Hail to the Fuckwads

I didn't want to get into a big long football rant in April, but I feel this is worth mentioning.

Long story short: I love football. Many people might not be able to identify with my love for football, but consider this: blow me. It's the greatest game ever invented. The rules are fair and balanced... it truly takes a team effort to be successful, so having the best individual player doesn't mean squat, unlike in almost every other sport (I'm talking to you, basketball). The game plays out like a metaphor for warfare: the object is to capture territory. And the decisions that must be made and risks that must be taken make it the most exciting sport to watch (Go for it on 4th down, or take the easy field goal? Blitz the quarterback, which leaves receivers open and risk giving up a big pass play?). I follow the NFL almost religiously, and, it's always been a dream of mine to own season tickets to an NFL team.

Unfortunately for me, I moved to Washington.

The Washington R*dsk*ns (the team name is too ridiculous to post) have a long, long season ticket waiting list of at least a decade. They sell no individual game tickets at all, despite playing in a brand new 80,000-plus seat stadium.

If you manage to get through the waiting list, you win the right to pay the highest average ticket price in the NFL ($59/game just on the upper level), as well as ridiculous parking fees near the stadium if you choose to drive (the closest lot that accepts cash costs $25, and it's so far away you have to take a shuttle bus to the stadium).

I'll rant more about the team and its fans as we approach the actual season. Today I want to focus on the R*dsk*ns newest evil innovation:


The "R*dsk*ns TailGate Club" (notice the UltraCool InterCapitalization... how NineteenNineties), an all-you-can-eat barbeque sponsored by the team, under a tent adjacent to the [product-placed shipping company] Field.

It sounds innocuous enough; show up three hours before the game, beat the traffic, and eat all the crappy Aramark food your stomach can hold before heading out to your seat.

Ah, but this is the R*dsk*ns. Which means you will pay dearly for the privilege of attending their little pre-game party... to the tune of a $499 initiation fee and an annual fee of $450. Per... fucking... person.

Insane, you say? Nobody would pay that much for a stupid tailgate party? Hey, the team already makes between $2,100 and $3,500 on each "club seat" season ticket they sell. And that's for 10 games... two of which are meaningless preseason contests... to watch a team that's made it to the playoffs once since 1993. It's not out of the question that they would also pay almost $1,000 to attend a series of pregame barbeque buffets.

OK, I love football as much or more than anyone, but when it comes to this team... I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE APPEAL. Why do people flock to [p.p.s.c.] Field to watch mediocre-and-worse football? Why are they content in paying more than twice as much as most other teams for tickets? Why do they tolerate the exorbitant parking fees?

I think the most likely answer is: because being able to go to these games is a status symbol to greedy Washingtonians. People can show off the fact that they're able to afford season tickets to their friends. They're willing to pay whatever it takes, whether or not they're willing to go to every game (and it's rare that the stadium is filled to capacity, even though every game is a sell-out).

And, let's not discount the fact that ticket scalping is legal in Marlyand, which means ticket brokers can hoard all the available season tickets, and then sell them off for twice face value, or more.

OK, enough already... this is turning into a long football rant, and it is April after all. Suffice to say, it is one of my great failings as a human being that I am buying R*dsk*ns season tickets from a family that stopped going when the team moved out of RFK Stadium. And I went to 9 of 10 home games last year on these self-same tickets.

I'm not sure how to justify that. I... I guess I have to hate myself, now.