Well, I guess minor league baseball is off the list. . .
Last week, the Daytona Tortugas announced that Jackie Robinson Ballpark will become totally “Tobacco Free” in 2018.
For you “vapers” out there – you know, people who use electronic atomizers that essentially emit harmless water vapor – the ban includes you as well.
I realize no one is going to agree with me on this – and I don’t care.
Suffice it to say there are a lot of things non-smokers do that annoy the hell out of me – I just choose to stay in my lane and keep my vices and habits as unobtrusive as possible.
I try to live life on my terms, practice moderation, and allow others to do the same.
So, why can’t others reciprocate?
As terrible as this will sound to some, I have smoked cigarettes every day for over 40-years.
I’m not proud of the fact – but I’m not emotionally horrified by it, either.
It is what it is – a “life choice” if you will. I understand the health ramifications, prohibitive cost and social stigma – but I enjoy burning a Marlboro and drinking alcoholic beverages.
Usually, at the same time.
Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible these days to find a bar that will accommodate both. The health-obsessed crusaders have even invaded the sanctity of the neighborhood saloon – and nothing will ever be the same.
For me, anyway.
I have never been big on ultimatums or “total bans” on the otherwise legal pursuits of American adults. Let’s face it, cigarette smokers have become the last segment of the population that literally everyone feels okay in discriminating against.
After all, it’s for our ‘own good,‘ right?
“Look, Barker, you Neanderthal – it’s about the kids. No one want’s little Johnny and Jane inhaling your disgusting second-hand smoke – and the rest of us are grossed-out by your crude habit.”
Hey, I get it.
I don’t want you or yours anywhere near my billowing clouds of acrid fumes – that’s why I step-outside, stand well-clear of buildings containing hordes of people who look down their sensitive noses at me, or grab a quick drag with my fellow smelly outcastes in the confines of some drab and intentionally uncomfortable “smoking area.”
Look – I give up. The harridans of the professional (tax-funded) anti-smoking brigade have won.
So, while I still can, I will enjoy a smoke in the privacy of my own home – or (God forbid) while driving my private vehicle – and simply choose to take my business elsewhere.
As a ‘smoker,’ I am no longer wanted where I grew up watching baseball – Jackie Robinson Ballpark – or most anywhere else for that matter.
At the risk of getting too far afield – in an era when professional sports are reporting historically low attendance records, one would think that a community-based minor league baseball organization would find a way to accommodate all fans willing to dish out the price of a ticket.
I mean, they couldn’t set aside a distant row of bleachers in the Budweiser Bullpen for those who wish to enjoy a stogie and a brew while they watch the Great American Pastime like their fathers and grandfathers before them?
No. Total ban. No exceptions.
Clearly, the Daytona Tortugas have become a big draw in the Halifax area. They are, without question, doing it right and filling a true need in the community.
And everyone agrees that ‘The Jack’ is a wonderful place to watch baseball.
But what happens when the pendulum swings?
For instance, the slow death-spiral of NASCAR is getting too obvious to ignore. Despite attempts to camouflage it with pixilated multi-color seats, at most televised races there appears to be as many empty seats as there are fans in attendance, and that trend does not appear to be reacting positively to the latest “rule change” or weird gimmick coming out of the corporate office.
The same is true for the beleaguered National Football League, once the most popular sport in America. I suspect the NFL has about three-seasons to get its shit together before it becomes totally irrelevant.
I realize this problem has nothing to do with prohibitions on smoking in sports venues.
In my view, in each case, it is the result of a failing product that consistently refused to consider the evolving needs and wants of its fan base (read: Customers).
Those who are willing to spend big bucks on sports entertainment – or devote time to watching it on television – feel increasingly alienated by the open political displays, pregame “protests” of multi-millionaire athletes in the workplace, and the all too boring and incessantly long games that simply command too much time to enjoy.
Add to that the Titanic-like panic in sports marketing departments, and the lack of strategic vision by senior executives who are too dumbstruck by the unfolding disaster to correct the dismal course of their ‘sport,’ and you see we have a crisis at hand.
They do, anyway.
I suspect there will soon come a time when professional sports franchises, and other businesses, will beg people to return to their product – including those much maligned few who choose to use tobacco products.
Or, maybe not. Who cares.
Got a light?