We had a hotter than normal summer here in northern Nevada, so I was looking forward to some cool Bay Area weather as my spouse and I headed to San Francisco last weekend for the 49ers season opener against the Green Bay Packers. It turned out to be the region’s warmest weekend of the summer.
Sitting shoulder to shoulder with other sweaty fans made me even hotter. So early in the third quarter I went in search of some ice cream. As I stood in line savoring the breeze, conversations swirling around me all centered on the fact that no one could buy any more beer. I thought alcohol sales stopped after the third quarter; those complaining said this had never happened to them before. I think it’s fine for the stadium to limit consumption to limit drunk driving, although if this was a change in the rule, it would have been helpful to post a notice.
The next day we heard that a fan had fallen to his death just after the start of the game. Witnesses reported that the man appeared intoxicated. It was rather unsettling to think that thousands were enjoying themselves while someone was dying nearby. I also couldn’t help but consider the incongruity of people clamoring to drink more while too much drinking had caused a death less than two hours earlier.
I realize that whether stadium vendors stop selling alcohol at the beginning of the third quarter or the fourth, it wouldn’t have saved this man. Tailgating was in full swing when we arrived at Candlestick three hours before kickoff. I suppose the stadium limits sales of alcohol mostly to avoid liability in the case of DUI accidents after the game. But it would be great if this policy helped people realize that they don’t need to consume large quantities of alcohol to have a good time.