Sep 15

I'm Still Goin'!

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Photo: by US Presswire

With the worst recession to hit America since I have been alive going on right now, one would think that college football's stadiums might have a few empty seats in these 2009 games. To put it lightly, that is not the case. Across this great land this past Saturday, mega-stadiums were crammed to the max with fans pledging their allegiance to their favorite teams.
Sure familes are trying to save money in many ways. Brand names are being substituted for generic names, carpools are helping people save gas, family vacations are being shortened from full weeks to just three or four days, and the family dog is getting a bit more scraps of hamburger meat than steak these days. Yes, folks are being tight with their money and watching every penny of where it goes.
But one item of purchase that simply has no substitute is a ticket to a college football game. This recession shows just how special of a sport we are able to be a part of. As I watched Saturday's games, I got chill-bumps time after time as I saw these stadiums jam-packed and going nuts with rabid fans. I dont have the attendance figures from 2008 to 2009 directly in front of me, but when the stadiums are sold-out, I am guessing there isn't much of a difference!
One thing to remember is that a good percentage of these fans have money saved up and are ok. But a decent enough percentage of these fans, too, are struggling with money no doubt - yet here they are! Something tells me that if the recession got ten times worse, and we were all subsistence farming and eating home-grown vegetables for survival, hundreds of thousands of fans would still find a way to find transportation to the game and the cost of admission. The hard times have brought forth just how much fans care about these games.
I'm not Socrates, but seeing people falling into the aisles at 100,000 plus seat stadiums requires little math, anyway. From Ann Arbor to Knoxville to Columbus to Athens, these huge venues didn't have a seat to be spared as people jammed in to watch the action go down. Saturday on TV, I saw over ten stadiums of over 80,000 people that were sold out. They included the games in the four cities above, plus 106,387 in State College for the Penn State-Syracuse game (Syracuse, folks!), 90,349 in Gainesville, 92,012 in Tuscaloosa, 91,566 in Baton Rouge, 85,269 in Auburn, 84,879 in Norman, and on down the list. Another ump-teen number of schools sold out stadiums that are in the 55,000 to 80,000 range.
Nebraska is on pace for their 300th consecutive sell-out when they return home to face Louisiana-Lafayette in two weeks, and they aren't about to let the struggling Dow Jones get in the way. This streak dates back to 1962. The Huskers were another team with over 80,000 Saturday, checking in with a sold-out (duh) 85,035 fans.

You know, if I dug waaaaay deep into the national attendance figures at all levels of college play, I may find out that the numbers are down just a hair. But after what I have seen thus far in 2009, I would like to believe otherwise. What I have seen is sold-out rowdy stadiums, and it is great to see! For in times like this when things are tough, at least we have our college football to enjoy. Yes, ticket prices have risen some over the years, but no matter that or the tougher than normal times, we find a way to support our favorite schools because we all like to stand for something bigger than ourselves, believe in something bigger than ourselves, and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.

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