Jubbling Up Your Next Sporting Event

fidel-castro-baseballOther than cigars, not much else headed north out of Cuba really gets my attention until I watched a Cuban professional baseball game. Cuba is a country where Jubbling is the norm and as such, it made total sense for the fans to pass home run and foul balls back to the field. Not in the way we throw home run balls from the opposing team onto the field; this was organized and routine because in Cuba, baseballs, baseball mitts and bats are scarce items but Jubbling isn’t.

tomahawk-chop-fansAttend any sporting event in the US and you get a totally different scene. Not only will the pitcher regularly toss aside a ball he feels is scuffed, but fans expect and receive giveaways that I would only equate to a sporting Happy Meal toy – all 50,000 of us. This could be deemed a success of capitalism or it could be a reflection of our over consumption where the sport is lost in a mountain of possibly recycled plastic beer bottles, single-use styrofoam trays and soon to be trashed pom-poms.

What can you do? You can contact your local sports teams with ideas on how they can cut back on waste. Most already promote in-stadium recycling but they could go further. For starters, they could reduce the number of lookout-garbage-can-here-I-come giveaways and maybe like Starbucks, incentivize the reuse of drinking cups. But sports in the US are all about consumption and going big. Like most fans, not too many teams are as concerned about waste as they are about winning and keeping their vendors and sponsors happy. To do that, the fans must consume and we do.

For now, Jubbling up your next sporting event should start with the individual. What can I do to reduce my consumption? Here are just a few suggestions from a sports fan who has a history over consuming:

  1. Eat Before You Go To The Game – The prices in the stadium should be motivation enough but avoiding the steaming hot sloppy joe in the extruded polystyrene container should cinch your decision to eat before you go into the stadium. You can eat at home or if you need more, buy a hot dog in a bun-based container on the way into the game from one of the vendors surrounding the stadium.
  2. Buy Beer On Tap – You have to go to the concession stand for this but it’s probably the best way to buy your beer. When you’re finished and in need of another, bring the cup back to the same stand and get it refilled. I did reuse my cup at a golf tournament recently and got the the you know you’re serving a redneck look from the concessionaire. Being shirtless and having a dip in didn’t help.
  3. Take Mass Transit To The Game – Not only will you have an opportunity to wind down after the game, you’ll also be able to avoid the mess of traffic after the event. We’ve all been there and we’ve all said something along of the lines of “we should’ve left earlier” or “never doing this again.” Most mass transit systems expand their coverage for sporting events and best of all, mass transit will help you avoid the high parking fees. Check with your local bus or rail provider for more information.
  4. Tomahawk Chop The Tomahawk Chop – How many parents pick the game they attend based on the giveaway? I know we have and that’s why there are 1 billion bobblehead dolls floating around to confirm that these giveaways work. The way around it is to choose games that don’t have them or just say “no thank you.” (Sorry Mike, that 2001 Ichiro bobblehead is still only worth 99 cents.)

I have to accept responsibility too. I’m not proud of having done this but I’ve shown up to a game with my ticket in one hand and $100 in the other and come home with a food and beer stained shirt and a pocket full of credit card receipts. But it doesn’t have to be this way. I must thank the people of Cuba for the inspiration. I probably won’t be kindly returning a foul ball to the team for reuse, but because of their jubbling, it’ll definitely cross my mind.

You can contact your local teams or the league directly: NFL, NBA/WNBA, MLB, Lingerie Football League or MLS.

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