Throughout my younger years I did everything in my power to go to live events. Whether they were concerts, sporting events or even musicals. There is just something special about being at a live event. Unfortunately, some live events have gotten out of control and it is hard to enjoy oneself when there are 50,000 to 100,000 people that are out of control. I am not old by any means, but I am much older than I used to be. I know, that is rocket science! In my youthful days I was more than happy to get down in the mosh pit and crowd surf at a concert. I would stand in the student section of a college football game. I would even go to a major pep rally in which fans were not in the best of conditions. At the time, I enjoyed the experience. Now, I get frustrated as some people simply do not know how to act in public.
Live Sporting Events
When I was in elementary school I started to go to live sporting events in the form of high school volleyball and basketball games. I had an older sister that was very good in both sports so my mother would drive us to all of the games. I would try to pay attention for some of the game but I was an 8 year old boy looking to get into trouble. Even though I was not 100% into the games I still learned what it was to attend a live sporting event and be respectful of those around me.
After growing up attending live sporting events it was something that was in my blood. During my middle school and high school years I was either playing sports or watching sports. During any given week I attended three to five live sporting events. On Tuesday and Thursday it was volleyball games. On Wednesday it was a cross country meet. On Friday it was football. There were even Saturdays that I would travel to a different town just to catch another sporting event like a golf tournament or a tennis match. Let’s just say that I had to be doing something at all times and many times this involved live sporting events.
When I walked on the campus of North Carolina State University I immediately sought out the sports schedule to see what was going on. I joined the Student Wolfpack Club so I could accumulate points for going to live sporting events. I would watch volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer and any other event just to get away from the classroom. On Saturday I would spend the entire day tailgating and gearing up for the football game. There were very few Saturdays in which I was not at an NC State football game. No matter where we were playing I was at the game. I traveled as far as Columbus, Ohio and Tallahassee, Florida to watch the Wolfpack play when I was in my undergraduate years. Even as a busy college student I was still attending three to four sporting events a week.
As I grew older I was unable to attend as many sporting events because life called. Sometimes the job gets in the way of attending those games. After moving to Chapel Hill about 16 months ago I decided that I would try to attend as many sporting events as possible. I make my own hours so I have the ability to go to events during the week and even during the day. This past fall I attended a volleyball, soccer and field hockey game all within 24 hours. College football and college basketball are gearing up as well. During the spring months I focus on lacrosse but I will also go to track meets and tennis matches. From a personal perspective, I truly enjoy going to sporting events where there are not a ton of people. During women’s lacrosse games, in the spring, there will be between 50 and 100 fans. This is Heave to me. When there are 50,000 fans things start to get out of control.
Are Sporting Events Too Big?
When the UNC basketball season starts there will be 20,000 fans ready to watch the Tar Heels take on the Kentucky Wildcats. With this many people excited about an event I try to stay away. I can watch this event on my HD TV and I do not have to deal with parking and getting in and out of the game. I also don’t feel like dealing with all the people around me that have no clue as to what is going on. The few times I have been to UNC basketball games I have sat in the student athlete section. I have some friends that are student athletes and they know what is going on when the basketball team is playing. If I were to sit in regular seats I probably would not be able to stay for the entire game.
The same is true when it comes to college football. When I was at NC State I went to Columbus, Ohio to see the Wolfpack take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. The attendance for that game was in excess of 100,000. I sat in the middle of the Ohio State student section and it was difficult to swallow all the things that were being said in that section. I am a very open minded person but some of the college students were downright dirty. I can assure you that this does not change as you get outside the student section. I have been to several games in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee. I have heard similar or even worse commentary. When sports and alcohol are mixed some people just do not know how to act. I attended an Oregon vs Tennessee game in Knoxville a few years back and I promised myself I would never attend a game in that stadium again. Well, since then I have done all I can to avoid going back because of the experience.
There are many people that only want to watch sports if they are at the event. I am the exact opposite. When I am at some of these sporting events I enjoy people watching but I am not as interested in the game. I tend to watch the jumbotron and I do not focus on the field. Part of this is because I love to analyze a game. If I am sitting in a seat at the game I am unable to see everything that is going on on the field. In my college days I would always get seats as close to the 50 yard line as possible so I could keep an eye on all the goings on. My friends were shocked at how much I noticed during these games. If a player was limping or not in for a play or two I would notice it immediately.
HD TV Continues to Get Better
One of the main reasons I do not enjoy major sporting events anymore is the home HD experience has improved so much. TV channels like ESPN, NBC Sports and CBS Sports offer close up video of all the events I enjoy. I have attended a few golf tournaments over the last few years but nothing compares to sitting back and watching the final round on CBS Sports on a Sunday afternoon. The announcers have their eyes on everything on the course and you do not miss a good shot. If you are attending a golf tournament it is highly likely that you will be following one group of golfers. I think every golf fan or golfer should attend a few golf events in their life just to see what it is like for the professionals to hit the ball. After you have been to a few events you will understand why watching on TV is so enjoyable.
Something I would suggest all sports fans do is to go to a live event for their favorite team or player once. When I go to a golf tournament I love to walk the course on a Thursday or Friday so I can sit back and watch it on TV over the weekend. You have a much better understanding as to how hard the course is after having walked it the previous day. You will also get to experience seeing some of the things you would never notice on TV. In the golf world most people may not realize how much talking goes on while the players are on the course. This is especially true during the rounds early in the week. When attending a football game some people are shocked at how loud the stadium can get during certain times of the game. If a team needs a stop on 3rd down some of the NFL and college football stadiums can make your ears ring. Make sure to partake in some of these sporting events to truly enjoy watching on TV later in time.