Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Free Tickets? Well, Maybe...

Living near Atlanta gives me access to an abundance of elite sporting events. Professional and college baseball, football, basketball, and golf, for starters. Free or cheap tickets are sometimes available. Having been to several hundred events in my life, I’m currently at the point where accepting every free ticket isn’t necessary, or even an option. Working fifty hours a week, tending to the needs of three busy children (and one wife), living paycheck to paycheck, and helping with household chores leaves little time. Thus with little free time and money, I’m more selective on how I spend them.

Done right, attending a sporting event in downtown Atlanta takes at least six hours. Traffic is always a consideration. If I can’t go early, to take my time to soak up the pregame atmosphere, it’s almost not worth it. To show up as the game is beginning, or after it’s started, isn’t worth the time commitment. I go to so few football and basketball games that I hate to leave early.

Another reason sporting events aren’t as attractive is the state of sports these days. Athletes are overpaid, coddled, and cocky. Forgetting fundamentals, they sacrifice team while trying to make the highlight reel. Stadiums blare rap music and flash bad graphics.

Some ticket offers are a no brainer: The Masters (or the occasional PGA Championship), the Chickfila Bowl or SEC Championship Game, NFL or MLB playoffs, or the World Series. I hadn’t been to a Georgia game since 1985, so I traded Tech/Kansas tickets for UGA/Coastal Carolina tickets. Likewise, a chance to go back to an Auburn, Alabama, or Tennessee game would be enticing.

Braves games are cheap enough for me to pick and choose the games I attend. Decisions are often made based on opponent, promotion, and day of the week. The less crowded weekday night games are best. Day games are hot (sunburn) and often crowded. I was fortunate enough to be given tickets to the Friday night Bobby Cox number retirement ceremony, which was well worth the inconvenience of leaving work early to battle traffic.

Braves games in September are fun: the pennant race, cooler weather, and fewer fans. Unfortunately, with school in session and two boys playing baseball, it’s rarely an option.

Saturday we left home at 7:50 am to drive to the Georgia game. Didn’t get home until 6:45 pm. Even with free tickets and parking, we still spent forty dollars on food…a fortune to a cheapskate like me. Sunday my sister called with free Braves tickets, less than an hour before first pitch. With four family members studying and looking forward to 4 pm church, I had to pass.

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