Our bus pulled into the parking lot. I remember being full of excitement. I was going to see my first NFL football game, the St. Louis Cardinals versus the Baltimore Colts in old Memorial Stadium in Baltimore. I didn’t know much about either team, but I wasn’t about to pass up a chance to go to a real game.
Walking into the stadium, I could barely keep up with the older kids on my pee wee football team or the coaches or parents serving as chaperones. My head was on a swivel taking in everything. I was in heaven, salivating watching the vendors selling soda, popcorn and the Game Day Magazine. I fully expected to turn a corner in the stadium and walk right into Colts Quarterback Bert Jones, the one player I knew anything about going into the day.
When we made it to the top of the stadium and walked through the opening to our section, I couldn’t believe how the field jumped out at me. The stadium was out of a different era, but to me it was a beautiful, old castle and was going to be my home for the next three hours. I didn’t care that the players looked like ants on the field. I was like a kid who gets his first pair of glasses and can see for the first time. (A couple years later, my older cousin would pull me out of school and take me to a Monday night Buffalo Bills game. I was shocked this time at how loud a stadium could get.)
Sing for me
My first show on Broadway wasn’t much different than my first football game. I was an adult this time, but knew nothing about the show. I was still excited to be there in person. My girlfriend, now wife, had asked me to go see The Phantom of the Opera, her favorite show. The story was not a favorite of mine, too much melodrama for my tastes, but I still got caught up in the experience.
Of course, when the music started, I was mesmerized. When the Phantom demands that Christine sing for him, I jumped out of my seat. Broadway shows, concerts, and sporting events have about as much in common as a school choir has with a pop star, but they still bring out the same excitement.
Live or Memorex
There’s nothing like a live event. Even if you’re seated in the nosebleed seats, you hear the timbre in the performer’s voice, the interaction of the musicians, the crash of the players and the tackle on the field, the craziness of the fans. You’re there in real time. Television can replace a lot of things, but it can’t replicate the feeling of looking out over an arena or concert hall.
Questions, questions, questions
I still love going to shows, concerts and sporting events, but unfortunately life gets in the way of my enjoyment. I can’t spend hours tailgating and fighting traffic to get home. The costs of many shows and sporting events are out of this world too, forcing me to be selective on the events that I decide to attend.
According to SeatGeek data, the average price of a ticket to a Broadway show is $189. Broadways’s national trade association claims that regular ticket prices range from $20 to $145. No matter what: it’s still an investment. Professional sports can be costly too. The average ticket price for an NFL game is $151, according to SeatGeek data. A Major League Baseball ticket will run you less, but can still be costly.
Here’s a question you would never ask at a Broadway show, but I ask myself often at sporting events: Is it wrong to leave early to fight traffic? Do you leave events early or stay until the end? What kind of fan does that make you? If you stay until the very end, does that make you a better fan?