Sports are a quality-of-life issue.
When budgets are tight, which comes first: season tickets to cheer on your team or replacing the stove? Well, that depends -- does the stove still work?
Keeping your granddad's seats at The Meadowlands absolutely isn't as important as paying the rent. Starting your own tradition with friends or children doesn't carry the same imperative as little Joey's school books.
Nevertheless, season tickets are far more valuable than a new DVD, blouse or video game. Yes, even Madden. In a possessions-obsessed world, it's time to refocus on giving ourselves real-life experiences rather than merely things.
When was the last time that a new electronic toy let you say, "Yeah, man, I was there!"? The last time that a pair of shoes helped you bond with a relative from a different generation? That "Quest for the Planet Zycor" or "Gunman 14" truly inspired you?
Sports serve a multitude of purposes in our society: catharsis, escapism, motivation. As we head into the Olympics, let's not forget that sports represent the evolutionary step of cheering our team on to victory as opposed to killing the tribe across the river. That lesson alone is worth season tickets.
There's a magical force field around a stadium that refuses to let the real world invade. I defy you to carry daily stress past the ticket-takers -- who, by the way, are always smiling. Of course they're smiling; they work at Tropicana Field. Forget Disneyland, Dodgers Stadium is the happiest place on earth!
For a couple of hours, all we need to think about is cheering on our Kings/Thunder/Giants. No bills, bosses, laundry or responsibilities. The biggest decision: whether or not to put onions on that dog. Come on, you know it sounds like heaven.
Remember how it feels getting dressed for a date? Getting the look just right? The tingle of anticipation? Playing out different scenarios in your head as to how the evening will go? Actually, physically going to a game is just like that.
Making sure your brand new RGIII sweatshirt is ready; worrying just a little bit about Osi Umenyiora. Wondering whether Cliff Lee will get that elusive win or if anybody will get a puck past Jonathan Quick.
And then there's the awe. Maybe we can't pack up and head to the Grand Canyon, but sheer athletic brilliance can also take your breath away. After all, Marshawn Lynch's playoff run activated Richter scales across Seattle.
The hands-down best Super Bowl tweet came from filmmaker Albert Brooks:
"You never watch pro football and think, 'I could do better than that.'"
Sports are a showcase for the possibilities of the human body and the human spirit. We can't do what the athletes do, but we can bear witness to and celebrate the excellence. Much as we may hate to admit it, Al Davis had that right.
And we can celebrate together. Look at the "Jumbotron" during any seventh-inning stretch and you'll see America displayed at its best as the cameras roam the stands. Men and women; all ages and ethnicities.
"Take Me Out To The Ballgame" was written as a woman's plea to attend a baseball contest instead of a show. Females at the ballpark were frowned upon back in 1908. Gives it a whole new meaning, doesn't it?
Going to "the game" is a privilege and a joy. If you need any more justification for keeping (or getting) your season tickets, take another look at the Los Angeles Kings' trip to the Stanley Cup finals.
Sadly, some people don't understand the joyous holiday of attending a sporting event. Alas, I can't help them.
It's like a joke: if I have to explain why it's funny, it's lost on you. Give your tickets immediately to someone who "gets it." Sports outings are too precious to be wasted on the ungrateful.
Take me out to the ball game.
Take me out with the crowd.
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
I don't care if I never get back.