Live and In-Person
There is a certain energy that can only be achieved by packing tens of thousands of amped people into one place to watch some sort of spectacle go down. This goes for any sport. It isn’t possible to replicate through a television screen what being at an event like a Chicago Blackhawks game at The United Center or a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park or a Seattle Seahawks game at The Link is like.
This is always cool. Whether you’re a patriot or an anarchist, there is nothing like a live version of The Star Spangled Banner in a stadium with thousands of other Americans to get the juices flowing before a major sporting event.
Where else can you party in a parking lot in open view of the authorities prior to entering a large, organized social event?
You can’t quite tell the same story about a fight you saw on Youtube versus one you saw in person. Even slow-motion instant replays at home don’t do justice to the athleticism you can see live at an NFL game.
A trip to the restroom at a typical NFL stadium can mean missing the entirety of an 80-yard-drive. The lines at the restroom during halftime (this includes the ten minutes or so on either end of the break) forces you to choose between missing the drive and standing in the soul-crushing line.
Any of these guys:
Tall fan in front of you.
Beer-spiller just behind and above you.
Guy in the middle of the row who needs to get up constantly, often during key points in the game.
Guy or Gal sitting next to you talking on their phone throughout the entire game.
They aren’t recliners unless you are filthy rich or know a guy who knows a guy and you work your way into an Elitist box-type-situation.
Check the weather report before you go. While some fans seem to in some unexplainable perverse sort of way (see Green Bay Packers fans) actually enjoy horrific weather conditions, for most of us a storm approaching the stadium makes you second-guess the decision to attend the game live.
THE SPORTS BAR
No Tickets Required
It won’t cost you a penny to up and wander into your favorite sports bar.
It’s not live and in-person but there is a kind of moderated, healthy energy at a good sports bar. It’s small enough for a kind of comradery to emerge. There’s a punch to these places during the game that most of the time makes for a fun Sunday outing.
Drinks, Drinks, Drinks
This is about options and outside of the most fully-stocked man-caves you have far more options here than you would at home or at the stadium, with the price-tag somewhere in the middle. Plus, chances of the bar running out of your favorite drink is minimal so a buzzed halftime-drive to the corner store isn’t something you have to chance. An added extra is that there is a bartender who isn’t halfway across a stadium right there to serve you your drinks.
Acceptable Place to Shout Obscenities
Sure, this happens at the stadium and also in some homes during football Sundays. Only at the sports bar you can bank on a complete lack of children’s-ears in the bar and there is a freedom in that that doesn’t exist elsewhere.
Easy Exit Post-Game
When the game ends you can leave the bar without being caught up in the slow-motion mass exodus that makes you question the existence of God that occurs at stadiums.
No Assigned Seats
This can be frustrating if you are running late because you went hard on Saturday night. While a good sports bar will mount TVs for viewing at just about any point you can potentially land at in the establishment, there are scenarios where you end up in a less than ideal seating situation and this takes away from the experience.
Acceptable Place to Shout Obscenities
This is your classic double-bind here. It can be a pro but it can also be a con when the foul language is a constant or comes from someone with little knowledge around the tact of a well-placed obscenity.
This is the worst possible scenario at a sports bar. Some of these places get packed on Sunday and it is possible to go to the sports bar and not be able to watch the actual game you came to enjoy.
Short of inviting the wrong people there are no issues when it comes to rowdy obnoxious types or know-it-alls or cell-phone junkies interrupting the experience. Choose your crew wisely and if that somehow fails you get to make executive decisions as to who stays and who gets the boot. Be a man.
No lines and no disgusting anonymous human waste to wade through. At home, the trip to the restroom is easily accomplished during your standard NFL commercial break.
While there are stadiums with great options and while you may think your neighborhood bar serves the best wings in the city, you can plan and prep and create anything you want from home. You may even be living the dream and have a wife who knows her way around the kitchen and supports this sort of thing – lucky bastard.
This is a non-issue when you stay home for the game.
Lack of Social Energy
This can be a very real problem when watching the game at home. If your friend Dave has to cancel last second and you end up with just Ron from Accounting who is socially inept and your wife’s friend’s husband Karl who turns out to be appallingly racist or something, the social math just doesn’t come together and you can end up with an uncomfortable feel in your suddenly claustrophobic man-cave.
Wives, kids, bursting water pipes, floods, Jehovah’s Witnesses, wives, kids…. We’ve all either experienced firsthand or at least heard the, “I-actually-didn’t-catch-the-onside-kick-and-the-subsequent hook-and-ladder-prayer-on-fourth-down-and-beyond-infinity-best-sports-moment-of-all-time because Junior-took-a-header-into-the-curio-cabinet-thirty-seconds-before-it-all-happened-and-it-required-37-stitches sort of thing that inevitably occurs when watching the game at home.
Regardless of where you choose to watch the game, NFL Sundays are amazing and we should appreciate and enjoy them. We at Lane Violation will take an NFL Sunday – whether at the stadium, the sports bar or at home – over just about any other cultural event the world over. Have fun with it and try all three options. You really can’t go wrong.