There’s nothing like the experience of being in stadium on game day

Before I get into all the reasons attending a live sports event is better than watching it on television, please remember that my co-worker is arguing that you should voluntarily stay cooped up in your house where most of you have been trapped for months.

If that isn’t the biggest argument to get outside and enjoy sports and life in person once it is allowed, I don’t know what is.

Personally, my two favorite professional sports to watch in person are college football and Major League Baseball. I am a Penn State football season ticket holder and have traveled around the country to watch my favorite MLB team, the Oakland Athletics.

I’ll get into the reasons why watching Penn State football live at Beaver Stadium is better than watching it on television first since more readers can relate to that.

For many people attending a Nittany Lions game, the experience starts several hours before the contest. You won’t see the team buses come to the stadium or have James Franklin give you a high five as he walks past you on TV. There’s the possibility of having friends over to your house and enjoying a nice spread of food, but nothing matches doing the same thing with Beaver Stadium over your shoulder.

Once you are inside the stadium, you’ll get even more of that atmosphere. There’s the Blue Band, fellow fans you only see seven or eight times a year and the opportunity to see the players be themselves in warmups trying to fire up the crowd.

When the game starts, you become part of it. I have been told once or twice in my life that screaming at the television won’t make anyone hear it, but at Beaver Stadium, with 100,000 of your friends doing the same thing, you can impact the game. It might just lead to a wasted timeout or a false start, but you certainly won’t accomplish that by sitting on your couch.

While the people at home are watching commercials, people at the game are entertained by the Nittany Lion dancing to “Thriller” or getting the chance to see famous Penn State graduates on the field.

One of my greatest memories that will stick with me the rest of my life is Tamba Hali’s sack of Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith and Scott Paxson falling on the ball in 2005 as I fell over into my brother and father celebrating in our seats with nearly 110,000 other raucous fans. I doubt the experience would have been the same if I had spilled some buffalo chicken dip on the carpet celebrating instead.

Of course, I’m sure you’ll read about weather, crowds, lines and seating being uncomfortable on the other side of this page. Those are things my grandfather worried about and why he eventually let me transfer his Penn State tickets into my name while he watched from home. I can understand that viewpoint from the elderly or those with small children, but as a 37-year-old with no kids, I would never give up the live experience.

Speaking of experiences, as an A’s fan in a state with only National League teams, I got the chance to travel to many different stadiums to see them play growing up before I finally made several trips to Oakland.

My family scheduled vacations around the A’s schedule, and we got to see a lot of neat things we would never have seen if I never left the couch.

That brings me to another great memory, catching my one and only foul ball at an MLB game during my first trip to Oakland. It was hit by Scott Hatteberg of “Moneyball” fame, and on television I’m sure it wasn’t even a blip on the radar. To me, because I was at the game, it’s a treasured possession I eventually got signed and put in a case.

Michael Boytim can be reached at mboytim@altoonamirror.com. Follow him on Twitter @BoytimMichael


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