Last week, my family and I headed out to see Nik Wallenda cross Niagara Falls. Luckily, my dad had thought ahead and gotten us a bunch of the free tickets to watch the event from Terrapin Point, the best possible spot on the US side to see all the action. The atmosphere was electric. The crowd was excited, and although there was no music and only a few peddlers hawking their wares, it felt like an old-fashioned carnival. The view, while spectacular…was nothing compared to what the viewers at home were seeing on their television screens.
While folks at home were listening to interviews with Nik Wallenda and hearing cool facts about the Wallendas and Niagara Falls and eating cheap popcorn, my family and I had been sitting in the same spot for over three hours, eating over-priced hamburgers and taking turns getting up to stand behind the chain link fence that separated the spectators from the man of the hour. Television has changed the way that live events operate. Going to a live sporting event used to be about getting closer to the action, but now it seems to be centered around staring at the jumbotron. Of which many were set-up in the State Park for the spectators to watch.
Case and point. My family enjoys supporting the Batavia Muckdogs, a farm team for some major league baseball team. I don’t know the details. The stadium is small, the ticket prices are reasonable, and there isn’t a big screen. The seats, however, are all very close to the action. The crowd is lively, but eager to actually watch the game. For the past two summers, when my former flatmates from Scotland have been over to visit, a Batavia Muckdogs game has always been on the agenda.
Last year, through work, my mom got discounted tickets to a Buffalo Bisons game. We headed into the big city ready to enjoy the baseball game atmosphere we’d been used to in Batavia, but what we found was something very different. It seemed like watching the game was the last thing most of the spectators had on their minds. We were seated so far from the action that it was almost impossible to see anything, and I resorted to watching the big screen. In short, it would have been better to stay at home.
What matters more to you? Getting a good view, or enjoying the atmosphere?