The beginning of April means two things: spring weather and baseball season. It is a journey of 162 games which will consume over a third of the calendar year. Yet, as excited as I am to watch baseball again, I am more excited to see a baseball game live at a stadium. It could be the worst team or the best team, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the experience.
Imagine this scenario: The game is about to start and you know you’ll be at that stadium for three hours, so you stock up on food – and sometimes restock during the game. You grab a hotdog, some peanuts or cracker jacks (usually both), and a beer – all in the stadium. It costs you about $30, but you don’t care. You’re comfortable and well fed at a baseball game, and those things are essential for your personal nirvana.
So as I retired my baseball hat for a Fulham scarf last week and settled down at Craven Cottage for the Fulham v Wigan game, I was completely unprepared [from a food consumption point of view] for my first Premier League experience. I looked in every direction, but I saw no one eating. I knew there was food; I saw concession stands on the way in. Concession stands with pies and sausages and beer and tons of other glorious foods. I couldn’t understand why no one was cramming their face.
I decided to get a sausage roll to ease my own personal famine. That was when I understood why no one was eating. Stadium food back home isn’t exactly gourmet, but I have never tasted food at a sporting event this foul. Later I was told that all stadium food is like this, so I couldn’t solely blame Fulham. Finally, to add insult to injury, I wasn’t even allowed to bring my beer back to my seat. I was completely defeated.
It then occurred to me that terrible stadium food was not necessarily a bad thing. My train of thought is probably why America suffers from the highest obesity rates in the world. Our obsession with trans-fats and sugary soda’s has worked its way into sports spectatorship and is helping make Americans fatter. We could do with some terrible food to deter us from eating.
Not needing to eat also means less trips to the food stand and bathrooms, meaning a fan will appreciate the game more. Here people would rather engorge themselves before a match, rather than miss a moment of football.
Maybe one day American stadia culture will change. Perhaps sometime in the near future, fans will even go an entire game without fighting the urge to eat overpriced, unhealthy food.
However, until then I’ll take an $8.00 beer and a $4.50 hotdog any day.