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Not how I roll

Chris Allen | Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When Dayne Crist failed to run the ball into the end zone on Notre Dame’s first drive Saturday against Navy, the die-hard Irish faithful sitting around me nearly coughed up their gourmet California Rolls in disgust.

Yes, you read that right. Sushi, at a football game, in the same stadium where the famously rugged and tough New York Jets and New York Giants play.

Sushi at a sporting event? At a professional sporting event? At a football game? That’s not how I roll.

It seems to be the trend in athletic stadiums these days to cater to the upscale crowd. The average Joe who values his tickets and lives and dies by his team has fallen out of favor as professional sports have become increasingly corporate. Perhaps the biggest issue that people have with this trend is rising ticket prices.

But I’ll leave that for another column.

For my purposes, let’s assume the average Joe has his ticket and is through the stadium gates. The atmosphere that meets him inside New Meadowlands Stadium (or the new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, or any number of new sports palaces) isn’t a sporting event anymore — it’s a glorified cocktail party. On my way to my seat at the Navy game, I passed a well-furnished and stylish bar, a sushi station, a soup vendor, a Food Network concession and a little nook that resembled a fancy Italian restaurant, wood-fired pizza oven and all. It took me about three minutes of searching to find a place that served a plain hot dog.

Ticket prices aside, this is the most alarming problem for the die-hard sports fan. It’s part of the reason that I disliked the beautiful new stadium in North Jersey that will one day host the Super Bowl. The seats are beautiful, the sight lines are perfect, and the JumboTrons were awe-inspiring in size and clarity. The whole thing just feels so … urbane.

To make this point hit home with more Notre Dame fans, just consider one of the most contentious Viewpoint discussions of the year: cheering (and the various levels of intensity that students have displayed in it). Long story short, I think we can all agree that if you go to the game and want your team to win, you belong in the stands, cheering your team on as you deem fit. If Notre Dame Stadium was equipped with the same overabundance of amenities as the newer pro stadiums, a good chunk of the fans would enjoy the game from a lounge inside the stadium. That’s not sports. That’s a travesty. Give me a hot dog, a good seat and a cold drink, and I’m happy. I hope others share my devotion to the game being played on the field. If they don’t, let them eat sushi.


The views expressed in the Inside Column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Contact Chris Allen at [email protected]