Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to save hundreds of bucks: Watch football on TV.

“If you have to ask, you can't afford price of ticket."

A friend of mine from my college days at SFA, found me on Facebook a few months back and invited Kay and me to come to Dallas and go to the Cowboys/Viking game with her. She had a couple of spare tickets and asked us up for a fun weekend. Promised a fun weekend she did, and she didn’t lie.

Gail is a country girl from Apple Springs that I met in my speech class. We hit it right off. Had very little in common, but just enjoyed each other’s company. That girl was a hoot. Still is. The relationship was strictly platonic. When Kay came to SFA during my senior year, she roomed with Gail at the dorm. Just so you know.

For diehard Texan fans, let me say that if Dallas plays The Texans, I’ll root for the Texans. Other than that, I’m rooting for the Cowboys. I’ve been a fan since the days of Dandy Don Meredith.

Like I said, we had a fun time. The only downside was when I learned about the tickets. I thought someone gave Gail the tickets. Turns out, the girl started buying season tickets a few years back. She had to pay $5000 for the privilege to hold season tickets. I had never heard of such a thing. Then, each year she pays $125 each for three tickets to 10 games. (That included two pre-season home games.)

You do the math. And, that doesn’t include parking. It cost $15 to park in the “stadium” parking lot located about a mile or two away from the stadium. Gail usually goes with a dear friend who has mobility issues, so she pays to park at a lot closer to the stadium. The previous week she paid $60 to park near a familiar restaurant. However, last week the owner upped the price $20… just because he could.

I had to force Gail to let me pay the $80 parking. She was already out $250 for our tickets. I know what you’re thinking. Gail must be rich. She’s not. She just really likes the Cowboys. Some people spend money on home accessories or cars or sending the kids to Harvard. Gail prefers spending money on the Cowboys.

She’s not alone. The Dallas Cowboy AT&T Stadium was packed. Our $125 seats were high up in the corner of the end zone. I watched most of the game on the giant screen suspended from the ceiling. It was like watching TV at a 170-degree angle. Somewhat of a distortion effect.There was a smaller screen attached to end of the colossal TV, but it was too small for me to see.

I used to think snacks at the movie theatre were expensive. Food at a Football stadium is apparently imported from a space station on Mars. Had I tried to sneak food in I would’ve never gotten it past the frisking at the gate. I had to empty my pockets and get metal detected. The detector kept beeping for some reason, but the guy let me pass, ‘cause I have a “safe” look. (By the way, if you arrive at the stadium 15 minutes ahead of kickoff, you might get seated by halftime.)

 I did buy a hotdog with mustard and relish. Kay got a chopped beef sandwich, a bag of chips and a drink. The total came to slightly less than a car payment.

I learned a fascinating thing about tailgaters. In Dallas, tailgaters can pay $150 for the privilege to park in the actual stadium lot. The people I saw apparently never entered the stadium. They sat in lawn chairs and watched the game on their portable TVs.

The cost of the stadium experience, though brutal, did not prevent me from enjoying the game. I was seated next to a guy and his wife who had flown in from Minnesota. In fact, there were Viking fans spread throughout the $125 “cheap” seats. Yet, I witnessed no rude behavior. In fact, people were actually joking with one another.

The Cowboys managed to pull the game out in the last 40 seconds. The Viking fans hated it, but we still patted one another on the back and walked away realizing we had seen a good game.

Even the players seemed to hit it off well. Adrian Peterson, for the Vikings, ran for about a million yards in the loss. However, on one particular play, a defensive back brought him down hard. It was a rare occasion when one person was able to tackle Big Number 28. When Peterson got up, he faced the defensive back and slapped him on the top of the helmet as if to say, “Wow, that was a good hit.” The defensive back returned the gesture. I like to see moments of camaraderie between players on opposing teams. It’s classy as all get out.

Had I been watching the game on TV I may have missed that moment. Was it worth the price of admission? Good grief no! Of course, had we not gone to Dallas, Kay and I would’ve missed the visit with our old friend.

That girl laughed constantly. She could barely finish a sentence without cracking up. Took me right back to my days at SFA, and it helped me remember what it was that attracted Gail and me to one another. Forty years later and that girl is still such a joy to be around.

Listen to the Mark and Cindy Show at every weekday morning from 10 to 11.

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