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viewpoint

Response to “Infants charge”

| Thursday, October 29, 2015

I read Steve Sweeney’s letter “Infant charge” in Tuesday’s edition of The Observer with interest. Like Steve, my wife and I are both 2006 graduates, and I’m also a legacy student who enjoys the chance to come back and cheer on the Irish every year. My first daughter was born in 2013, and when we made plans to come to that year’s Navy game, I was at first indignant over the infant charge. $80 for a three-month old? Notre Dame’s avarice knows no bounds. Not wanting to subject our daughter to poor weather or buy her the most expensive nap of her life, we got a sitter.

Now that I have a second daughter and have come to three home games without them (including this year’s Texas game), I’ve realized Notre Dame Stadium isn’t like the other venues Steve described for two reasons. First, most professional sports teams’ stadiums have individual seats where there is plenty of room on a lap. Notre Dame Stadium does not — the crowded benches often hardly leave room for me, much less my children. Those stadiums often have extensive lounges, facilities, heated apparel shops and the like for parents whose children need a respite from the weather. Notre Dame Stadium does not.

Secondly, and I think more importantly, there is no feasible way to enforce a two-year age limit. Airlines have plenty of time at check-in to enforce their policy. Theme parks can take the time at the admissions gate — there’s no rush to get in. Yet in the 30 minutes preceding kickoff, 80,000 fans have to get in the stadium, often in poor weather. It’s hardly the place for checking birth certificates.

Which, of course, would be necessary. With the face-value ticket prices accelerating yearly and the secondary market skyrocketing, you mean to tell me some fans wouldn’t try to pass their three- or four-year-old off as a two-year-old? With that kind of economic incentive, I wouldn’t blame them. I’m sure most fans wouldn’t want to be the ones getting that kid’s sneakers in the back every time C.J. Prosise runs for a first down.

The real problem here is not the infant policy, it’s the ticket prices, which have quintupled since I went to my first game. Were the prices more reasonable, I wouldn’t mind paying to bring my daughters for part of the game, but the $500 price tag for my family of four this year was simply too high. Families with children of any age should be outraged. No doubt the University is merely keeping pace with its competitors and other entertainments, but it makes it a lot harder on alumni families who want to bring their children back to wake up the echoes.

Dan Reynolds
class of 2006, ACE class of 2008

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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