When national tragedies strike, it is natural to think of family and friends. But as the events in Boston unfolded yesterday my mind also thought about all the times I stood in a security line at Ford Field waiting to get in to that day’s Detroit Lions game.
All NFL stadiums increased their security protocols in the wake of 9/11 but more than a decade has passed since that terrible day. I fear that the realization of the necessity, or at least the prudence, of passing through security prior to entering the stadium has faded out of the minds of the average fan. I can’t count the number of times I have witnessed impatient fans worried about missing kickoff (as if getting to the stadium earlier wasn’t an option) or some joker who thinks it is funny to suggest security personnel check some place where the sun doesn’t shine.
I wish there was no argument to be made for the security lines fans have to go through on game day. But there is and yesterday drives that point home. Sports and the stadium experience are supposed to be an escape from everyday life but that isn’t what happened at the Boston Marathon as the horrors of life were all too real.
Stadium security isn’t a joke and to be honest, it isn’t much of an inconvenience. The Lions did a fabulous job of encouraging fans to arrive early to avoid the last-minute rush through security. They provided special giveaways, entertainment, beer specials and free hot dogs for fans that got into the stadium by noon. For that the Lions haven’t received enough credit.
If missing the opening kickoff or spending a few extra minutes out in the cold is the biggest thing that went wrong, you’re doing all right.