At Home or at the Game?

Elsa

Here's a simple question. Do you prefer watching the Jets play at the stadium, or do you like watching them from your house?

It depends on the sport for me. There are some sports that lend themselves better to a live event than others. Hockey and soccer are two examples. They can both be very boring on television. Being at the game is a different experience. You can see the whole ice/field. You can see the complex ways the players move without the puck/ball and the almost telepathic connections the players have to hit a pass in stride.

Football is a sport that lends itself better to TV. One advantage of being at the game is that you can see the entire field. You do not know where the ball is going, though, so you find yourself guessing and looking at a random part of the field. By the time you figure out where the ball went, you might have missed something important. It is a lot easier to have the production team broadcasting the game figure that out. They can also provide better angles on replays so you can figure out exactly what happened. No such luck at the stadium.

Prices are also a factor. Going to the stadium these days is really expensive. You could end up spending more on parking, tickets, and food for one game than it would cost to get a subscription to NFL Sunday Ticket and be able to watch every game all year from home. Plus you have to commit a whole day to going to a game. That means leaving the house early, parking, getting to your seat before the game, and battling traffic on the way out. If you are at home, you can just grab food from the fridge and flip the channel to the next game.

This didn't stop me from going to two games last year. Shelling out money to see the 2012 Jets multiple times probably says two things. First, I am an enormous sucker. Second, there is something to be said for being at the game.

Any discussion about being at the game starts with tailgating. It's awesome. So much good food in so little time.

There is a certain atmosphere at the game that is fun. You cannot replicate it from your couch. I still regret not going to that 2009 home opener against New England. I cannot imagine what the electricity in the stadium was like for that game. Plus, when you are cheering on the home team, you can make noise to mess with the other team's concentration. You actually can impact the game a bit. There's a special bonding experience when 50,000 strangers come together for one purpose.

There is also the "I was there" factor. It's always a good conversation starter when you can say you were at a memorable game. I have two such memories, both pretty lousy. I was at the game in 1996 when Neil O'Donnell got hurt for the season in pregame warm ups. I even saw it. It was about 20 feet in front of me. I had gone down to the front of the stands to watch the players warm up. O'Donnell was right there. He was practicing dropping back on a slick turf during a downpour. He slipped and started limping. He couldn't walk without help. Then this past Thanksgiving, I was at the buttfumble game. Without replay, the full magnitude of the play was lost on me until I got home and saw the highlights. I thought it was just part of the the Jets allowing touchdowns on offense, defense, and special teams in the span of a minute. Little did I know, it was actually somehow even worse than that. I'll always be able to say I was there. I imagine this suffering will make it that much sweeter when the Jets finally do get their act together and win a Super Bowl.

Finally, there are just some fun parts of being at the game that you cannot get anywhere else. I stayed until the bitter end at the Thanksgiving debacle. I was probably the last one in my section. This disgruntled security guard started to vent about the team. It was pretty funny. He kept making silly predictions about the next disaster that was to come in the game. When something good happened, he acted shocked. When the Jets inexplicably put up a highlight video for the game in the second half trailing by 30 that included two highlights, Muhammad Wilkerson pressuring Tom Brady and a pass for a first down, we both cracked up. We predicted what Rex Ryan would say in his press conference line for line, "I didn't see this coming. We had a great week of practice. The Patriots just played a great game. You have to give them credit." I half-jokingly said when Mark Sanchez spent the second half padding his stats against New England's prevent defense that Rex Ryan would point out his garbage time stats as some kind of evidence Sanchez played well. Amazingly enough, when I listened to the postgame show on my radio, Rex raved about Sanchez's 70% completion percentage and 95 rating for the game, even though his turnovers ended the game and anything good he did was after things were already decided. You just can't get experiences like this at home.

So I guess I prefer watching at home, but every now and then I like sneaking off to a game. How about you?

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