Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014's Resolution Fulfillment

It is time again to check on how I did in fulfilling my annual resolution. One word: success. Let me explain exactly how I mean.

Ever since the first skybox suites were installed in Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, I've held steadfastly that they were not for me. My time as a student (7 years) solidified this belief as I wanted to feel and breathe the atmosphere. And even as a graduate, I continued for a season to sit among the students before migrating back to the upper-west side stands 14 years ago (the area in which I sat before college going back to the age of about 7).

While the upper-west seats were a bit sterile after my days in the student section, they were still in the elements of both weather and populace. Upgrades in recent years to include new, more glamorous suites did not sway my belief. It wasn't about a rejection of luxury per se; it was somewhat about staying true to the experience (I might as well be at home for being in a suite) and a lot about NOT being like or around those in the suites. On this latter point, there are three facets.

The first problem is these people tend to be snobs. This is perhaps the biggest single issue I have with the suites. The second problem is my perception that those in the suites don't actually watch the game much. It is easy to become distracted by the booze and the food and the conversation. The people in the suites might as well be at some pool party.

The first two problems relate to the third problem. Being in them is like playing some kind of game, but the rules don't make any sense to me. They're being made up by all the wrong people. I mean no one makes them up. They seem to make themselves up. You cannot have alcohol in the stadium at OU. In fact there are strict rules about alcohol throughout the publicly-owned, state university. But you can have it in the suites. So the guy sitting in the blazing heat or blistering cold can't have a beer, but the guy asking the attendant to adjust the thermostat can sip a bourbon.

Getting back to the resolution--what has changed? As surprising as it was for me, at some point this football season I reversed my position on where I would prefer to sit. This change of heart was gradual at first and then sudden in completion. To be sure I was not seduced by the lure of even better improvements to come. In fact there are perhaps as many amenities for the regular seats as their are for suite people in the latest plans. And it is not just that I can see the advantages of suites; I would actually prefer to be in one under certain conditions. Namely, those conditions include I don't have to endure the problems I still have with suite people.

But just as I don't want to associate with my stereotypical view of who frequents a suite, I have grown quite tired of being around the typical fan. So basically I want to watch a game in person with people of my choosing. What has soured me on those in the stands? One word: ignorance. I am tired of the following (to be sure, I have been guilty of each of these myself at one time or another):

  • People who think the other team and their fans are evil, dumb, undeserving, rude, or any other negative quality rather than basically equivalent to themselves as a whole and on average. 
  • People who indignantly and vocally question every thing short of perfect success.
  • People who don't know the rules of the game--to a ridiculous fault. You do not have to be an expert, but appreciate what you don't know.
  • People who always think they are getting screwed by the refs.
  • People who think good coaching consists of yelling, getting mad, "giving them a good butt chewing" at halftime, etc.
  • People who think that good player play includes never fumbling (the ol' try harder approach to solving a random phenomenon), never being out-manned or out-talented, and perfection in all its many other forms. 
  • People who support concussions for players. Oh, they never say it that way. The way they express it is to become visibly irate when one of their players is flagged for an illegal hit. Apparently, dangerously injurious behavior is "part of football"--at least it is when one's own player is applying the hit.
  • People who cheer this. It is theft in the least, and it is potentially criminal negligence that could lead to severe injury or death. For the unfortunate person on the ground the impact would be about the equivalent of having a football thrown at his head at 70 miles per hour from a few feet away.
I could go on and on, but it would get even more petty and unfair. Perhaps it is not them; it is me. But regardless it seems that after 176 home games attended in a row, I have changed my mind on where I would prefer to sit. Now to just come up with spare $100,000 a year or so to pay for my preference ...