Thoughts on Live Sports

This past Wednesday, I headed down to Houston with Jason and his dad to watch Manchester United take on the MLS All-Stars.  This felt, in some ways, like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  For one, Jason’s dad lives in Hong Kong and just happened to be visiting.  Also, United is a team that we actually follow (as in we watch all their games, pretty much) and out of all the places in the US that they could’ve been playing, they came to a location within driving distance of us.  Yay!

I truly enjoyed the game.  Seeing Ryan Giggs was amazing, as I knew it would be.  Hubs scored us awesome seats, so the view was excellent and it was easy to see all the players and the action.

Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that, for lots of reasons, live sports aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  Here’s my list of reasons why:

1. Screaming children.  I’m putting this one first, as it’s the weakest one.  Because there really isn’t a reason for a toddler to be at a sporting event.  Particularly in the good-seat section.  Nevertheless, there was a child next to us who was 2 or 3 and still sportin’ the pacifier.  (Trouble sign #1.)  Before the game even starts, there is a fireworks show that scares the begeezus out of him and he proceeds to cry for the next 90 minutes.  Meanwhile, he and his frazzled parents have to get up a bazillion times to go try various means of calming him down.  Naturally, that means they have to walk by the three of us… and one of us is pregnant.  I’d like to say that I was led by the Holy Spirit and responding calmly and with patience and grace… but I was pissed, honestly.  I couldn’t fathom how much they paid to listen to their child scream.  Ok, enough of that.  Moving on…

2. Lack of replay.  Since there happen to be a few distractions at a live sporting event, you can easily take your eyes off the action for a second or two.  Which, in soccer, is just long enough for the best play of the night to slip by unseen.  When this happens, there may be a replay, or there may not.  And if it’s a controversial play, that means you definitely won’t get to see the action, because they want the referees to make the call based on what they see, not the replay.  So no rewinding, no awesome slow motion… just the knowledge that the kid next to you caused you to miss the best 5 seconds of the match.

3. Distractions, distractions, distractions.  (In other words… people.)  There’s the guy selling beer and “Pee-NUTS!  Pee-NUTS!”  There’s the guy buying beer, passing it over you.  There are the drunk guys being obnoxious.  There are the people needing to get past you every 2 seconds.  There’s the wave.  (I abhor the wave.)  There are the geniuses who decide on a fireworks display in an ENCLOSED stadium, so that the first half is seen through a dim haze.

4. Uncomfortable seating.  There’s no question here and no elaboration needed… my couch at home is far superior to stadium seating.

5. Climate.  Though this wasn’t an issue at this particular game (Reliant did a great job of climate-control), we live in Texas.  It’s frickin’ hot here.  Jason and I had season tickets to UT home games a few years ago, and those first few games of the season were miserable.  My couch, in contrast, is air-conditioned and shaded.

Those are a few reasons why I will rarely choose to go see a live sporting event unless, as in this case, it’s a really big or special game.  What about you?  Has technology and HDTV decreased your desire to see sports in person, as it has for me?

But here’s the view from our seats:

Pretty snazzy, huh?

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4 responses to “Thoughts on Live Sports

  • Val

    My all-time favorite sport to watch is gymnastics. It’s rarely on except for the Olympics, so I watch it approximately once every four years. BUT last Olympics the US Olympic trials were in Philadelphia and we went!! It was exciting because the whole place was buzzing with excitement and it had the whole Olympic atmosphere going for it. But as a spectator, it was so much worse than watching at home!! No close up, no commentary (which I usually enjoy, since the commentators usually have some quirky interesting facts “Her sister actually invented that move she just fell on!”), weird angle… Plus they change the rules every Olympics, and despite trying to keep abreast of all the new rules, there was some new vaulting rule I didn’t know about, which led to confusion (not enjoyment) while watching that event. Alas.

    I much prefer the comfy seats of home, the close ups and replays, to really enjoy the spectating.

  • Jake

    Live sports event watching sucks. Big time. I’d like to add cost to the list of your gripes. I don’t know how much you guys paid, but in general it’s not worth it to me at all. If you can get a full month of cable and watch a hundred soccer games in the comfort of your home, with instant replay, noise control, and commentary, why pay more to be sweaty, uncomfortable, and annoyed for a couple hours? HD doesn’t really factor into it for me. Even your good seats aren’t as good as the multiple camera angles and closeups you get from TV sports coverage.

  • Debbie

    I have to agree with you on most accounts. I have been to my share of live sporting events (football, hockey, basketball, baseball) and watching from the comforts of home with commentary and replays and interviews is pretty nice. However, I did attend some Winter Olympic events in Vancouver (hockey, luge and biathlon) and there is definitely something to be said about watching those Olympic events live with a bunch of other people cheering for your country…there’s a really cool spirit of comraderie that isn’t there during regular sporting events.

    As for the kid sitting next to you, sorry to hear that. He must be younger than 2 or 3 though, b/c if my kid were still using a paci by that age, there would real issues. That’s definitely too young to bring a kid to a live sporting event. We just brought Daniel to his first hockey game a few months ago (and he’s 2 1/2) and since we’ve already trained him from really young to watch hockey with us on TV, he sat amazingly still on our laps most of the game. I guess you guys just need to start training early! 🙂

  • Niki

    You know, I have to agree with all of the complaints that you listed, as well as in the comments section. Although, I have to add one thing to the PRO side of watching a sporting event in person… But before I do, let me remind you of just how athletically minded our family is. Do you recall a SINGLE family gathering where there wasn’t a football game, basketball game or golf tourney on? I digress…. The one advantage of being at a live event is obvious… When you start screaming WHAT?!?!? ARE YOU BLIND?? YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!?!?! it helps that you are surrounded by similar like-minded individuals delusional enough to think that someone might be able to hear them. Do that to the television, and you kinda’ have to scratch your head….

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