George Hale’s Perspective: Sports & Drinking

Updated 3 years ago

EVEN THOUGH THE PATRIOTS HAVE LEFT THE SCENE THIS ISSTILL FOOTBALL PARTY TIME IN NEW ENGLAND AND ELSEWHERE.PLAYOFFS CONTINUE AND SOON THE SUPER BOWL EXTRAVAGANZAAND EXCESSES.THERE IS A NEW STUDY OUT THAT CAUGHT MY EYE THIS WEEK.I WASN’T SURPRISED BUT IT STILL RAISED MY EYEBROWS A LITTLE.THE REPORT, FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA: HIGHLIGHTEDA PROBLEM THE MEDIA RARELY REPORTS ON.THE SIMPLE FACT IS THAT THOUSANDS OF SPORTS FANS LEAVE GAMESDRUNK. WHILE FOOTBALL IS HIGHLIGHTED THE SAME IS TRUE IN BASEBALL, BASKETBALL AND HOCKEY.THE RESEARCH SHOWED THAT 40 PERCENT OF FANS AT GAMES HAD BEEN CONSUMING ALCOHOL AT THE CONTESTS.WORSE THAN THAT FANS YOUNGER THAN 35 YEARS OF AGE WERE MUCHLIKELIER TO BE ABOVE THE LEGAL LIMIT WHEN THEY HIT THE PARKING LOT TO DRIVE HOME.THERE IS A CULTURE IN AMERICA THAT ALCOHOL, PARTICULARLY BEER,IS ESSENTIAL TO WATCHING SPORTS.NOW THIS IS NOT A RANT AGAINST DRINKING.BUT IT SEEMS TO ME THAT THIS STUDY IS A BIT OF A WAKE-UP CALL.IN MANY PLACES WHERE SPORTS AND ALCOHOL MERGE, AT THESTADIUMS, BARS AND AT HOME, THE COMBINATION LEADS TO VIOLENCE AND VANDALISM.WE HAVE SEEN MANY TIMES THE SO CALLED “VICTORY CELEBRATIONS” TURN UGLY IN THE STREETS OF OUR MAJOR CITIES AFTER A SPORTSCHAMPIONSHIP GAME.CANADIAN RESEARCHERS FOUND THAT ALCOHOL RELATED CARCRASHES AFTER GAMES IS FAR HIGHER THAN ON NON-GAME DAYS.SO WHEN WE WATCH THE PLAYOFF GAMES THIS WEEKEND IT’S ASOMEWHAT SOBERING FACT THAT SOME 5 TO 6 THOUSAND OF THEASSEMBLED FANS WILL LEAVE THE PARK WITH AN ALCOHOL BLOOD COUNT ABOVE THE LEGAL LIMIT.IT’S NOT ONLY THE PROS WHO HAVE THE PROBLEM EITHER.THOSE WHO ATTEND TAILGATE PARTIES HAD A 14 TIMES GREATERRISK OF BEING INEBRIATED THAN THOSE WHO DIDN’T TAILGATE.WHAT’S A COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME WITHOUT A TAILGATE RIGHT?I FOUND THE STUDY INTERESTING IN A NUMBER OF WAYS.NIGHT GAME STATISTICS WERE WORSE THAN THOSE IN THE DAY TIME.MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL WAS THE WORST OF ALL.SPORTS FRANCHISE OPERATORS HAVE FINALLY STARTED TO ADDRESSTHE PROBLEM.THE NUMBER OF DRINKS ARE BEING RESTRICTED AND SALES ARE ENDEDEARLIER THAN BEFORE.THAT’S THE GOOD NEWS. THE BAD NEWS IS THAT MANY STADIUMS FREQUENTLY VIOLATE THEIR OWN RULES.AGAIN, THIS IS NOT A RANT ABOUT THE MODERATE DRINKING THAT MOST FOLKS DO.BUT I THINK IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT ALCOHOL COMPANIESDO USE SPORTS TO REACH FANS AND PARTICULARLY ADOLESCENTSTO ESTABLISH BRAND RECOGNITION.THE EIGHT PERCENT WHO ABUSE ALCOHOL AT SPORTING EVENTS,IF NOT CONTROLLED, WILL RUIN SPORTS FOR THE REST OF US WHOENJOY THE GAMES AND DRINK IN MODERATION OR NOT AT ALL.THIS IS GEORGE HALE WITH MY PERSPECTIVE ON SPORTS


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