Throwing on your favorite jersey or gear, making sure you have your ticket, tailgating in freezing weather…all important parts of attending a live sporting event. Since none of us have done this in a while, and may not be able to for the coming months, it’s time we outline the 10 commandments of going to a live sporting event.
I. Thou Shalt Pregame to Thy Heart’s Content
This is where it all begins. You can really make or break your entire day here with so many variables to consider. When’s kickoff/first pitch/tipoff/puck drop? What kind of state do I want to be in when I get to my seat? Do I have my flask properly concealed and filled enough to get me through the game?
All of these things need to be considered when determining exactly what you’re throwing back (and how much) during the pregame. Food intake is also a major consideration; do I really need to knock out this third walking taco if I’ve already mentally committed to my second bratwurst? Have to do some serious body algebra in order to avoid a complete black out by game time.
II. Thou Shalt Present Thyself Admirably to the Gate Checker
Once the pregame’s over, it’s go time for the real athletes on the field as well as your ability to present yourself sober enough to actually enter the game. Not only for yourself, but for the ticket workers at the gate. The last thing these poor people need are drunk assholes giving them a hard time.
Keep it straight, throw on some sunglasses to avoid any glossy eye recognition, and ask how your ticket taker’s doing today. Show them your phone/hand them the ticket, agree with them that it’s a beautiful day for a ballgame, and be on your merry way.
Pro tip: don’t get your foot caught on the gate trying to walk in…it may or may not prompt some questions that might end in you watching the game from home. Happened to a friend of mine in college.
III. Thou Shalt Not Dillydally Whilst at the Urinal
Let me foreshadow this commandment by noting I’ve only experienced bathrooms with urinals at live sporting events in my life, so that’s all I can pontificate on at this point. No further comment will be made on this point at this time.
That being said, whether it be first thing on the to do list post-pregame (a must do for me), in intermissions, or during live play, you have to keep things moving in a timely fashion in the baño. A lot of packed, hot, sweaty bodies in a confined space that aren’t performing the most pleasant functions the human body can perform.
Chit chat is fair game, but getting caught up in it is not. Of course we can commiserate at how even we could’ve done better than what we’re seeing out there.
“Bro, did you see that? You gotta be kidding me. I’m honestly not just saying this, I think I could’ve made that catch dude.”
“I was literally thinking the same thing bro, total bullshit.”
Listen, Pissin’ Pete Maravich; you couldn’t and wouldn’t. Keep it moving.
IV. Thou Shalt Not Leave Thy Seat in the Midst of Live Action
Ball’s in the air on a 50 yard bomb downfield? Scorching grounder to third base? A half court heave to end a quarter’s about to hit rim? Don’t you dare move from your seat.
This abominable sin is so disrespectful to your fellow section mates. Would I try and shuffle in front of your driveway when you’re trying to pull out of your garage? Would I block your view when you’re trying to see the birth of your firstborn child? Absolutely not. So don’t even think about getting in my line of vision when my team’s down two runs with the bases chucked in the bottom of the seventh inning, pal.
V. Thou Shalt Have Thy Chosen Form of Payment Ready for Disbursement
How many times have you been in line for beer, pizza, or a pretzel and the schmuck at the front of the line hasn’t even gone to the wallet to get cash or card? Complete buffoonery.
I don’t care if you decide to be wrong and pay with cash (and waste everyone’s time getting change), at least have it at the ready. If you’re a logical person who pays with a credit card, have that bad boy in hand and prepared to tap or swipe as soon as the vendor tells you your total is $84 for two beers and a hot dog.
VI. Thou Shalt Do Thy Best to Buy an Equal Amount of Food & Beverage with Thy Group
This could be a sub-commandment of commandment V. This is really easy to do the smaller your group is that you’re at a game with. Group of four? Perfect. We’ll each buy a round per quarter, and we’re all square. You two want a snack in the third inning and then some nachos after singing the stretch? Cool. I’ll get the snacks now, you get us later. A symphonic economic approach.
We’ve all gone to a game with a group of 8-10; total nightmare scenario for trying to make sure everything comes out semi-even. People naturally eat and drink at different paces. Someone wants a mixed drink instead of beer, another wants a slice of pizza while the other wants a bag of peanuts. Differing prices, differing paces, just a total mess.
You just have to do as best you can to keep it close without being the person who’s doing long division before a food and beer run making sure everyone spends the exact same amount on each other.
VII. Thou Shalt Sing, Cheer, and Generally Participate in In-Game Shenanigans
The worst kind of fan? The unenthusiastic bump on a log. One of the best parts of live sports is being a part of thousands people all rooting for the same thing. Fight songs, organized cheers, and congregated boos are all vital activities to take part in while at a live event.
The best part about being an idiot at a sports game is that most other people are also being idiots. In what other portion of your life can you yell “GO!” at the top of your lungs without being looked at or escorted out from wherever you are?
Live sports are a total shame free zone. Let that freak flag fly and support your team like you should.
VIII. Thou Shalt Make Friends with Other Attendees Within Thy Section
This is a simple one to accomplish, simply by adhering to commandment VII. There’s nothing better than making a few obnoxious statements to an opposing team’s outfielder or batter in the box and hearing some audible chuckles from a few rows behind you. It’s a total vindication of both your fandom and comedic ability.
Once that connection’s made, you’ve established a built in stable of in-game chatter for the rest of the game. Also, should you wish to proceed in such a manner, you’ve got yourself a squad of high five givers and takers every time your team scores a touchdown, hits a three, or takes a home run out of the park. An absolute win win situation.
IX. Thou Shalt Provide the Appropriate Amount of Mockery
Whether it be authentically to the opposing team or sarcastically to your own, mockery is one of the greatest responsibilities as an attendee at a live sporting event. A quarterback starting a game by throwing five incompletions, then finally hitting a receiver on his sixth attempt can illicit a hilarious reaction either way.
There’s nothing better than a knowledgable fan base (and being a part of one) giving a satirical ovation to a shortstop who makes a successful throw to first base after booting the first three balls hit to him earlier in the game. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures that we are awarded when we shell out our hard earned money to watch grown adults who play a game for a living.
X. Thou Shalt Not Leave the Premises Until the Game Result is Final
The end all be all rule. Because of Super Bowl LI, and Tracy McGrady scoring 13 points in 35 seconds, and of course the 1985 World Snooker Championship. It’s never over until it’s over, simple as that.
I’ve been on the wrong end of this one, and it hurts. The feeling of walking away from a stadium and hearing your left behind comrades getting up for your team isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. It’s a virtual stake in the heart as you follow along on your phone and slowly realize what you’re missing. Then the comeback is complete and you feel like a cheap hack celebrating something you had the chance to witness with your own eyes. A completely avoidable situation.
Follow all of the above, and you’ll be sure to have an enjoyable and worthwhile day at the ballpark, stadium, or arena. Hopefully we will all have the chance sooner rather than later to abide by these commandments. Once that chance is presented, make yourself proud and be the best fan you can be for your team.