A part of me died today.
On my rainy drive to work in Columbia, I had a lot of time to think. I had already heard enough sports radio talk for the morning. I’ve been a Ravens season ticket holder for 16 years. For the most part, it’s been a blast. I have seen great games, from Jamal Lewis’ 295-yard effort in 2003 to the blasting of the Bills this year, and so many in between.
The last couple seasons however, have been a chore at times. The team just isn’t interesting. They play boring football. I can’t get anyone to go with me anymore, as others have lost interest. I had to eat a $92 ticket yesterday – on a beautiful day, to a home game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That was unimaginable a few years ago. But even the game didn’t feel like a Steelers game. There was no obvious passion, with little excitement (on the field and in the stands). Certainly nothing that would differentiate the “stadium experience” from watching at Buffalo Wild Wings, at home, or at a favorite watering hole.
Sure, the tailgating is still great and frankly is the main reason I go now. My core group has thinned however due to family obligations, health issues, the cost of going to games and…because this team just isn’t fun to watch in person anymore. The entertainment juice just isn’t always worth the squeeze so to speak.
The first time I had serious thoughts about giving up my seats was after the game in London I attended last September. The anthem debacle shook me for a while, but I got over it. As the year went on, the excitement of game day lessened. Crowds dwindled. I had a hard time getting anyone to even give my tickets to.
Anyway, right about the time I was passing under the Ft. McHenry tunnel today, the finality of it hit me. I really don’t want to make this commitment anymore. Not when I’m burning a third of my tickets (not including the preseason jokes that I am forced to pay for, but never attend). Not when the stadium experience increasingly resembles a church service. So, I decided right then and there that I will not be renewing next year.
It was a sad moment.
But what about my PSLs? Can I sell them?
I don’t know.
If this season crashes and burns – and it is looking more likely each week – the Ravens are looking at a rebuild and probably 2 years of nuclear winter. Bottom line, my PSLs were not that expensive anyway. It’s a sunk cost and/or I got my value out of them, I tell myself.
Will I stop going to games next year? No – I will still go to a few, but it will be the ones I want to go to, paying what I want to pay.
But it won’t be the same.