As a Patriots season ticket holder, I attend almost every home game, so I have become quite familiar with the way in which the game is produced inside Gillette Stadium. The selection of music, the firing of muskets, the introduction of players, the pregame entertainment, etc. It’s all very scripted and very predictable.
Throughout the game, during timeouts and other stoppages in play, the enormous television screens at either end of the field often feature images of fans in the stands.
If you’ve ever been to a live sporting event, you’ve probably seen it before.
The camera alights upon a group of four young men. They realize that they are onscreen. It is clear that they are all slightly drunk. They all wave in the wrong direction.
The camera alights upon an enormous man whose beard makes him look as if he could’ve played for Led Zeppelin. He grins and offers the camera a lazy thumbs-up.
The camera alights upon a small boy in a Tom Brady jersey eating a hot dog. He sees himself onscreen and begins jumping up and down, causing me to worry that a hunk of hot dog is about to become lodged in this throat.
These are typical images captured by the Gillette Stadium “Fan Cam” each week.
At last Sunday’s Patriots game, the camera operators returned several times to an attractive young blond wearing tight jeans and a shirt that exposed her midriff when he arms were in the air. Each time the camera alighted on her, she was already dancing, smiling and otherwise bouncing about.
She was the only person who appeared on the screen more than once that day, and she may be the only person to appear more than once on the screen in my three years of season ticket ownership.
I’m not dumb. I know why this young woman was featured so often onscreen. She was beautiful, enthusiastic, and dressed in considerably less clothing than most fans. And at more than half of the fans in the stadium are male.
But it left me wondering how this made the female fans feel.
For a man to be chosen to appear onscreen, he can weigh 300 pounds and have a beard that reaches down to his waist.
He can be wearing a saucepan on his head and a clown nose.
He can be covered in silver and blue makeup from head to toe.
A man’s size, weight, age, facial hair or style of dress seems to have no bearing on determining if he will be featured on the big screen.
But the women who appear on the screen tend to be young, thin and beautiful.
How does this make the rest of the women in the stadium feel?
I’d like to think that I can imagine how this must make the rest of the women in the stadium feel, but the only thing I know about women with any degree of certainty is that I should never pretend to understand women with any degree of certainty.
But as the father of a little girl, it does not make me happy.
I’m not exactly sure why, but it does.