Sporting Events

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Cal Football Games-where to park?

September 2006

Any suggestions on the best place to park for Cal Football games? Cost? I've noticed that it's harder to find game day parking than it used to be in the pre-Tedford days. Thanks a lot! -Go bears!

I park at the Douglas Parking garage under the Urban Outfitters on Bowdich & Durant. Nice attendant, clean facility & not too far. Cost varies depending on opponent - it was $25 today against Portland State. Go Bears! Loyal Cal Football Fan

We live in Oakland but we just park at the North Berkeley BART, take the train to Berkeley BART then the free shuttle to the stadium. After walking back to Berkeley BART after the game, then getting back to our car in North Berkeley we find there's hardly any traffic going home. Sometimes we stay in Berkeley for dinner.
Cal Fan too

Have you considered taking BART and using the shuttles they have running along College Avenue (from Rockridge) to Memorial Stadium.

Park near College and Claremont and then take 51 Bus up College Ave. Easy peasy Parky Warky

Park on a side street next to University Ave west of Sacramento St. then take AC transit's bus to the game: or take BART and then AC transit. There are so few parking spaces near the stadium.

Fun place to watch World Cup finals

June 2006

My Israeli family members (2 adults, 2 teenagers, 2 young adults) are coming for a visit to the Bay Area July 6-10 during the finals ? of the World Cup, and they are fanatic soccer fans. We don't even have ESPN (although we are willing to get it if need be). Do we need ESPN to watch the game(s), and do you have any suggestions for a fun place in the East Bay to watch game with other soccer fans? Lori

I think I saw signs about the games being shown at the Kensington Circus Pub- fun, casual, with a kid play area, and yummy food and drinks too. chris

I haven't been there for a while but The Pub on Solano (1492 Solano Ave) usually shows soccer matches (especially if it's UK teams!). That would be a fun place to hang out to watch the games though I'm not sure about the age requirement Setenay

All world cup games are played on the Spanish language station Univision (channel 14 with an antenna). That's where I watch them because I don't have ESPN either. For English-speaking stations, the games leading up to the final when your relatives will be here will all be on ESPN, except for the final game on July 9 which will be on ABC. I heard the pub Barclay's in Oakland will be open and serving food for all world cup games. Any sports bar or pub that is open that morning should have the world cup game on. You can call ahead. Have fun! Andi

You do not have to have ESPN to watch the World Cup games. All games are shown on the Spanish-language channel Univision (Ch 14) and the final will be on ABC. The play-by-play commentary on Univision, though you may not understand it, is much more interesting and exciting than that of the Americans.

As for where to watch with other fans, bars near the UC campus will probably show the games, and charge you $20 just to get in. I watched the finals of the European Championships at the International House at UCB a couple of years ago and the atmosphere was great. They had a big screen in the lobby. Lots of young people, free, but limited seating. Good luck. mick

Taking a 6-year-old to an football game?

Oct 2005

My husband is an avid football fan and wants to take our 6 year old son to an NFL game. I think it's too violent and too overstimulating. I feel 6 years old is too young to understand the ''sports'' value of the game versus the violence it has. I'm also not from this country so I don't have an appreciation/understanding for it. What do people think? Is 6 too young? What is an appropriate age to attend a football game? anonymous

Yes, we live in a society filled with violent images, but all things considered, I don't think that attending a football game live is going to do any harm to your son. He's old enough to understand that it's a game, and the truth is, he's going to have the opportunity to see a lot of football on television (if nowhere else) in his life. Attempts to protect him from this are doomed to failure, so you may as well just do your best to let him know that it's a game, it has rules, etc.

If I were you my main concern would be whether or not the boy will be able to sit still and remain attentive throughout the game, which will last some three hours in all. This will largely depend on your husband, i.e., whether he is willing to consistently explain to your son what is happening in the game and why, etc. A child this age, even one who enjoys sports, will likely not understand the nuances of the sport and will have a hard time making sense of much of what happens on the field. nonviolent football fan

I don't think that 6 years old is too early to go to a live sporting event. Many of my friends have been taking their kids to baseball games since they were a year old. I think that football is more of an economic factor given the significantly higher ticket prices. I'd make sure that your child understands what he is getting into. Big crowds, lots of noise, etc. And your husband should be ready to leave anytime if your son feels uncomfortable. Kids aren't too young to understand any sport provided that the parents explain what's going on. My 2 year old daughter already understands the difference between baseball, football and golf. College basketball season will be around soon enough.

As for the violent nature of the game, it depends on your viewpoint. People smashing into each other can be termed violent. But it isn't like boxing, wrestling, and ultimate fighting. Are hockey, lacrosse, rugby and fencing violent? It is a matter of your perspective. Jeff

You seem to have very strong feelings about this, but you also took the time to post your message, so I assume you are open- minded about the decision. From personal experience, I can tell you that going to NFL games did not affect me negatively. I went to every NY Giants home game from the age of 5 through graduation from high school and ended up an opera and classical music lover and pacifist. The violence is actually quite muted in the stands. It is MUCH WORSE on TV, where you see every hit. Going to the game is much more social and a learning experience. Good luck with your decision. Anon

At 6 years old, your son will not really pay a whole lot of attention to the game on the field and will probably get bored and want to leave by halftime.

A friend of mine has been taking his daughter (now 7) to Cal football games since she was maybe 4 or 5. She could care less about the game, is more interested in the cheerleaders and what's going on in the stands, likes to run around the bleacher seats, and wants to go home by halftime.

6 years old is fine for a football game, it's not too young. It could be an interesting, engaging, stimulating experience for your son. Or not. The only way to find out is to go.

Speaking as a sports fan I would definitely take a six year old to a football game. My daughter attended her first baseball game at age 2 or 3 weeks.

Although the child won't follow tons of the game, it is fun to be in the stadium with cheering fans. There is a lot of special food and lots going on to watch. You can also take some other entertainment in case of possible boredom.

I think the environment should be safe enough. Suzanne

We've had this issue around hockey, a sport where the fighting between plays is a large part of the entertainment. My son went to his first game at age 5 (against my intuition) and it was a disaster. Now after a year away from any games, he's being prepped for a repeat visit by watching parts of the game on t.v., with pausing (tivo is amazing!) to point out the positive aspects of the sportsmanship, teamwork, strategy and skill required. When there is unsportsman-like behavior, the hockey player is removed from the game with a time out, a concept my son really appreciates! I don't know the rules and strategies of football, but I think you are smart to worry about unmediated impact. However, with intelligent preparation, and a focus from his companions on the positive aspects of the game, it might work. (Also games from a distance are often boring for the uninitiated and this may be an even bigger challenge than the affects of the violence in the game!) Mostly, follow your instincts. Waiting another year or more won't stunt his appreciation, and going too early may actually turn him off the sport, which I suspect would not be the intended outcome. Good luck! - Married to a sports fan

Hi, I started going to 49er games with my dad when i was in Kindergarten. They were some of the best times i shared with my dad. It's the fun of the whole experience. The crowds, the high fiving, the excitement (and the food which is a kids dream). I don't think six is too young at all. If he can understand soccer he can understand enough about the basics of a game. And unless you are on the sidelines you are too far away to really get how hard those guys are hitting each other on the field. I think it looks much more ''violent'' on TV than when you are in the stadium. You could go into the first game with the plan that if it's too much for him it's okay to leave early. We often time would leave early when i was young when it got too cold, or i just got too restless and we'd listen to the rest of the game on the radio the way home. That was fun too. If your husband has a problem with the possibility of leaving early than i would suggest waiting a year or two or maybe going to a high school game as a trial run. Football fan

Can't speak for the NFL, but a college football game is usually pretty low key. So, a Cal game (as long as it's not vs. Stanford) should be okay. Or one of the smaller colleges around here, probably even more so. He should also be willing and ready to leave at halftime, as a child that young has a fairly short attention span. Dianna

Unless your husband is planning on taking your son to sit in the end zone at a Raiders game, the environment will most likely be one of constant distractions from the actual game. By physically attending a game, you usually end up seeing much LESS of the game, and therefore less violence/stimulation, than you would from watching it on TV (which allows you to see the bone-crunching detail you miss from your stadium seats). I haven't taken my son to a football game, but have taken him to baseball games (granted, a less ''violent'' sport...for the most part), and there are so many other things for kids to respond to than the actual game (ie. concessions, food, jumbotron, play areas) that the game becomes secondary if not tertiary. Naturally, there's always the risk of a drunken fan shouting obscenities and other ugly scenes...but I would say that if your husband is up for missing half the game in order to keep your son content, then let him give it a try. If the idea is that YOU go so that YOU can babysit your son at the game while your husband watches, then I would say pass. good luck sports fan

If your husband is an avid football fan, then you are not going to be able to avoid football forever, so why not introduce your son to your way? Take him to the game, explain to him what you find objectionable about it.

I don't agree that football is overly violent (hello, try hockey!), mostly just boring. This is particularly true if you attend a game in person. Between time outs and TV commercial breaks, the majority of your time is spent waiting for very brief moments of play.

If you're talking about a Raiders game, yes, I know the fans have a repuation for being violent. But my experience with them has been positive. When we took our daughter to her first NFL game as a 10 month old, these big menacing-looking dudes approached us. I was kind of nervous, but it turned out they wanted to make sure we had sunscreen on the baby, and asked us if we needed to borrow any! Raiders fans are just regular people - mostly parents, too - and the game day stuff is just an act.

But I still prefer baseball. A's fan mom

I recently took my 4 1/2 year old daughter with her uncle to a 49er's game. We stayed until the 3rd quarter and took a walk around the stadium during the second quarter. She really only paid attention when they were kicking the ball as it was difficult for her to follow the ball during other plays. Otherwise, she was happy cheering for the home team. We sat 45 rows up and it was difficult to see anything that appeared violent from our seats. I actually found the comments re the cheerleaders from the men around us more disturbing. anonymous

I'd say it kind of depends. Are dad and son watching football at home regularly together? Even if you aren't involved, is this a bonding thing between them? Does the kid want to go? I'd say let the dad and kid figure it out. If the kid hates it, they won't go again. It's violent, but probably more from the TV angles than what you actually see in person. And the crowd is pretty stimulating. Otherwise the game is long and boring. . . unless dad provides a play by play, in which case it's very bonding. Not sure you have to decide for them. Bonnie

IMHO, I would not take a 6 year old to a Raider game, but might to a 49er game. At the Raider games I have attended, the vast majority of patrons are drunk or drinking, smoking or stoned, yelling profanities and/or fighting. I thought I was too young, and I was 30. 49er game patrons are more tame, although I am sure there is some of the same elements there, just not as many. Although the fan bases may be different, the games are the same, and if you arent comfortable with the violence of it, it wont matter what game you attend. However, if your husband is watching it on tv with your son anyway, going to a game might be a nice bonding experience for them. a Raider fan anyway

My 3.5 year old daughter has been attending college football games since she was 3 months old. I don't see any problem with understanding the sport versus the violence of football. That may be my own cultural perspective, but she does seem to make much of the game really. She's more interested in what's going on around the stadium. She likes the flags, balloons, bands, mascot, pageantry of it all, and even reading the signs and score board. As for overstimulation, that can be an issue. I think it really depends on your son's temperament. My daughter is pretty mellow. She has had an overstimulation reaction a couple of times in the last three years and we simply left. Generally, she enjoys the day and it's no big deal. Hope this helps. Lori

I know NFL games are a little different than college games (which I think of as more family-friendly), but our 2yo son has been going to Cal football games (and Sharks hockey games) pretty much since he was born and loves them. There are always plenty of kids around. I would think the potentially noisy/boisterous crowd would be more of an issue than the ''violence'' on the field, which has never seemed to bother our kid. Obviously it will depend to some extent on your child's temperament, and there's a difference between teams/where your seats are/etc. - I don't think I'd take my kid into the midst of Raider Nation, for example. If you want a low-key way to test the waters, I'd suggest going to a Cal game and seeing how your kid does with that before spending big bucks for NFL tickets. JP

I have 6 year old twin girls, and this year I got a pair of 49ers season tickets. I alternate taking one of them to each home game, and so far it's been fine. I actually think football is less violent live when you can see they're just real people kinda far away, than on TV when each big hit is close-up, slow-motion, repeated and discussed over and over. All the other stuff going on in the stadium is a big part of the attraction for the kids (cheerleaders, half-time show, hot dogs, vendors, shouting de-fence, etc). The whole long game can sometimes be long, so it's good to be flexible if the kid gets bored. Anyway I'd say that as long as your husband isn't taking your kid into the Raiders Black Hole (crazy fan area), it'll be fine and fun! Mike

I've been taking my boys to Cal football games since the younger one was two years old. (Yes I KNOW this is not NFL football.) It's been a great bonding experience for us; and a cumulative learning experience, especially for my older son, now age seven. Regarding violence and overstimulation, I think that risk comes more from the fans in the stands than in the game itself. I would be wary of attending professional sports venues where alcohol is served in the stadium (or where people drink all day before showing up) and there is a tradition of dangerous drunken behavior and bad language in the stands. With the game itself, in addition to father-son bonding, I think it offers great opportunities for them to discuss some life lessons, like winning, losing, good sportsmanship, and overcoming adversity (like when the quarterback has a really lousy game, and comes back the next week to have a very successful game). Yes, football can be considered violent because it is a contact sport, but my son and I talk about the rules of the game, the consequences of acts like personal fouls (penalties for the team), and inevitable injuries to the players. I suppose in a few years, my older son and I will have conversations about football players who are good role models, and conversely, football players who have been arrested for violent acts outside of the game. Just maintain a dialogue with your son about sports; he should be OK going to a game with his dad. Sports mom

My guess is that your 6-year-old is very unlikely to be able to get close enough to the action at an NFL game to experience any of it as violence. Just a bunch of guys running on and off the field and piling up on top of each other. The real action is in the audience, and after all, these are football fans, not soccer. I would think he'd be bored out of his skull. Letitia

Taking toddlers to Oakland A's day game

June 2005

hi- My husband really wants to take our 23 month old twins to an Oakland A's day game. I understand that the game starts at 12:30 and usually finishes around 4:00-- right during nap time. Does the ball park offer any fun places for toddlers to run around? Is it at all kid friendly?

I can't imagine that they are going to want to sit still for 3 + hours especially since they may be really tired because they are missing their nap.

I am inclined to keep the kids at home and let my husband go by himself but it is his birthday and it's what he really wants to do. Any advice? Becky

The A's kids zone is located across the way from section 220 or 221. It has a climbing structure, a little house where kids can color, and some rides that cost a quarter or two. Older kids can practice pitching and fielding at the Kids Zone too.

Starting at age two, you are supposed to buy a ticket for your child. Third deck, called View Level, is the most affordable if you are going with kids. Tickets are $10 and kids are half price.

The Coliseum is a wonderful place to catch an afternoon game. My son is 2es! The A's afternoon games are kid-friendly. We've taken our little ones (my youngest was 6 weeks old at her first game) and had a good time. If your husband has his heart set on catching all 9 innings, you may be in for a long haul. Otherwise, go with your little one. There is a play area you can take him to when he gets wiggly (also, go around back to the little room with coloring activities.) And if he isn't spooked by characters, he should love Stomper. Elizabeth

Becky, chill, just give the dad a blanket, people fall asleep at baseball games all the time. People also leave early from games all the time, it's a casual thing, like going to the park or something. Thus the term ballpark. It's really no big deal, relax. you are making WAY too big a deal about this.

And is it fun for toddlers? Yes, they will have fun, after all its a BASEBALL game, which is a family orientated activity.

Let your husband do what he want's for his birthday. Even if the twins get ''tired''.... You could dress them up in cute little matching A's hats for him and surprise him. 2 year olds go to games all the time, babies go to games all the time, they will love it. optimist

We've been taking our kids (now 4 1/2 and 2) to A's games for as long as I can remember. I'm not a big baseball fan (the hubby is fan enough for the two of us), but have come to enjoy going with the kids. A couple of things to know: 1)The Stomper Fun Zone is a play area where the kids can run around like maniacs. There is a little play structure and some toys. There's a bounce house that costs a buck per kid and some quarter-eating ride-on machines. On weekend games the big cuddly elephant mascot, Stomper, generally shows up here to chum it up w/ the wee ones. 2) Give up any illusion that you or the kids will be able to follow the game for more than an inning at a time, max. Forget it. 3) Bring distractions like toys and snacks. 4) Sit in the cheap seats and get lots of empty rows for the kids to run around without garnering the annoyed looks of fellow attendees. 5) It would be REALLY hard to take two toddlers alone. But, uh, you weren't suggesting that were you? 6) Be willing to buy the kids a frosty malt or other treat. 7) Be willing to leave early if it is all too much (easy to do because you're in the cheap seats!) The hubby sometimes BARTs home after we've left if it is a compelling/ significant game.

Have fun! Molly G

We've been taking our kids to A's games since infancy. Here are my suggestions.

1) Buy your tickets in the shade. There are several shady spots and the ticket agent can help you. Bonus: lots of seniors have season tickets in the shade & we have always found older people to be more tolerant/accepting and even entusiastic about sitting near little ones.

2) Yes there are places to play with toddlers (Stomper's Zone - ask any attendant where it is) but I recommend you don't even let your kids know about it until after the 7th inning stretch. Once you let your kids know that getting out of their seats is an option, they will never sit still again.

3) Even though the website says no large bags, no backpacks, they are totally cool about diaper bags, thank goodness!

4) So bring snacks and drinks from home in your diaper bag. Plastic bottles only. This way you don't have to get up and let your kids in on the you-can-get-up secret.

5) When there are ''dance for the camera'' breaks, you can get on the big screen quite easily with kids if you are so inclined. Dress them in A's wear for a better chance (hats will do.) And if you don't have A's wear already, it's much cheaper outside the stadium. You'll run into vendors on your way in or on the BART bridge if that's how you're getting there.

6) Either leave the game early or stay a bit after the end of the game and wait out the rush. It clears out pretty quickly, but at its peak, seems kind of scary with kids.

Have fun. We love the A's!!
Eric Chavez fan

If your husband is realistic, this could be a fantastic father- sons bonding experience , but perhaps not the best game- watching experience for your husband. !. Have two adults. Don't plan on staying the whole game. Arrive early, to get to your seats and stake your comfort zone. KNOW WHERE THE BATHROOMS ARE, and k Keep in mind that bathrooms probably don't have diaper changing tables, ESPECIALLY the men's bathrooms, tho possible in the handicapped stalls. Take snacks and extra handi-wipes (food for purchase is very salty) and plan on staying only for the first half of the game, at most. Take plenty of spendy money, and walking the vendor route. Neither you nor your husband will really get to watch much of the game. Oh, at Oakland, Take SUNSCREEN and WARM CLOTHING BOTH! sara

Hello! Maybe he could wait until their naptime is over and then take them to the rest of the game. You could try to get them to go down early at 11:30 or 12:00, and then they would be up by 2:00 or so and get to spend an hour or longer at the game (which is plenty long for a toddler). Just remind your husband that though it sounds like fun now, it won't be much fun for anyone if the kids are tired, grumpy and unhappy to be sitting in their seats! Susan