I bought my first set of season tickets yesterday to a professional sport - as you might expect, this was a real watershed moment for me. Now granted, dropping a dime a game to watch the Nets from the cheap seats at the Meadowlands isn’t quite the same as sitting courtside with Jack Nicholson screaming at Violet Palmer about Kobe getting hacked, but for now it’ll have to do.
The reason I bring this up is because I faced a critical decision when trying to decide how much to spend on tickets - splurge and sit with all the other corporate “casual” fans, or be cheap and sit up in the rafters with the hardcore fans. I came to the realization that I can’t sit with casual fans who care nothing about the sport - on the bus ride over to the last Nets game on Sunday night, I overheard two guys debating the relative merits of Dennis Kucinich and Christopher Dodd. Are you ****ing kidding me? You’re on your way to watch a playoff game, and you’re debating politics? And then of course there were the two guys who didn’t know where the Meadowlands are, hadn’t ever been to a Nets game, couldn’t name a single Net, and didn’t know what the series was at. But I’m sure they had better tickets than I did.
So it’s probably a good thing that I didn’t end up sitting near any of those people during the game. I would have exploded if, during a Vinsanity reverse dunk, someone started pontificating about global warming rather than jumping out of their seat and going wild. A Cal related example relates to the Oregon game during the 2003 season. I was in attendance with a few fraternity brothers as well as a few large black men that I like to keep around as company in case trouble arises. (I mean, you never know.) During the game the team fell into an early hole, which the moron behind me took as an opportunity to prove how smart he was by saying Tedford was being outcoached, he always said so and thought so, and there was no way we’d win. Never mind that we were in the midst of a 10-1 regular season and Rodgers would become a first round pick - let’s ignore what happened after the regular season - this guy had to bring everyone around him down. I did manage to get the guy to leave in shame at halftime when I called him out, told him to stfu, and no one wanted him there. This got those other people around me to speak up (as well as my backup who said he’d have my back in a fight, but wouldn’t be happy about it), and you get the point. Don’t be a non-fan, or a downer.
What I propose as a solution is that there be a test to attend a playoff game (can’t leave the corporate folk out of regular season games, or teams wouldn’t ever make any money on tickets after all), and if you fail, all of the people in the cheap seats get to throw and/or pour their beer on you should you try and attend anyway. Also you should have to wear a big scarlet letter-type deal that says, “I am not a real fan. I am a corporate tool who has no interest in sports but came along because Desperate Housewives is in reruns and I like to try and do masculine things at least twice a year.”
To that end, I propose these questions (point value in parentheses, minimum of 70 needed for entry):
1. Name at least 40% of the home team’s starting lineup. (6 points for 40%, +1 for each additional member up to 10 for the whole lineup, or four additional people, whichever comes first)
2. What is the series currently at? (10)
3. Who has home field/court/ice advantage? (10, +4 if they know in what game the underdog claimed that advantage)
4. Name as many former members of the home team as possible. (2 each, up to 10)
5. How much have you spent on tickets and other team-related merchandise this season? (Amount/10)
6. When was the last time the home team won a championship? (10, 6 for being in the correct decade)
7. Do you intend to badmouth the home team in any way? (10 if no, -5 for yes, except in Philadelphia where yes is also worth 10)
8. Before this year, when was the last time the home team made the playoffs? (10)
9. What was the team’s record this year? (10)
10. Is there any acceptable reason to leave the game early? (10 if no, -20 if yes)
I believe that’s pretty comprehensive. You get the point - playoffs aren’t for people who are part wimp and part pussy; that’s a wussy, my friend. Weed them out with this quiz, and remember, enjoy the game. Go Bears.