Saturday, November 8, 2008

Burn My Shorts

My lucky Redskins underwear failed me- yet again! In order to equalize the karma in the world, and please the football overlords, I must cleanse my underwear with purifying flame.
This year I will only be able to attend one Redskins game. The game was this past Monday night's defeat at the hands of the Steelers.

In many ways this game was very different from the other Redskins games I have attended. This one cost me almost nothing! Technically that is not true because I had to use my credit card for 8 years to build up the points, and then I traded the points for the tickets. Getting two tickets that way is a lot less expensive than getting the same tickets from scalpers or from Stub Hub. The face value for the two tickets I got was $99 a ticket. The same tickets on Stub Hub would have gone for $325 or more a ticket.

This is far better than the other things you can get for the Redskins points on my credit card. Redskins clothes and things are priced at stadium prices, which is more than online prices and means a t-shirt (at bottom left $19.99) can cost you more than a similar shirt at Kohl's ($11.20) or some other more reasonable retail outlet. Then there is the strange conversion that they use for dollars to points. For every dollar you spend you get a point, but turning the points back into dollars is not something that can be easily understood. I am not a math person but there seems to be an obvious fluctuation in how items are valued with points. If a $20 t-shirt costs 3,300 pts, why does a pair of good $200 tickets to a game cost 25,000 pts.? Shouldn't the tickets cost 33,000 pts.? Please don't tell Daniel Snyder. The tickets are already too expensive.
I am not complaining, as the the difference seems to have worked out to my benefit, but I did learn something important. Don't buy the t-shirts and the crap you can get anywhere! Hold out for the tickets.

Over the past few years, I have become spoiled by the tickets my friend PR and I have normally been able to get. We have been able to enjoy the luxury of the club level seats. Oh yes, we paid for the difference (in the neighborhood of $300 a ticket including parking pass) but there is something to be said about having an enclosed area on the club level with marble floors and a higher toilet to patron ratio. I was reminded of this sometime in the middle of the 1st half.

The seats we were able to get were in the lower bowl in the last row Section 239. Great seats on the Redskins side of the field staring straight down the five yard line.

I am in the middle with a beer. the Steelers fan with BO is on the right in the white shirt.

People are also more polite and less drunk in the club level seats. It is rare to hear cursing screamed in any area of the club level. I had forgotten how common that is in other seats. People are falling down, incoherently drunk before they even get into the stadium. I remember those days!

Perhaps the fact that I only had a couple of beers all night contributed to me noticing more at my most recent visit to FedEx field. I have to say it was difficult not to notice the swarm of Steelers fans at the game. It was embarrassing. The stadium holds 90,000 people. I am guessing that 30,000 were Steelers fans. They have a right to buy available tickets, but the fans that own the tickets should be ashamed. I did travel with a Steelers fan on Monday night and I have nothing against any other fans (except the guy I was seated next to who had serious body odor and kept sticking his armpit in my face. Next to that, getting towel whipped every 30 seconds was nothing- which he also also did.), but there is something very wrong with allowing your home field to become a neutral site.

I have to blame Daniel Snyder because he dictates the cost of the seats. The ticket prices go up every year and you must purchase seat licenses to go with your seats. All total, if you were to buy 3 season tickets in the club level section, it would cost you $25,000 for 8 regular season games and 3 preseason games. There is no price fixing, so the price goes up next year.

A couple of years ago, Mr. Snyder graciously allowed seats to be sold on Stub Hub. Before then, you could lose your seat if you were found to be giving your tickets to anyone else. Bad behavior or supporting the wrong team could cost you your seats. Now the price of the seats is such that the vast majority of people can not afford to lose the money that the tickets represent, and they are encouraged to pass them on. By the way, how can Stub Hub not be seen as a glorified scalper? They are the middle man that makes the transaction happen. Must be a legal loophole that gives Snyder even more money.

I think the days of me spending my hard earned teaching salary on travel, and as many games as I can get tickets for, is forever over. I am too financially challenged for such extravagant living. Besides, HD TV is awesome (sour grapes)!

The most interesting/frustrating part of the trip was the 16 mile excursion to the stadium that took 2 and half hours. We didn't travel on the beltway because I was told that it would take too long. What? Seriously? If the trip took any longer we could have just walked. I was told that the traffic that we went through was normal, everyday traffic at that time of the day. The only thing I could think is- why do you live here?

The important thing is that I really did have a good time. If I had the chance, I would do it again in a heartbeat. Spending time with my friends and going to sports heaven, it doesn't get much better than that. The Redskins did lose, but the loss didn't really hurt them that badly- it was out of the division and conference so it counted less. The Skins are on a bye this week and should come back healthier and hungrier for their next opponent- Dallas at Fed Ex.

Too bad I am going to have to buy new lucky underwear.


Anonymous said...

Steelers rock. I'm sure the Redskins' fans were the ones with the BO. Did you the Steelers' fans let you borrow their TERRIBLE TOWELS for your tears? Oh, forget it. That would be disrespecting THE Towel.

Al said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment. The Steelers have earned every win and they play smart football. I hope that I can say that about the Redskins someday soon...
This year the season is over for the Redskins.
Good luck to you and your Steelers.