Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Best Places to Watch Sporting Events
Having just gotten back from a Chicago weekend trip, I began to think about the best atmospheres I have ever been in for sporting events. There are, I'm sure, literally hundred of great places in which to see a game or match. These, however, are my top three:

3) Fenway Park
I had the opportunity to see a Red Sox home game in the mid 1980's. What a great time. Fantastic buzz in the air and all that tradition in a real olde tyme ballpark. There did not appear to be too many sober people in the park, so the place was LOUD and rowdy. The highlight of the game was when a beautiful blonde in right field, wearing a thin white cotton gauze shirt over her bikini, kept standing up and opening the shirt, bringing out a tremendous howl from the largely male crowd. Unfortunately, as she kept teasing all the guys, several men rushed to her seating area and caused such a commotion that the police had to take the woman away for her own safety. As Harry Caray would say, "Ahh ... you can't beat fun at the ol' ballpark." And speaking of Harry ...

2) Wrigley Field
Although Sunday's game against Arizona was a snoozefest, going to Wrigley Field is just an experience in itself. A true old fashioned ballpark (no need for retro here) turns back the clock. I mean, in how many other places do you still get to pee in a trough? Daytime baseball is great, and Wrigley has loads of charm. Let's hope that whoever buys the Cubs does not even think of building a modern, money-making park to replace Wrigley Field.

1) Chicago Stadium
The greatest sporting experiences I have ever had (college or pro) were going to Chicago Blackhawk games when the Hawks were good, Chicago Stadium was packed, and the building seemed to move with fan excitement. It was a killer place when Michael Jordan began winning championships, but nothing ever approached, in my mind, the atmosphere when the Hawks were still relevant. Talk about a place filled with diehard, inebriated, passionate, loud fans. There was always a sense of danger present, and you hoped that no one would be so foolish as to wear the jersey of the opposing team. The Hawk games were always sold out and the season ticket holders had all the good seats, so I distinctly remember trudging up the seemingly endless, steep, narrow steps to the top level. Nirvana, in my younger years, was sitting in that top section, looking down on all the fans, and cheering My team -- the Hawks!

Chicago Stadium, sadly, has been gone for many years, having been replaced by the United Center. The United Center is actually a pretty comfortable place in which to watch a game, but the atmosphere is just not the same. The Blackhawks, who for years had not missed the playoffs, now rarely make it to post season. The fan base has deteriorated over the years from the lousy, curmudgeonly ownership of the Wirtz family. My hope is that someday I will once again be proud to wear my Hawks winter jacket.


Blogger The Poker Enthusiast said...

I had a friend who had season tickets for the Hawks back in the early 1990's. They were 1st row on the blue line in the balcony and may have been they best seats in the house. I went to 15 games a year back then I can say that there was no place like it to watch a game.

9:00 AM  
Blogger Astin said...

I remember having to turn on the radio when the Leafs played in Chicago, because the Wirtzes didn't allow TV broadcasts. The place was deafening even over the speakers. The move to the United Centre killed the fans and the team. The city wasn't as intimidating a place to play in anymore.

I hope the Hawks become relevant again some day. They were always a good mini-rivalry.

1:34 PM  

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