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Friday Food for Thought: Let’s get live

Is being there really the best?

NCAA Basketball: Final Four Championship Game-Gonzaga vs North Carolina Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Friday Food For Thought, the weekend conversation starter. Each week, this article presents a topic for debate. Whether in the comments section, on the golf course, or around the weekend game table, the goal is to provide enough background that either side could be a winner. In order to facilitate the discourse, a suggested beverage pairing is also be included. So speak up, mix it up, and drink up.

Watching the diehard Carolina fans suffer through a painful eighth and ninth inning in the rain at Omaha on Wednesday night, I was struck by mixed emotions. On the one hand, it was nice to watch from the comfort of my chair with my favorite beverage. On the other, watching from home can not deliver the level of excitement that one gets by attending the game. This got me thinking . . .

Issue: Would you rather watch a national championship game in person or at home?

1. Point

While it would theoretically be great to magically teleport to Santa Clara in January or Minneapolis in April, there is a lot more involved in actually getting to the game. Of course it would be phenomenal if a Carolina team makes it to one of those locations but that’s not the point here. Also, finances can make attending these games extremely difficult, if not impossible ($2,500 for a “cheap seat” ticket to the 2018 football championship).

This debate, however, is about the experience. Attending a game in person has a lot of downsides. First, a single night’s game turns into a three or four day logistical adventure with travel, hotels, and parking. There is vacation from work, time away from the family, and all of the other difficulties that accompany travel for a Monday night game.

Then there are the seats. Championship games are no longer held in reasonably large facilities. They are now in mammoth stadiums that relegate many fans to seats so far away that the players look like ants. Granted, this is less of an issue for football. Levi’s Stadium will seat about 75,000 for the Championship, which is only marginally bigger than the 63,000 that Kenan holds and is much less than the capacity of the biggest college venues.

Playing basketball in a football arena, however, has turned personal attendance into a farce. U.S. Bank Stadium is home to the Vikings. The stadium seats over 66,000. More seats can be added once the basketball court is assembled at the 50-yard line.

There is no way I would want to go through the pain of travel to sit a quarter of a mile away from a basketball game. Instead, I prefer to enjoy the event by watching from the comfort of my home surrounded by the people I want to watch the game with. Being able to go to the bathroom during timeouts and make another beverage of my choosing is an appealing thought as well.

I certainly enjoy live sporting events and if the championships were played in Chapel Hill, that would be a different story. Isn’t it still cold in Minnesota in April?

2. Counterpoint

There are two types of fans. There are those who say they are fans and quietly support their teams from the comfort of their own homes. These fans feel secure in watching a multi-second delayed broadcast so that when they add their cheers and groans there is no real influence on the outcome.

Then there are those fans that are participants. This latter group outfits themselves in light blue and attends games so the players know that a strong support network is close. When they boo the referees and officials, it has an effect because the poor judgment of the striped individuals is met immediately with revolt. They cheer and the team hears it.

There is simply nothing that compares to attending events in person. The travel that some bemoan is really just a way of extending a two or three hour contest into a two or three-day pilgrimage. Some of the best stories and memories of these trips take place in the parking lot before the game or the sports bar afterward.

Let’s be honest; there is really no comparison between “I watched that game” and “I was there.”

Drink Pairing

In need of encouragement to debate – Keeping with the muddle trend from the last article, this week’s summer drink is the Mojito. Start with fresh mint. We used to grow mint at our house and if you choose to do so, I strongly suggest keeping it in a pot. If you plant mint in a flower bed, it will absolutely take over. Add some raw sugar and a little soda water and stir. You can use simple sugar if you prefer. Add equal parts light rum and soda water. Top off with lime juice.

Can debate without assistance How about Mojitos all the way around! Proceed with the mint and sugar per the above. Instead of Rum and soda water, use ginger ale, lemon lime soda, or sparkling water. A tasty treat.