My name is Dave and I really like going to sporting events. I’m a die-hard sports fan in my late 20’s who really enjoys the atmosphere of being at games both big and small. I’m currently engaged and will be getting married to a really awesome girl who likes attending games with me (that’s what you call a good sign) in October 2015.
I grew up in Salisbury, Maryland, a college town located between the bottom of Delaware and that little piece of Virginia everybody forgets about. The 30,000 person town had, frankly, not much to offer aside from the Purdue chicken factory filling the air with the thick, warm scent of manure on hot summer days. During my third grade year, the South Atlantic League’s Delmarva Shorebirds moved to town. The team was a Montreal Expos Single-A minor league affiliate, later transferred to the Baltimore Orioles. My dad’s company had season tickets on the third base line and we went to games seemingly every week. I have no idea how often it actually was, but it felt like we were there all the time watching Orlando Cabrera or Calvin Pickering or Ryan Minor face off against the Savannah Sand Gnats or the Hickory Crawdads. Those green third-row seats behind the dugout in a 5,200 person stadium where the in-game entertainment consisted of “Sherwood Automotive presents: Can this Drunk Girl Throw a Ball from the Outfield into a Convertible Parked on Home Plate?” is where my love of live sporting events and all their attendant silliness and pageantry began.
In 7th grade my family moved to Alexandria, Virginia (a massive upgrade) and I spent nearly every summer during high school and college working at Camp Lawrence, and all-boys island camp on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. While being on an island with no TV every summer took me away from watching baseball and grew me apart from the game, I made lifelong friends and had the best summers anyone could ask for. I’d make that trade any day.
In 2009 I graduated from the University of South Carolina with a degree in print journalism, then moved to Boston for a year before heading to New York City. Though I’m a Boston sports fan at heart, one of my favorite things about living in New York is that there are a ton of local teams and there’s always something to check out, even when the teams here aren’t any good (like all of them right now).
I’ve attended dozens of NBA, MLB and college football games over the years, plus a handful of NFL, NHL, college basketball, college baseball and various other games, a few Broadway shows and plenty of concerts. There are games where I just want to see the action and pay close attention to everything that happens, and some where I want to have a few cold ones, wander around the stadium a little bit and just have a good time (baseball games are great for this). Some games have been classics, some have been total blowouts, but I consider a good game to be secondary to a good atmosphere and a fun time with good company.
One of my favorite things about going to games is the rush of getting a good seat for a decent price, something I’ll dive into further in a later post. I almost always buy my tickets through StubHub, and have gotten quite good at knowing exactly when to pounce on a good bargain. Sometimes, I’ll pay a premium for awesome seats (or get lucky and get them through a coworker or friend or whatever), other times I’ll be in the nosebleeds, but I usually wind up somewhere in between. At NBA games, for example, I usually wind up in one of the first rows of the balcony or highest rows of a lower-level section (again, I’ll expand on when and where the best deals are found another day).
In terms of atmosphere, you’ll never beat a night time SEC football game at Williams-Brice Stadium against a big opponent. That said, the two best actual games I’ve ever attended are Super Bowl XLIX in Glendale, AZ, where my fiancée and I watched the Patriots barely hold on to win their fourth ring on a last-minute goal line interception by undrafted rookie free agent Malcolm Butler (after which I straight-up fainted in my seat and blacked out for about 30 seconds while completely sober), and Game 4 of the 2009 Celtics-Magic Second Round playoff series in which Big Baby Glen Davis, of all people, hit a buzzer-beater to win the game for the Celtics. I attended with three friends the day after my college graduation in seats directly behind the Magic bench (it helps to have a generous cardshark as a close friend). After Davis hit the shot, he ran back down the court directly into a small child who had been sitting courtside. The next day, the kid’s dad said something vaguely racist on TV about Big Baby, who brushed it off and apologized for running into the kid the day after that. I bring up this exchange because it caused the shot to be replayed endlessly on SportsCenter for days on end afterwards, and this photo was on the cover of the next morning’s USA Today:
The insane person in the Celtics jersey and white backwards hat is yours truly. Moments like that are why I love going to games.
Thanks for visiting wenttothat.com, come see us again sometime. And while you’re at it, go to a game soon.