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Streamlining the Budget

Most times, I write to educate, but sometimes I write to rant. Budgets are tight for many people today, but we are still entitled to a little entertainment. We have our video games, our gadgetry, our telephones and who doesn’t have a flat screen, high def television these days. Some of us bowl. Some take martial arts or play volleyball or are satisfied watching our children be little dance or sports stars.

I could tear into the waste that people engage in these days, but everyone is entitled to a little bit. But what of going to a stadium to see a professional team play. Here’s where the rant begins. We could sit in our living rooms or basements, invite a a couple of people over, buy a few snacks or pizzas and make it a social event. In this case, we’ll have front row seats and see all the replays in slo-mo. Traveling is minimal and time is conserved. This is the cheap way to go, but not a bad way to go – an excellent move from a budgeting perspective.

In my opinion, someone on a tight budget SHOULD NOT physically go to a professional sporting event. First, you almost have to make a whole day of it, depending on when the game begins – the time factor. Most spectators will drive or sit in traffic for a couple of hours – the gas factor. When we get to the stadium, we have to pay for parking in one way or another – the parking fee factor. Unfortunately, most parking is not at the stadium but rather a quarter mile away. There will be some who take public transportation to the stadium. It’s more convenient but it still costs money.

After trekking to the event, we are then treated like suspects. Sometimes, we’re patted down. Our bags are opened, the caps are taken off our bottled water, we walk through a metal detector, and now, look up, as many stadium are installing face recognition systems. But you’re in, right?

If we felt claustrophobic on the train or in traffic, now we’re sandwiched among 50,000 people, 10% of whom will be driunk and rowdy in an hour. If you have kids and the home team is not perfoming, cover their ears, because the tapestry of profanity permeates the air waves. And speaking of air waves, if one cell phone near your head can be carcinogenic, I can only imagine what 50,000 cell phones in a relatively tight oval will do for your health.

Hungry yet? How about one of those sodas and a dog? Five dollars? Forget it. I’ll take a pretzel. $4.75. And you know you want a tray of fries too.

Your team’s doing great, and the sounds of the crowd are awesome. That’s the experience for which we were all looking. Was it worth it? Yes, sure it was – if only I didn’t have to leave the stadium at the same time as at least 30,000 other people and travel back home. If only there were a way to teleport to our front doorsteps.

This author indubitably loves good competition and the roar of the crowd, but unless there is another motivating factor providing the impetus to jump all those hurdles, including the not insubstantial financial hurdle, I cannot condone this waste of money, especially as a bankruptcy attorney.

Invite your family or friends over to watch a game, take a hike, visit the local raceway, golf, ride your bike, help your neighbor with a project or just go bring a drink over and talk to him while he works on his car, bake a cake, paint a room, throw the ball, fly a kite, and keep more dough in your pocket. There are few good reasons to spend hundreds of dollars to watch millionaires complete in person, but there are a plethora of good reasons to watch the game on television and then spend the residual time in a healthier way other then maneuvering through traffic.