Tom Ross: Luxury boxes aren’t what you think |

Tom Ross: Luxury boxes aren’t what you think

No Rockies tickets for me - you'd better not rub it in

— No, I do not have tickets for a Rockies playoff game this weekend. Want to make something out of it? I’ll bet you never sat in a luxury box. Take that.

Can you tell I’m a little cranky about missing out on LoDo fever today?

Contrary to perceptions you might have about the “media,” the Rocks’ management isn’t Fed-Xing press passes to every small newspaper in the state this week. The guys from our office who are headed for Blake Street this weekend earned their tix “the old-fashioned way.”

Given a choice between watching the game on the tube and camping near a trout stream, I’m headed for the great outdoors. I’m pretty sure the fish aren’t keeping score. But if the trout are pitching a shutout, we’ll sit by the campfire and I’ll bore my buddy with stories about the times I’ve lucked into luxury boxes at professional sporting events.

I want to state for the record that none of my luxury box experiences had any link whatsoever to my employment at the newspaper. Sure, the reporting gig won me a handful of plum passes to work the sidelines, but no plush seats at athletic events.

My first experience with elite seating came through the generosity of a relative who has business connections with Milwaukee’s big sports franchises. She arranged for us to sit in two different luxury boxes at two sporting events on the same day.

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We sat in box seats in the old Milwaukee County Stadium and watched as the Milwaukee Brewers prevailed against the Texas Rangers. The game was fairly meaningless, but it was a chance to watch the great Robin Yount play before his Hall of Fame career ended. We also watched Jose Canseco power a moon shot into the teeth of a stiff breeze blowing off Lake Michigan. It was years later that I came to understand the nature of Canseco’s Herculean strength.

After the matinee baseball game, we pigged out on knockwurst and transferred downtown to the Bradley Center, where the Milwaukee Bucks were retiring Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s number. That’s right, before the big fella donned the gold and purple of the Lakers, he launched enough skyhooks to lead the Bucks to an NBA title.

Our box in the Bradley Center was the real deal – all the cheese and beer we could consume. We even got to stand outside the entrance to the box and greet Mr. Jabbar and his bodyguards as they swept by.

My next luxury box experience, curiously enough, afforded me no luxuries. An acquaintance flipped me a couple of passes to watch a game during the Rockies’ inaugural season at Mile High Stadium (That’s not a typo. If you were around in 1993, you’ll recall that Coors Field hadn’t yet been built).

I’m grateful for the memory of seeing Sammy Sosa hit six singles that afternoon. However, the luxury box wasn’t owned by any corporate big wigs, and that meant the carpet was dingy, the furniture was threadbare and there was no beverage service, if you know what I mean.

Finally, I had an opportunity to plant my skinny butt in a luxury box for a University of Wisconsin hockey game. If you haven’t been to the Kohl Center to watch the speed and athleticism of amateur skaters, if you haven’t seen the Badger pep band do the “Jump Around,” you don’t know how big-time college hockey can be.

Undeniably, I’ve retained special memories of every trip I’ve taken to a luxury box. Still, given the choice, I’d rather be rubbing shoulders with the bleacher bums in the Rockpile this weekend than sitting in a cushy seat behind a thick pane of luxurious glass.

Keep on Rockin’ me baby!