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Breaking Down The Best Sporting Events To Go To On A Date

Sara HannonCorrespondent INovember 17, 2010

Breaking Down The Best Sporting Events To Go To On A Date

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    all about the romanceJason Merritt/Getty Images

    Sporting events have actually been a place to take a person on a date for years. But which sport lends itself better to being a good place to go on a date? 

    We'll look at all the major, and some of the minor, sports to see where is the best location to take your special someone. We will discuss which is best for a first date, which is best for an established couple, whether or not it is acceptable to do the jumbotron engagement thing and when you should just bring a friend.

    Most of you are probably thinking that a sporting event isn't exactly the place for romance. You'd be surprised, each of these events has its pros and cons, and each has its niche in the dating scene. 

    I, for one, would be excited to go to any one of the events we'll look at. Any guy who took me to a baseball, football, basketball or hockey game would certainly earn himself a few opinion points. 

    But before we begin I add this disclaimer: know your date. Or at least know a little about him or her. For instance, if Khloe and Lamar ever split, do you really think she'd want you to take her to a Laker game? Do you think Bridget Moynihan wants to go see the Patriots play. But we aren't talking about the dime-a-dozen models and reality stars who date professional athletes. We are talking about the average Joe. Or Jane. Or whoever. 

    And the thing you must remember, guys, is that chivalry is not dead, and you never know when a camera is going to be turned on you, so NEVER let your date take the hit on a foul if you can help it. 

Take Me Out To The Ball Game: Baseball

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    Nomar Garcia-Parra and wife Mia HammLisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Pros:

    The pace at a baseball game is nice and slow, giving you ample time to chat and hang out while still doing something fun. It's like bowling, you only have to pay attention a few times a round. So you still get to have fun, see a great game (if you are lucky) and get to know your date. 

    Baseball games are also generally easy on the wallet. Decent seats at a game are relatively inexpensive if you can get them from the team, because there are 80+ home games a year. It works well for the schedule, you can go Friday night after dinner, or Saturday or Sunday afternoon, or even in the middle of the week if you want. 

    The crowd gets loud on occasion, but it never gets to the level of a football game or indoor sport like basketball and hockey. And they play in the spring, summer, and early fall so you have some really nice weather for games. They don't play in the rain (often) so that's not a worry, and the atmosphere at the game is great with the hawkers and hotdogs and kids and fun all around

Three Strikes You're Out: Baseball

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    Cons:

    The pace of a game is slow. So if this is your first date and you are not having a good time it could be agonizing. If one of you doesn't like the game or follow the team and hasn't had too much to drink, he or she could get bored. 

    The weather can also be a factor. If it rains, you need a plan B because they aren't going to play. Also, in the summer months of July and August, games get hot, so if you live somewhere like Arizona of Texas, perhaps this is not the best time to take someone to a game on a date. 

    Finally, baseball is the sport where you are most likely to come in contact with the ball, or if you are close enough, a player. One group of fans even had another fan fall on them this last season. Foul balls are exciting and can be a very sweet souvenir (much better than any stuffed animal for the sports fan). However, you must always be sure to protect your date from being hit, otherwise you may as well take her home now because you are not going to be dating for much longer.   

And He Could Go All The Way: Football

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Pros:

    Football is very exciting. You have a lot going on and you have to watch every play. It also cost a pretty penny to go to an NFL game, so you are clearly showing your significant other just how special they are. Plus, if they are a fan who doesn't have season tickets, they probably have never or rarely get to go to them, adding to the specialness. 

    They are played regardless of conditions. Only lightening and apparently not paying the electric bill can stop a game (for example, the Fog Bowl. I don't know how they did it, but they played). 

    Football is on a Sunday, but you have flexibility in that there are Monday games and later in the season Thursday and Saturday games. 

    If you live in a temperate climate, or a team with a dome, the weather is comfortable as football is played from September to February. You get some time to chat with halftime and time outs, and the atmosphere is fantastic. Plus, if your date doesn't know the game, it provides you with an opportunity to snuggle close to explain. And if you tailgate, it's like a whole day-long experience for the two of you. He or she can meet your friends and family in a relaxed, casual atmosphere with great food and drinks, and corn hole to keep everyone happy.

Fumble! The Ball Is Loose: Football

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Cons:

    Football games are loud. It doesn't allow for long conversations or talking about your day or future plans. It is also expensive, so if you take someone there on a first date, they are likely to think you are overspending to impress them and be leery of why you are so very eager to please so early in the relationship. Not a first date and not a cheep one. 

    It's a long day, especially if you tailgate. Traffic is crazy so look to spend most of the day at the game and don't plan to do anything else that day. 

    Another con is that they play no matter what. That means you could have a perfect day, or it could be raining, snowing, or sixteen below. You take a risk with mother nature because the tickets have to be purchased so far in advance if you only want to pay an arm for them (if you prefer an arm and a leg, buy from stub-hub), and you don't get refunds for rainouts. There are no rainouts. Your date may want to bail before halftime if the weather is bad, and you know the average fan does not do that. 

    Plus, football is incredibly complicated when it comes down to it. Especially without the little yellow line you have on television to tell where the first down is (no joke, someone asked me where that was at a live game). And even though you get to snuggle to explain, no way a football rookie is going to get much more beyond the concept of downs.  

    Finally, and this has nothing to do with pros or cons, but could make or break your date, I have a tip for the boys. Repeat after me "those cheerleaders are okay, but they aren't that cute and they really distract from the game. I'd only pay attention to them if you were down there".

    It'll help, I promise. And ladies, if you have a favorite tight end with a cute butt and pretty face, best not to share that with your date either, and everyone will get along swimmingly. 

Slam Dunk: Basketball

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    Elsa/Getty Images

    Pros:

    Basketball is a well-dressed sport. You stand out a little when you don't wear a jersey or t-shirt to a baseball or football game, but basketball is a good mix of the casual dressers and jersey wearers. The games are enjoyable, and not usually as long as the others, so you don't have to clear the whole day's schedule. And the atmosphere is a blast.

    Basketball is loud, which encourages everyone to join in, but it also has it's quiet moments, which allow you to chat, but not have super long conversations. And while the nuances of basketball can get tricky with explaining screens and fouls and what-not, the general idea is easy. Shoot from outside this line its worth three points, inside is two. You have until the little clock near the hoop stops ticking to shoot or the other team gets the ball. 

    That means for most of the game you and your date will be on the same page. And if anything different comes up, it provides a chance to snuggle and explain. Plus, tickets aren't nearly as pricey as football tickets, so your wallet will thank you at the end of the evening. 

    Basketball games are also all played indoors, which negates any weather issues and games go on as scheduled. Like baseball, you also have your pick of days, so you can choose a weekend or weekday, whatever works for you. 

Technical Foul: Basketball

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    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Cons:

    This is the big one. Basketball is loud. If your date wants to chat the whole game, its probably not going to happen. With the crowd alternating between chanting "defense" and cheering, it's hard to hear anything. Another noise con is the "foot squeak". If you are easily offended by the sound to tennis shoes squeaking on a floor, basketball is not for you. 

    This one only applies to those who are fortunate enough to sit close to the floor: you might be tackled by a player or two as they go careening, flopping or are pushed out of bounds. 

    Some games *cough*Lakers*cough* are places where people like to be seen and care less about the basketball game than a normal fan. You may have to deal with them on their phones or generally not paying attention, which can get irritating if you are trying to actually watch the game. 

Power Play: Hockey

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Pros:

    Hockey has a lot of the pros of football and basketball combined into one. It's indoors, a little colder than basketball because of the ice, but no chance of snow, rain, or wind getting in. It is fast-paced and exciting, and unlike any of the other sports, hockey never stops moving. I mean never. Each team gets one per game but they have to take it at a normal stoppage of play (for example, after an icing or when the puck goes out of play).

    It's got the crazy atmosphere of basketball, but goals are hard to come by so they are celebrated accordingly, which is always fun. Hockey is long, but unlike football and basketball where you get halftime, hockey gives you two intermissions to talk to your date. 

    Like football, hockey can get a little complicated, and the chill can encourage even more snuggling as you explain this rule or that. Plus, according to new studies, Hockey is what all the cool, tech-savvy 18-34 year old males are all watching these days. And the price is right, you can get a ten-pack of tickets for what it might cost to sit you in a similar location for one football game.  

Time To Pull The Goalie: Hockey

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Cons:

    Many of hockey's cons are just like its pros. Like basketball, hockey can get really loud, so if your date, again, wants to chat the whole time, no go. Especially if the game is close. Also, the game never stops moving, so by the time your date asks you a question, ten other things have happened in the game and you don't remember what he or she is talking about or don't have a second to answer. 

    Depending on your seat, that tiny little black puck flying madly around the ice is hard to follow. This compounds the above issue of hockey constantly going. 

    The games can get long. Three twenty minute periods, plus the breaks in between, and they can never tie. Hockey has been the most likely to go into extra periods this season, having done it in 20% if the games this season. That means you have a one in five shot of seeing more hockey than you originally anticipated. For some this is not a con. (If you are wondering, 8% of NBA games, 4% of MLB games, and 10% of NFL games have gone into overtime/extra innings in the 2010-2011 seasons)

    Also, depending on your date, the occasional fights that break out in hockey, one of the more violent sports played, might cause them some uneasiness. Again, this is date specific, some people like the fights. 

Other Sporting Events You Could Choose

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Here are a few more unique and fun suggestions for a sporting even date.

     

    Ice skating:

    People who like the sport tend to like men, women, and pairs, so you have a pick. This is an interesting date, certainly entertaining, has time to talk, and a really unique experience for both involved. And even if you don't like skating, if your significant other does, they will really appreciate the gesture. 

     

    Curling:

    Lots of time to talk. And to try and figure out exactly why it is that curling is a sport and figure out how you can try it when you get home. 

     

    Swimming:

    Yes. Swimming. But don't take him or her to the local community pool unless family is involved. Spring for something more competitive if you can. 

     

    MMA/Boxing:

    It is very exciting, has a really fun atmosphere and you could see some really good fights. Again, make sure you know whether or not your date is into that sort of thing before you take them. 

     

    Races:

    Whether it's Formula One, Nascar, dogs, or horses, races are always fun. There's ample time for chatting, it's fun, and you can even place friendly wagers. Double points if you take your girl to something like the Kentucky Derby where she gets to dress up and wear a cool hat, that is always fun.

     

    Olympics:

    Any time you can take a date to anything involving the Olympics is a win. If you can get hot events like snowboarding, gymnastics, speed skating, or swimming, you are golden. 

Things You Should Not Attend (On a Date, Anyway)

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    Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

    Here are some ideas for things you probably should avoid doing on a date.

     

    Cross-Country Skiing:

    Unless you get in at the end, you really don't see a lot of the event, it's cold, and hard to follow what's happening. That is a sport much better viewed from a cozy sofa sipping hot chocolate. 

     

     

    Chess Matches:

    Unless your date is really, really into chess, this isn't the best spectator sport.

     

    Marathons and other long distance running events:

    Unless you are participating or supporting a participant, there's not much point to this one. Not really a great place for a date at all. Again, this is unless your date is really into running. 

Conclusions

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    So, what's the verdict? Where should you take your date?

     

    Best Date Event: Baseball Game

    Ample time for conversation and an easy to understand game gives you plenty to talk about and plenty of time to do it in. The games are long, but not usually epic, and the weather is nice. Plus, you probably won't be watching a baseball game in the rain. 

     

     

    Best First Date: Basketball Game

    Basketball is perfect because while you get time to talk, if it turns out that your date is a bore or you have nothing in common, it's not a whole lot, and you can spend that time in the bathroom or getting drinks if you like. The game is exciting and easy to grasp the basics, so you'll be on the same page (game wise) all night. Plus it doesn't take your entire day to go to a basketball game.

    Honorable mention goes to hockey, but the length of the games and the pace drops it below basketball in the date-worthy category.

     

    Best Place to Propose on the Big Screen: Basketball

    This one is a tough one. Logistically, it has to be basketball. You can usually see the screen from wherever you are sitting so she has no chance to miss it (as long as she is looking). But this really depends on the person. If your girl is into baseball, then do it there, but make sure your seats have a good view of the screen. 

    A final note on the jumbotron proposals: ask her friends first. Some girls will think it is the most thoughtful thing ever, some think it is cheesy, and others just hate it. The friends will know which camp she's in, and they'll tell you whether or not it is a good idea. 

     

    Best Place to Skip The Date and Go With Friends: Football

    If your date is really into football, this is a moot point and by all means take them to the game. But if he or she is not, the best way to enjoy this sport is with your friends who also love football. This way you can hang out while you tailgate, but don't have anything to explain during the game and everyone knows what is going on. And no one will ask you why the yellow line isn't on the field. 

    Plus, if the weather is bad, it's really an event for true fans. No one is going to brave a snowstorm to see a game unless they really love their team.

     

    Just remember to know your date, that will tell you when and if you should take them to a game and what game to take them to. Enjoy. 

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