sucks or anything, it's just that getting together with some friends to watch at home or a local bar is a ton of fun. Not to mention so much less of a hassle for everyone involved.
In some ways it's a much more controlled environment—you know everyone involved and exactly what you're getting into when you commit. In other ways there's far less control—you're not being searched upon entry and monitored by police and stadium security all day.
When you attend a sporting event in person, suddenly, you're at the mercy of everything and everyone around you. And there's generally nothing that can be done to improve a bad situation.
Here are 20 ways the best day ever can quickly spiral into the gutter, with relatively little warning at all.
Two idiots fighting can really ruin the entire day, particularly if the violence spreads beyond the two people slugging it out. Having to witness it is bad enough, but you could end up being clocked for no other reason than unfortunate proximity to drunken idiocy.
Even if you're attending a boxing match, a UFC event or a hockey game, you're not there to see the drunken idiots surrounding you fighting over who was responsible for kicking over a half-empty cup of Miller Lite.
Once things get out of hand, every security official within 100 yards shows up and breaking up guys like this is always dicey. Plus, after something like this happens, the entire section goes on lockdown for the rest of the day.
You can pay for good seats, find a great parking space and invite just the right person to go to the game with you. Unfortunately, there's no amount of planning ahead that will help you if the fat dude next to you rips off his shirt in the first quarter.
This is something you have absolutely no control over. You can ask him nicely to put his clothes back on, but he will probably politely (or not so politely) decline. You can complain to security, who will tell you tubby isn't breaking any rules.
It really doesn't matter. If that dude wants to take his shirt off, you're probably going miss most of the game because you're too busy trying to make sure your face doesn't make contact with his jiggly belly every time he jumps up to scream at something.
And, trust me, that will happen constantly.
Ridiculously giant signs are just one of the many things completely out of your control at a sporting event. Should you find yourself parked behind one of these, there's really no good way to handle the situation.
If you ask the person to stop holding it up, there's a chance your request may be accommodated. But there's an even better chance it will create bad blood and the person who spent all that time making the sign will just hold it up even more out of spite.
Which is why it's generally best to do nothing and hope that idiot's arms eventually tire out in the second half. Of course, doing nothing can make you feel impotent and trigger passive aggressive rage. See...no good options.
This isn't a threat at all sporting events, but there are plenty of venues that are under constant threat of animal invasions. You've got alligators at golf courses. You've got squirrels and cats at baseball games. You've got dogs at soccer games. You've got bees pretty much anywhere warm with garbage.
Honestly, you never know when and where animals are going to attack at a game—unless you're at a Cubs game in Chicago, because there's a flock of seagulls there that have season tickets.
It's a relatively rare occurrence that anyone is injured or even too put out by animals at a game, but you didn't pay for tickets to have the privilege of sharing your nachos with a bunch of seagulls with absolutely no sense of personal space. Not to mention the fact that the whole world is their toilet.
Do you have any idea how cold it is in Vancouver in November? How about Foxborough in December? Or Chicago in January? Or how about Green Bay in any non-summer month?
Pretty freaking cold, let me tell you. The kind of bone chilling cold that only an actual survivalist truly knows how to dress for and can't be remedied with hats and blankets.
Now just think about how cozy your house is with the heat cranked up to a temperature that would've made your dad's head explode! I've never been to a winter game in which I didn't, at least temporarily, regret my decision to go.
The thing about the cold is that you can always add more layers to battle it. But it doesn't matter how oppressive the summer heat and humidity are, there's only so much you can take off before it officially becomes a criminal act.
And the guy in the upper left of that photo may or may not have crossed the line. In a perfect world he would have kept his pants on. Unfortunately, the world we live in is far from perfect.
Not only do you have to worry about how the heat will impact you and your day. There's also the very real concern about those around you and the drastic actions they may resort to in order to beat the heat. Plus...there's the smell.
Okay! This is the last weather related slide, I promise. I did consider combining all three of these, but each of them present a different set of circumstances and challenges.
Even though extreme hot and cold are wretched, at least you know the show will go on. It may be miserable as hell, but you paid to watch a game and a game will be played.
However, the threat of electrical storms or even enough heavy rain can delay a game substantially or even stop it entirely. And you never know when a delay is going to turn into a cancellation.
Then you have the entire drive home to think about what an idiot you were for sitting around in the rain for three hours, only to be unceremoniously booted from the premises.
These days stadiums are pretty much a police state from the minute the gates open until the last fan exits the venue. You're patted down and searched when you arrive.
Some unpleasant security official will undoubtedly throw away your bottled water, but not before giving you the option of stepping aside and drinking it all on the spot. Gate security even has the authority to make you change your clothes if they find some kind of arbitrary violation.
When you get to your section, it will be manned by an army of self-important jagweeds whose only job is to make sure you are sitting in your assigned seat. And the whole damn place is stock piled with armed security guards who are there to make sure you don't pull any funny business.
- No throwing stuff on the field.
- No taking your pants off.
- No taking pictures of Tiger Woods (that one is pretty specific, I know).
- No running on the field—that's a big one and they take you to jail for disregarding it.
The one thing you actually do get to do is go to the game. Unfortunately, you'll spend most of the day fretting over everything you can't do...which is pretty much everything except sit quietly in your own seat and watch the game.
There are a lot of sports fans out there who are under the mistaken impression that body paint counts as clothes. Body paint does not count as clothes.
You think sitting next to the fat guy whose belly has been jiggling in your face all day is bad? Well imagine him covered in paint from head-to-toe, with only an uncomfortably snug pair of shorts as your only visual respite.
Obviously this isn't going to be nearly as offensive if we're talking about attractive women doing it. But, let's face it, how often in life have you been that lucky?
Testosterone sometimes goes into overdrive at a sports event. Which is totally fine, depending on how it manifests itself. Excessive high-fives, random chants of "USA! USA! USA!," or even some extra salty language are all fine.
That being said, sometimes things can get out of hand. Sure, these guys competing in a taco eating contest for no reason in the second inning is harmless. Heck, it may even be pretty entertaining for awhile.
Then it escalates. It's a beer chugging contest in the fourth inning. Trying to outdo each other in starting chants in the sixth inning. And by the bottom of the eighth, they're on the verge of coming to blows until one of them starts vomiting—which is likely to make at least a few other people vomit as well.
Ordinary shenanigans may start off as harmless fun, but there's always a chance things will spiral.
Ah yes…gridlock traffic. Is there anything on this planet so common and uneventful that routinely triggers rage (sometimes deadly) in otherwise seemingly very reasonable people?
It's strange—all you're doing is waiting. We have to wait everywhere…the grocery store, the DMV, in line at amusement parks, even on hold just for the privilege of paying a bill. Most of us manage to do all those things without threatening to murder anyone in the process.
I don't know what it is about traffic that makes people insane. All I know is that it does. And the less time spent around hoards of people slowly becoming unglued, the better.
Assuming you survive the traffic on the way in, only to repeat the whole thing in reverse a few hours later, you have to find a parking space in the interim.
Finding a parking space can be challenging, but it's very straight forward. You see an empty space, you park your car, you pay someone. Bing bang boom. You're looking for a single empty space in a sea of taken ones.
When you leave, you're looking for a single car among tens of thousands and suddenly the parking lot feels like that scary death maze at the end of The Shining. Eventually it starts to feel that desperate, too.
Of course, there are reasonable and responsible people who won't have any problem with this...but you're not one of them, are you? Or maybe you are and I'm just projecting my own shortcomings on the public.
Seeing a game live is always going to be a noisy experience. Which is fine because nobody who values silence above all is going to be compelled to buy tickets in the first place.
But there is a difference between people not using their inside voices and people who are screaming so frequently and with enough intensity that looking at them feels like an unwanted lesson in the human circulatory system.
Depending on the event, it can be a very fine line. So let's just say if you look anything like the guy in the photo, you probably crossed the line a long time ago and should dial it down a little.
Should you choose to attend a game in person, rather than watching from a private residence, there are a whole host of behavior and actions that instantly become unacceptable. Some of which can even land you in jail.
- At home you can drink as much as you want without being concerned about public drunkeness. At a game you cannot.
- At home you have the power to decide what does and does not constitute a bathroom, based on a perceived sense of urgency. At a game you cannot.
- At home you can pass out whenever and wherever you want to, with as much or as little clothing on as you desire. At a game you cannot.
And those are just a few of the countless examples of the freedoms you give up when you go to a game. Considering how much tickets cost these days, you should be able to take a nap wherever the hell you want.
Sadly, that's not the world we live in.
This one is only a constant looming threat at soccer matches, but you never know when some crazy firebug is going take drastic action by expressing his displeasure with that last call by "Macgyvering" a Molotov cocktail with a few seemingly unrelated items he picked up at the souvenir stand.
The odds of this actually happening aren't very high, but they aren't non-existent either. Just be aware of your surroundings and if you see anyone trying to start a fire, don't wait around to see how things will play out.
If you approach the stadium entrance and notice hundreds of officers in riot gear on hand to "keep the peace," the odds of having pepper spray launched in your direction at some point increases dramatically.
Ordinary event security may be armed with their own personal pepper spray or even a taser, but riot police favor a blanket approach when dealing with an unruly crowd. It doesn't matter if you're guilty or just guilty by proximity—either way, you're guilty.
This one tends to go hand-in-hand with the threat of fire. If you're a member of a fanbase that is well-known to set fires, you're going to have to deal with overzealous riot police whose only job is to beat or poison fans before they have the opportunity to burn the place down.
You know that thing I mentioned earlier about all the rules you have to follow at a stadium? Well, that only applies to adults. As is often the case everywhere you go, children are basically free to do whatever they want without consequence.
If some crazy little kid strips naked on a super hot day and starts running around like a lunatic, the worst he can expect is a reprimand by his parents, who were urged by security to put some clothes on their demon spawn. Same thing goes for a little boy relieving himself anywhere outside the bathroom.
Kids can scream and yell, run around and knock over the food and drink of others, and basically get away with a laundry list of bad behavior that would land an adult with a citation—if not a night in county lockup.
And you'll be expected to hand over your foul ball, part ways with the t-shirt you caught from the t-shirt cannon fair and square and just generally bend over backwards to accommodate them—because the minute you don't, you'll end up as national news for being a monster.
Seeing the game live and in person can be great, although not if you actually want to see the game. Following the action of a football game on television can be difficult for some people.
Those people are going to have a very difficult time following it six stories up and 100 yards away from the play. If you can afford good seats, this one shouldn't be too much of an issue.
But if you're operating on a limited budget, you might want to consider skipping the nosebleeds and saving up longer for better seats. It'll be worth the wait.
Well, technically you can cry, but you end up looking like massive babies like these dudes. Ladies don't take much crap for getting all weepy during a sporting even, but sobbing men can end up subject of international mockery.
Like these German guys. Unless all three of them just learned their parents perished on the same airplane, they are definitely overreacting to whatever is going on—seriously, who knew Germans were so emotional.
If you don't think you can handle your emotions until you get back to the car to cry in peace, perhaps it's best to stay home. Besides...it's really difficult to drive with tears in your eyes.
Unless you're like that obese cat—rolling in money, not necessarily obese—you are probably living with some semblance of a budget. Or at least you should be, even if you're really not.
If you decide to attend a game in person, the expense is generally far more than the cost of the ticket.
You've got to arrange transportation or pay for gas and parking. You'll need at least one beer for each quarter/period of play, or one every third inning at a baseball game. And if you're drinking, you'll need to eat something. Probably two or three somethings.
The average cost to attend an NFL game can vary dramatically from city to city. A Jaguars fan can expect to pay almost $350 to watch Blaine Gabbert embarrass himself, while a Cowboys fan has to pay just under $640 to see Tony Romo do the same.
Either way...it's expensive as hell.
There are plenty of things that suck about about attending a sporting event in person, but there are just as many reasons why it's pretty freaking awesome too. Watching a game at home is easier and cheaper, but it's not nearly as memorable.
I can still remember individual Penguins and Pirates games I attended decades ago as a child. And it's been 10 years, but I can still recall all the Pitt games at Heinz Field as though they were yesterday. Which makes it worth all the hassle, at least a few times each year.
Oh...and there's always the off chance you'll end up seated next to girls like that. [See photo]
**Speaking of hot girls! Tons of them follow me on Twitter...so should consider doing the same. If you're nice, perhaps I'll introduce you to a few: Follow @blamberr