With the NFL just starting, the MLB in a full-swing playoff race, and the NBA only months away, chances are you're going to end up at a live sporting event in the next few months. Even if it isn't a pro game you might go to a college, or (God forbid) high school game. At the latter you can feel double-creepy for ogling the cheerleaders!
YOU WANT TICKET Much like the Chinese proverb about the sly rabbit that rode a spirit dragon’s back to a Raiders game and got shot in the face for wearing a red hat, you have to have tickets before you go to a sporting event. I could give you countless little tips and hints about picking the right ticket for the right event, most of which I could sum up by saying “stay away from the black dude with the Blu-Blockers and the phrase ‘BYTCH KILLAH’ branded on his forehead, especially if the cardboard sign affixed to his hook-hand says something like ‘free kidney with every third ticket’”, but we here at Something Awful deal in generalizations. As such I’d like to introduce you to Pantsfish’s First Law of Sporting Events, which I will indent and italicize to show how correct I am:
Tickets to ballgames are really easy to find until you yourself are looking for them.
Because of this ticket-buying is almost always the most painful part of going to a game. While there are a number of options available to you none of them are particularly appealing: indeed, in a best case scenario you should plan on rubbing your ass and saying “wow, that hurt” whether you keep your wallet in your back pocket or not. These options are popular among sports fans:
Friends with Season Tickets: This is the best option because it can benefit you in two ways. First, it’s one of the only ways to get free tickets without crab-walking towards Daunte Culpepper with a bag of cocaine hanging out of your ass. Second, if you go to the game and act like the biggest asshole you can, the seats will be open the rest of the season. Season ticket holders are responsible for whoever sits in their seats, so go nuts! Yell curse words at your least favorite players! Throw popcorn at the referees! Crash an SUV full of disposable lighters and fertilizer into the opposing team’s locker room! Just remember: if the evening doesn’t end with “officer, your nightstick just popped my liver” you didn’t have a good enough time. Ticketmaster: Ticketmaster is an amazing business model. By the time you pull up their site, get to where you want to go, and get your tickets ordered, you’ve become their processing-fee-debt-slave and will remain so until you haul 100 times your weight in cotton from their Savannah plantation. Your entire vocabulary will be reduced to “Yase, massuh Fallout Boy”. You’ll come to know your daughter as a silhouette under your man-owner’s tablecloth. You’ll be forced to live in a little shack with 20 other customers, and every time you fuck up a white kid wearing a doo-rag will drive by and hit you in the ear with a Virgin Mobile telephone. Better hope that Packers game was worth it, Toh-beeeehhh, ‘cause you got some grains to harvest ’less you want a rawhide strip runnin’ a snake-race up yo’ back. Scalpers: To deal with scalpers you have to understand scalper psychology. The second a scalper sees you the two neurons he hasn’t committed to “rap lyrics” and “repeating the same sentence over and over” light the Styrofoam peanut he calls a brain on fire. By the time you approach him he has figured out exactly what he wants to do with you, based on the following two criteria:
1. Can I make money off it?
2. Can I stick my dick in it?
These might seem simplistic to you, but scalpers are a skittish, nervous people. Therein lies the problem with buying from them – once you approach one you are pretty much committed to giving him money unless you want him to put a crude skylight in the middle of your forehead. If a scalper is handing you a ticket with his left hand he is undoubtedly devising a way to hide his right in your girlfriend’s vagina, and even then he’s probably capable of aerating your jugular with his hooked, yellow toenails. This brings me to my last point: if you ever hear a scalper say “I be like an eagle, nigga” you’d better be able to run backwards and catch bullets with your teeth.
If you find tickets early your problems are over until gameday, which is when you will have to find the venue and then a place to park your car. This is more difficult than it sounds. Most cities feature “urban planning” that includes a beautiful arena and a total lack of parking within a twenty miles of said arena. While such planning does lead to awesome diversions, such as “refusing to pay the homeless guy who smeared dog feces all over your windshield” and “balancing drinks on your head after the homeless guy pounds a cup holder into your forehead with a brick”, the real fun comes when you find a parking spot.
The city-owned parking garage is a wonderful thing. Since the city only hires people who have lived in the garage for years, you really feel secure leaving one of your biggest investments with an elderly French woman/ex-convict/man who has a what looks to be a Kool-Aid stain on his chin and a glass eye that might actually be an olive (which would explain the huge red pimento hanging off the bottom lid of his good eye). Inevitably the attendants are also very good at shouting parking directions to you. This invaluable service includes lines like “LITTLE MORE, JUST LITTLE MORE TURNING FOR STRAIGHT” and the ever-helpful “GLABBA BLUE RIGHT TURN HOOMPHA”. If anything the $20 you spent for the right to park 40 minutes away from the venue is a motivation fee. When Lurch over in Section D greets you and you can’t tell if his gums are covered in yellow pus or decades-old toothpaste, you should have no trouble with the brisk jog back to the arena.
Finally make it to the venue? Good, because it’s time for...
I have no idea what the hell this is, but I GIS'ed Although this article is dealing with “halves” instead of “stupid increments of imaginary time that could last anywhere from twenty seconds to, theoretically, the rest of eternity,” this article works for baseball, too. The key is time management. With a basketball or football game you can expect to spend three to five hours in the arena, depending on how early you get there, if you want to eat, etc. With baseball, anything goes. A game could last forever. If you’re a satellite subscriber and you don’t believe me, flip to one of those obscure “theme” ESPN channels and see if the third game of the 1989 World Series is playing. It should be, oh, midway through the sixth inning. How do I know this? It’s been that way for over a decade now. People who were born during that game are learning how to drive cars now and it’s still going on.
When you reach the venue the first thing you should do is find your seat. This will save an awkward confrontation between your ass and your neighbor’s nose later in the game, a situation that rarely benefits anyone unless you enjoy playing “corn kernel or nose stud” in the bathroom at halftime. This also leads us into Pantsfish’s Second Law of Sporting Events:
Everyone in the arena but you is a tremendous asshole.
Please note that this is not a generalization. Happy looking white family with kids wearing team jerseys? Assholes. Old woman with a “#1 fan” sign? Asshole. Multiple Sclerosis kid they’re pushing down to the floor for a halftime show where they stick sparklers in his ears and give sorority girls $50 to remove them with their tongues? Assholes, every one of them. Here is a good rule of thumb: if it has a pulse, it is there to make you miserable. Here are a few possible attendees to look out for:
Boorish Home Fan: Boorish Home Fan, also known as a “homer” to sports fans and a “gigantic boring dillweed” to everyone else, is the most common and least harmful person at a ballgame. He simply loves to talk to his neighbors about his favorite team. Inevitably you sit next to him. Topics of conversation might include “the 76ers will be really strong when they get KG to back up Chris Webber”, followed by “why are you laughing, it wasn’t a joke”. Additionally, Boorish Home Fans tend to reek of rotten apples and body odor when they come within six feet of a beer vendor, and love nothing more than to wring their sweat-tinged armpits out into their laps to make tiny kiddie pools for their numerous, screaming children to swim in.
Angry Away Fan: Angry Away Fan is a bit more of a menace because he is constantly drunk. On top of that he is very confrontational, clearly the result of his stepdad making him eat a bowl of glass for “getting him a beer too loud” when he was a kid. His girlfriend is ugly and his kids (if he has any) are wearing jerseys of players who haven’t played for the team in years. One thing is clear from looking at him: his financial trek to your arena involved a long, drawn out conversion process that started with “food stamps”, ended in “dollars,” and stopped at “rough anal sex in a dirty truck stop restroom” somewhere along the way. For a grand example of this type of person attend your NFL team’s next game against the Bengals. You’ll come to associate “who-dey” with the stink of Axe and failure, and possibly the visage of an Ohioan stashing his infant daughter in his asshole to save money on tickets, as well as adult diapers.
Ugly Teenage Girl Who Knows Nothing About Sports: Ugly Teenage Girl Who Knows Nothing About Sports, who I will refer to as “Dakotah” after this, understands only one thing: that clapping and screaming pardons you from knowing dick about the sport your 40-year-old boyfriend paid $50 for you to see. Again, football is the perfect sport to witness this: so many screams will escape young Dakotah’s lips you’ll swear someone grabbed her short hairs and pulled until he heard a really wet tearing noise. Her sweaty little A-cups will bounce as she leaps from her seat, cheering for the home team after they fail to get a crucial yard on a third down. Her tooti-frooti lipliner will spray all over the back of your head as the quarterback completes a backfield pass for negative yardage. Her pep-filled lungs will wheeze-wheeze-wheeze with glee after you steal a kitchen knife from Alejandro in the food court and jam it repeatedly into her rib cage. All’s fair in love and sports, baby, especially when you’re kicking a 16-year-old girl in the snatch so hard it sounds like you’re walking through a puddle of mud and moist skin.
Obese Man Who Hates The Sound Of Cheering: While his name makes his hatred of cheering clear, nobody understands why Obese Man Who Hates The Sound Of Cheering came to the ballgame in the first place. Some people think he’s a good-natured fan who simply hates the audacity of these animals who like to enjoy themselves, but I submit a slightly different theory: he’s so fat he went to a game in the mid-nineties and has been unable to move from his seat ever since. This would certainly explain why he has the general shape and color of a sun-bleached Christmas ornament, as well as other fans’ tendency to fly towards him if they come within a twenty-foot radius of his seat. Some people might call him a staunch home-team fan with hypersensitive hearing, but I know him by a different name: King Sun Faggot.
After locating your seat and introducing yourself to the cast of characters you’ll share your game experience with, it will be close to game time. But wait! Your pregame experience isn’t over yet! Several things will happen before things get rolling, which I will illustrate using another bulleted list (often referred to as a “fish crutch”):
- An opening video on the venue’s big screen will introduce the home team’s players. Often these videos will have themes. For instance, the video could be called “Hard At Work”, with your favorite players dressed as construction workers, or “Supah Heroes Against Racism”, in which some of the team’s top players battle “evil” caricatures of common racial stereotypes. The Indiana Pacers recently took a political slant, employing videos of Jermaine O’Neal sucking money out of a breast, which is covered in diamonds and labeled “Indianapolis... OR IS IT?!?” Whatever the case get ready for some action, because nothing says “sports” like “grown men dressed in Halloween costumes and fondling their genitals in front of a 70’s-era blue screen”.
- An attractive young woman will sing the National Anthem to the crowd. While looks are important, her voice is paramount. To make sure you have a top-quality national anthem singer, you need to be sure of one thing: that she is capable of wavering her voice. Voice-wavering is the new standard in anthem-singing, and if the pretty young subject doesn’t sound like an angry goat farting into a broken record player you’re getting gypped. If that girl wants to make it in the music world she’d better sound like Alicia Keyes getting shot in the neck with a nail gun.
- The away team will be introduced. The home crowd, doing their best to “play the part”, will boo accordingly. This will open the floor to the opposing team, who will do their best to quiet the booing home crowd with a number of lively taunts, including “you stink”, “you suck”, and “My sister often uses my favorite shirt as a tampon (can someone give me a ride back to Ohio)”.
Before you know it the first half will be over. After everyone else clears out head to the entry foyer and get ready, because it’s time for...
Oh, so that's what a Sporting venues, as a rule, are crammed full of sweaty people and expensive things. This is in sharp contrast to, say, Nigeria, where there are millions of people but you can still buy ten pounds of dog meat for a handful of buttons and a severed mule ear, or Connecticut, a state that recently employed a $10,000 “three-fifths tax” so its six permanent residents will feel safe when they visit the bowling alley. If you are quick on your feet this could be your time to shine, as evidenced by Pantsfish’s Third Law of Sporting Events:
People love people who point out minor annoyances in a humorous (but relevant!) manner.
This being your first “big” sporting event your wit may need a little guidance. If you find yourself stalling at an opportunity to fire off a one-liner, use one of these preprepared comments and wait for the laughs to roll in! Then mail me a check. I don’t do this shit for free, hombre.
Server: What would you like on your hot dog, sir?
You: How about the arm and the leg of the last guy who ordered one!
At the souvenir booth:
Cashier: Your total comes to (price), sir.
You: Hoo-buddy! I hope my kid wears this jersey when he’s selling crack on the street because I spent so much money here there’s no way he can go to college! Or the pediatrician!
Waiting in line for the restroom:
Fellow fan: Jeez, man, my teeth are floating. I wonder when this line will let up.
You: Huh? I can’t hear you because I had to pee so bad my bladder exploded out my ears and they almost fined me for operating a pee fountain without a permit!
Laying on the floor while server/cashier/fellow fan attempts to forcibly shove a napkin dispenser/regulation basketball/Chrysler Lebaron up your anus:
You: Man, I don’t remember ordering the VIP package!
After spending two crack vials’ worth of cash on a plate of “nachos” that may or may not really be a fresco painting of a sick cat’s litterbox, it will be time to ass-shuffle back to your seat. At some point a man brandishing a “promotional blanket” will approach you and ask you to sign up for a credit card. While a 300% APR might seem reasonable for a threadbare swaddling cloth with an iron-on team logo duct taped to its side, it is in your best interest to shoot him down. “Excuse me, but you just wiped your feet on my nachos” is a good way to take control of the conversation.
At this point you may be wondering why the teams on the floor have been replaced by a squirming mass of sparkles, eyeliner, and breasts. Your first impression may be to jump the barricade and “investigate things further” by “probing” them with your “blood-engorged genitals”. Do not do this! Those “things” are cheerleaders! They have scruples, and they will not allow you to demean them unless you happen to be seven feet tall, black, and a millionaire. Remember: just because it smells like tuna doesn’t mean you can stick a hook in it and gouge its eyes out with an old spoon you found behind the ashtray in the parking lot.
Before the game fires back up you will likely be treated to some sort of halftime show. In baseball this is often called the “seventh inning stretch”, and usually features one of the television announcers using a Krazy Straw to snort novelty cocaine from Mickey Mantle’s hollowed-out skull. Other sports are capable of entertaining people under the age of eighty, and thus can afford to offer less entertaining fare at the half. You may see children, pyrotechnics, “mascot fights”, or a combination of the three. This could be a boring combination, like a fake baseball match between mascots and a local little league team, or a great one, like a grown man firing roman candles from the ass of his fursuit while a group of blindfolded children attempt to escape the arena. If I can offer another rule of thumb, I would submit this: anything that could end in a woman cradling a child-sized lump of charcoal and screaming “my baby” is probably worth your time.
Settled back down? Done trying to figure out of that vinegar smell is your $8.75 hot dog or the dude beside you’s lice farm? Good, because it’s almost over! Let’s finish our guide at...
The water got bigger? my sand castle was destroyed and we had to move. Who did this?
The only thing better than sports is making fun of sports. Pregame Wrapup, the Internet's premiere biweekly sports humor column, is both educational and amusing... kind of like that birthday clown who took you on your journey to manhood! SPORTS!