Navigating huge crowds at major events can cause great anxiety. For example, going to an arena concert or an NFL football game can include encounters with crazy fans, rude comments, long lines, and difficulty transporting to and within the vicinity. I used to avoid major events because of those reasons. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I overcame those anxieties.
Each year, my husband Justin and his close friends spend a weekend together to see the Buffalo Bills play the New England Patriots, whether the game is in Buffalo, New York, or Foxborough, Massachusetts. Last year was the first time I joined the gang and went to my first game in good ol’ Buffalo.
Because I was apprehensive about going, Justin took care during the planning process to ensure the trip would be easy and stress-free. Justin and I also went to see the Buffalo Bills play the New York Jets last week, and he carried out the exact same thoughtful planning.
Following are some things Justin considered during planning:
- Fatigue: It was a long day that included waking up early, traveling, tailgating, and attending the nearly three-hour game. We packed my rollator so that I could sit whenever possible to conserve energy before entering the stadium. The rollator also helped with getting in and out of the car and around the parking lot.
- Reserved accessible parking: The tailgating parking lots are far from the stadium entrance. To reduce the walk without my rollator (I had to leave it in the car because we couldn’t bring it into the stadium), we reserved ADA-compliant parking, which is usually directly outside the main entrance. This was easily arranged online through the stadium’s website, and Justin was able to prepay.
- Wheelchair use: Just past the stadium’s security check, event staff stood with wheelchairs to loan. I was relieved that the staff brought me to my seat, both for my safety and also to reduce the walk. They also took my contact information so that they could arrange to roll me out once the game finished. It was cool to roll through the stadium tunnels that most people don’t get to see!
- Seat selection: Having aisle seats made it easy to get in and out of seating because I didn’t have to maneuver past people’s legs. We also got seats close to the section entrance so that I wouldn’t have to walk up or down many stairs.
These considerations made me feel safe and comfortable, which I haven’t felt in a long time during major events. Both New Era Field and MetLife Stadium were very accommodating! Unfortunately, sometimes major events and long days still get me worked up and worried about how to physically keep up. My anxiety goes through the roof and I lose sleep at night. However, now I know I can do anything I set my mind to even though FA is in the picture!
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