Submitted by Jermaine Raymer, Program Director
Live sporting events are some of the most action packed, thrilling, and communal events which society has to offer. And often, due to their nature, lighting, sound quality, aisles, and lack of central focus, they can be some of the most difficult events for people with all manner of varying disabilities to attend, and thus participate in this integral part of our social fabric.
This topic arose in my mind last night as I, a person who is legally blind, was looking for tickets to a Dallas Cowboys game (I haven’t decided where yet). One of my newer acquaintances called, and replied, “but you wouldn’t be able to see the field…” when I told them that I was looking at treating myself to this little excursion.
Let’s ignore that many people with “perfect” vision say they have trouble seeing the field when sitting at the top of an NFL stadium, and dive into the more pertinent part of this discussion. While it is true that I can’t see the field, and making it to and from my seat and the concession stands may be a bit more difficult, I can truly say it’s about the atmosphere—the ebb and flow of the crowd, hi-fiving (or taunting) the people around me, and simply just having the experience.
If you notice, many of the items I cited as being benefits might not be accessible for persons with other disabilities attending sporting events. For those with mobility issues—accessible seating is often separated from other seating, and there may not be the opportunity for interaction with other fans. And for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, there may be no access to the announcements across the PA system.
So while most everyone gets a better view from home, there’s often a much better experience in the stands.
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