I’m always amazed at the number of people who leave a sporting event before the end of the game. Despite paying for tickets, fans seem to be more interested in avoiding traffic and getting out of the parking lot than watching the final plays of the game. It doesn’t matter the sport. Football, baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer fans all file out of the stadiums or arenas early.
This behavior is unique to sports fans. I don’t see people rushing the exits at the movie theater or at concerts or plays, even though there are often similar traffic challenges.
These so called fans are quick to write off their team or the opponent even when down by a single score. I’ve witnessed the last minute score on more than one occasion while other so called fans only hear the cheers from the parking lot as they try to determine what happened.
This year’s football season has been the perfect example of “it’s not over ’til it’s over”. The University of Miami let a comfortable lead slip away in a game against Nebraska only to go into overtime before winning. Florida State lost a game last week in the final seconds when their opponent ran back a blocked field goal for a touchdown and a botched punt resulted in an amazing comeback by Michigan State a week earlier. And Auburn and Alabama fans still remember a similar improbable ending to their game in 2013 when Auburn scored after a missed field goal.
Of course, this weekend Miami played another game with more action in the last five minutes than the previous fifty-five. What a shame it would be to miss so much action by both teams just to get a jump on the crowds.
You bought tickets. You’ve already invested several hours in the game. Don’t make an early exit. Stay to the end of the game.
I will admit that there are rare occasions when you can leave before the final play:
- If your team (football or basketball) is losing or winning by 50 points, an early exit is permissible.
- When a team jumps out to a 10 run lead in the second game of a double header after an 18 inning game, and you’ve already been in the stands for more than six hours, leaving may be in order.
- In the case of severe weather, use your best judgement (although you know I’d stay).
- You should also leave early if you have to catch a plane.