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Ramsey: True fans commit to attending games in Colorado Springs area

December 15, 2013 Updated: December 16, 2013 at 5:05 am
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photo - Sky Sox second baseman Charlie Culberson, left, is congratulated by teammate Cory Dickerson after hitting a home run during Colorado Springs' 14-4 loss to Omaha Sunday, May 12, 2013 at Security Service Field. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette
Sky Sox second baseman Charlie Culberson, left, is congratulated by teammate Cory Dickerson after hitting a home run during Colorado Springs' 14-4 loss to Omaha Sunday, May 12, 2013 at Security Service Field. Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette 

You can't change the channel.

This is the problem/attraction of getting in your car, driving to a game, sitting in the stands and watching a game in person.

In the quiet comfort of your living room or in the jubilant buzz of a sports bar, there's always another game to watch. You can travel, with the quick jab of your finger, from boring to exciting.

While sitting at a real game, you're taking a risk, making a commitment. If the game is boring, with one team annihilating the other, there's no opportunity for instant journey from one another arena to another.

Sports fans in our area dislike taking these risks, making these commitments. I watch dozens of games each year in Colorado Springs, which leads to an assortment of stupendous thrills as well as dreary routs. The norm at those games is an ocean of empty seats.

Sure, it's sometimes tough to get a ticket for Colorado College hockey or Air Force men's basketball and, yes, the stands were close to full when Notre Dame's football team arrived at Falcon Stadium.

But those are the exceptions. You encounter a sellout in the Springs about as often as you see a liberal at a Tea Party rally.

Here's a suggestion: Go to a game. Take a risk. Make a commitment. Sit in the stands instead of sitting in your easy chair.

Don't worry. This column is not sponsored by the athletic department at Colorado College or Air Force or the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs or the owners of the Sky Sox. Your best option in town might be the fresh atmosphere of a high school game.

For five years, starting the late 1990s and continuing into the early 2000s, I took a sabbatical from sports writing, which has been my prime occupation since departing college. I no longer was paid to attend games after spending 13 winters at Syracuse's Carrier Dome surrounded by 30,000 college basketball fans.

During those years in exile, I did not watch a single college game in person. Not one.

But I missed watching basketball, missed the jazzy improvisation, the intensity, the frenzied finishes.

So I adopted my local high school team. Sat in the stands eating dollar popcorn washed down by dollar sodas. Sat there, quiet and content, while surrounded by the most intense, berserk, entertaining fans of them all.

Parents.

For years, I had watched games as a detached reporter of the proceedings. Returning to the stands, sitting with roaring, astoundingly biased fans, showed me once again all the fun sports can deliver.

Watching games in person carries a special jolt that can't be matched by the TV experience, no matter how big or hi-def your screen. While watching on TV, you're just watching. While sitting in the stands, you participate in the drama. You are one of the actors in the sports play unfolding before you.

You might want to go more big time than a high school game. That's a good idea, too. College games abound in our city with nearly every sport you can imagine.

I understand the lure of the Broncos and Avs and Rockies and Nuggets, understand how following those teams brings you into a wide world of fellow fans. And there are so many games. You can watch one of those Colorado teams virtually every day of the year.

There are millions - and we're talking literally - of Broncos fans, especially with the addition of Peyton Manning, the quarterback nearly everyone adores.

But there's a better way.

You can step away from the crowds - and we're talking literally here, too - and watch a game here in the Springs area. You can escape your TV set and the remote and the lure of those oh-so easy switches from channel to channel and buy a ticket, take a risk and make a commitment.

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Twitter: @davidramz

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