Each of the past three weekends, I’ve attended college football games. First it was Michigan State vs. Iowa in East Lansing. Then, Illinois vs. Minnesota in Champaign. Then Virginia vs. North Carolina in Charlottesville. I flew to the first two and drove to the third. I have sons at Michigan State and Virginia; and my wife’s family (4 generations of them) went to, or go to, Illinois. And, in case you were wondering, I am going to a Notre Dame game, against Navy next month in Baltimore.
One of the things you notice in an airport on a fall weekend is a proliferation of football gear. I was in the Detroit airport on Sunday night, Oct. 5, waiting for my flight home. I saw gear for Michigan State and Iowa, of course. But, also for Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame (Go Irish!), Purdue and others. The Wisconsin women’s soccer team was also there. And, since the Bears had played the Lions earlier that afternoon, there were plenty of Bears fans.
The same phenomenon repeats itself throughout the country every weekend. Airports are filled with fans of their favorite teams. Some of them are buying even more gear at the concession stand, or straining to see a game that is playing on a nearby TV screen (the screens in Detroit’s new North Terminal are amazing, by the way!)
We live in an enormous country, and we have 300 million fellow citizens, a large number. It is scenes and events like this that help hold us together as a nation. Heck, I even saw a guy in an Alabama hat talking to a guy in an Auburn t-shirt at one airport recently.
Someone wrote a book a few years ago called Bowling Alone. Its thesis was that Americans prefer solitary pursuits and that we don’t gather like we used to. But the scene at airports all over the country during and around sporting events tells a different story. We still like going to the games and we still like gathering with others who are doing the same thing. Another example of airports as the new town square.
Wonder what the airports in Philadelphia and the Tampa area will look like the next week or so? Oh yes, my prediction: Rays in 6.