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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, August 08, 2022

The best seat in the house’yours

The popular sports magazine Sports Illustrated produced a pretty interesting piece the other week. 




They gathered together their best minds and had them 'belly up to the bar,' as they put it, and came up with what they thought to be the most overrated and underrated people, places and things of the sports world yesterday and today.  




With categories as broad ranging as college football awards and jock politicians, they left almost no rock overturned. 




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And, despite the temptingly easy prey that such an evaluation provides, I actually think that they did a pretty good job. 




This is not to say that their decisions were flawless. They labeled Muhammad Ali the most overrated heavyweight champion of all time and they balked at the credibility of the words that made the legendary skipper Vince Lombardi the legendary figure he is today (something to which I take personal offense).  




But all in all, I guess, it's not bad. I was particularly taken with the topic they labeled as 'cheap seats.'  




A man who has seen both worlds, SI writer Gary Smith, concluded that the best place to watch a ballgame was still down in the bleachers, among the common people, if you will, and scoffed at the elites in the press box seats. 




A year ago, I may have scoffed at Mr. Smith. Press box seats really have a lot to offer. Free food, usually the best view in the house and the chance, at least for some college-aged sportswriter wannabe, to rub elbows with some of the guys you grew up idolizing. 




But then again, there is something different, as Mr. Smith points out, something almost not right, about watching a game behind a glass wall, shielded from the elements, having to constrain yourself every time your team breaks away for a touchdown or hits one out of the park.  




In the press box, you can't scream or yell about the ref's bad call (at least not too loudly) or make plans with your buddies about what you are doing later that night.  




Heads may turn if you enter the room with your shirt off and a big red 'W' painted on your chest. In a way, the price you must pay for this luxury is checking every reason you wanted to become a sportswriter in the first place at the door. 




So 'gimmee the nosebleeders,' says Smith, and I agree.  




For there is something about walking down Langdon or Mifflin on a game day Saturday and seeing the throngs of red and white outnumbered by maybe only the number of empty beer cups littered around them.  




There is something about hopelessly trying to land back down on your designated bench area during 'Jump Around' or, as Smith describes it, 'sitting a half mile from home plate under a microwave sun.'  




It's a camaraderie thing, it's about having fun, hanging out with friends'it's what sports should be about. 




There are many great advantages about being a sportswriter'namely getting paid for what you love to do.  




And there are many worse ways to make a living. But the great danger lies in that in the process it is easy to miss out on the best thing there is about sports'that is being a fan. 

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