I’ve been told this before, by commenters throughout the years, I am what is ruining football.
Which is a completely absurd statement, whether I’m writing at my old blogger.com website and it’s readership of 4 or a nationally syndicated columnist, one person’s writing is not ruining football.
But after my experience last week, I have to admit, maybe these commenters were onto something.
I am part of the problem that is ruining football.
I love going to football games. I love tailgating. I love feeling connected with the thousands of other people in the stands as we experience the highs and lows of a game together. And I had a great time last Sunday in Cincinnati. Football games combine my favorite things, eating and drinking outside and sports! What’s not to love?
I met up with a co-worker who had prepared green and yellow Jell-O shots. I had club level seats that included a waitress who allowed me to pay via credit card, and brought my food and drinks to me. I was finally able to see, in person, Johnny Jolly run on to the field.
The fans in Cincinnati were a very nice bunch. Even after the loss a man chanting “Go Home Cheeseheads!” saw my face, and stopped. I didn’t say a word, he didn’t rub it in. That was the height of any fan on fan altercations I encountered. One man a little overly happy about his win, seeing a young lady quietly walking out of the stadium, they share a glance and both move on.
But then something happened on the way home. My husband called me and started talking about Rodgers’s face on the sideline. “Man there’s some drama there.” I had no idea what he was talking about.
And I thought back to the game. I knew Finley went out. That happened right in front of me. But Starks and Matthews, I had no clue. It wasn’t until they called Franklin’s name for the third time that I looked down and saw Starks on the sideline sans helmet. I saw Matthews gingerly jog on the sideline and guessed it was his hamstring, but I had no way of knowing.
I’ve spent the last three years with one eye glued to the TV and the other eye glued to twitter and the CheeseheadTV game day chat. Someone’s hurt, I see the replay. I then wait for one of the many beat reporters I follow to give me (the world) an update. So when I’m submerged in a world with no internet or phone connections, even though I’m at the event I am lost.
That sounds stupid, but it’s the truth. I killed my phone battery early in the game. After spending 10 minutes trying to send tweets showing all the Packers fans in the stands and being unable to I finally tried to connect with the wireless provided by Paul Brown Stadium. I tried over four times to connect to “Who Dey” but it wasn’t happening. Feeling silly that I was investing time and about 40% of my previous battery life, trying to connect to a world instead of living it, I put my phone down.
Paul Brown Stadium has two giant screens, but none seemed to be able to provide me with the quality replays I was looking for, partially because I was an away team fan and partially because there’s just so much going on.
How awful did the Ross fumble look? Close up, I have no idea. I was scanning the sideline to see how badly he was getting yelled at.
Being an away game, there was no Packers post game radio in my car on the ride home. So no updates there. By the time I got home, press conferences were done, the team was probably on the plane headed back to Wisconsin and I felt like I had completely missed the game.
The next morning I walked into my co-workers office. Fellow Packer follower who had also attended the game – although his seats required binoculars; we both felt the same. We missed the game.
I know what happened. The Packers lost. I know how it happened. They were down, came back and then while flat-lining, fumbled the ball that lead to the go ahead score. I know the Packers were stopped on fourth down and I know I walked out of the stadium sad.
That’s all I got.
I know people that go to games and feel they learn more from it, I wish I was them. But after Sunday, I am confident that I am not one of them and I am ruining football.
What would have made the game better, besides a win?
First and foremost, Wi-Fi that worked. I would have had no questions. Injuries, sideline drama, questionable calls, I would have known it all. I also wouldn’t have killed my battery so quickly constantly trying and failing to join the network.
I’m not sure the answer to my video problem, but there has to be a way to get at least the TV clips or the away team coverage. If you have a phone, connected to the Wi-Fi, streaming replays would be pretty awesome. And as completely gaudy and tacky I think the giant screen in Dallas is, had the screens at Paul Brown Stadium been better placed, maybe they would have served me better.
The way to make the “at the game” experience better for me is simple, give me a big TV and a connection to a social media world that is going on outside the stadium.
I feel sick even just typing that.
How many times have I said or heard Put down the phone and live your life! How much does my heart fill with pride simply stepping into Lambeau? I’m just shy of number 90,000 on the ticket wait list and this feels completely normal to me. Because being at a Packers game, actually being there, trumps all.
If offered the tickets to last weekend’s game again, of course I would go. And if by some miracle I get to attend a game at Lambeau this year, I will not turn it down. But I am starting to become one of those whiny fans, one of those fans who are ruining football by caring more about my twitter feed and a TV screen, than my view from my seat.
So, yes, I, Jayme Snowden am part of a movement ruining football, and I’m completely okay with it.
Jayme Snowden is a feature writer at CheeseheadTV and a contributor to Today’s TMJ4. She also co-hosts CheeseheadRadio, part of the Packers Talk Radio Network at Packertalk.com. You can contact her via twitter at @jaymelee1 or email at Jaymelee1@gmail.com.