Brown: Ticket stubs hold multiple memories

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Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 12:00 am

Remember the old Rod Stewart song, "Every picture tells a story, don't it?"

Maybe you don't, but my version goes, "Every ticket tells a story, don't it?"

I have saved the ticket stub from every sporting event (and a few non-sporting events) that I have attended since Dec. 21, 1977. That's the oldest stub I could find, and on that winter night I watched the Milwaukee Bucks beat the San Antonio Spurs, 116-92, from the middle parquet of the old Milwaukee Arena.

I know the score because I wrote it on the back of the stub, a practice I repeated only a few other times and only for Bucks' games. Not sure why.

But I don't remember anything else about Dec. 21, 1977. That's not the case with a lot of these other stubs.

Since 1982, I have been putting the ticket stubs in a beer mug that proclaims the Milwaukee Brewers the 1982 American League champions. It sits on a mantel in our basement family room. Not long ago, I found my 5-year-old Ellie going through the stubs, and for the first time in a long time, I looked through them as well.

Here are some of the more memorable ones:

* Oct. 15, 1982

Speaking of the AL champion Brewers, I saw a World Series game in 1982 -- the first World Series game in Milwaukee since 1958 and the first ever involving the Brewers. The Brewers lost that game to the St. Louis Cardinals. Rookie Willie McGee hit two home runs for the Cards, but the thing I remember most was Milwaukee's Ted Simmons hitting a line drive so hard off St. Louis starting pitcher Joaquin Andujar's knee that the ball ricocheted into the Brewers' dugout.

* Nov. 29-30, 1996

"Touched down in the land of the Delta blues, in the middle of the pouring rain."

Actually, me and four friends touched down in a rainy Little Rock, Ark.

Every year, my friend Ray would plan a football weekend where we would travel south and watch as many football games as we could in two days. On this trip it was Arkansas vs. Louisiana State on the Friday after Thanksgiving followed by Mississippi vs. Mississippi State in Oxford on Saturday.

Our flight was running late and it was pouring rain in Little Rock, so we sent Ray ahead in a taxi to get tickets while we got the rental car (we never bought tickets ahead of time). When we got to the stadium, Ray was standing in the rain with a fistful of soggy tickets that people had just given to him.

That night we drove to Memphis ,and it poured all night as we visited Beale Street.

Back in Little Rock the next morning, while eating breakfast at a Waffle House, we could see another Waffle House down the street.

Finally, at the Ole Miss-MSU game the following day (sunny!) a state senator from Mississippi made national news for yelling racial slurs at the Mississippi State players from the stands following the Bulldogs' upset win.

* Nov. 21-22, 1998

Pretty much the same group of guys: We saw Ole Miss visit Georgia in Athens on Saturday afternoon, then drove to Clemson, S.C., to see the Tigers play arch rival South Carolina on Saturday night.

One team was 1-9 and the other was 2-8, but the stadium at Clemson was packed. Following Clemson's win, the fans stormed the stadium and tore down the goalposts.

I touched the goalpost as it was passed to the top of the stadium. Later, as we walked back to our car, a group of students ran past us with the goalpost and threw it into a pond.

We drove back to Atlanta that night, visited some local watering holes and then watched the Chicago Bears play the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

The Bears lost.

I think I paid a total of $25 for all three games.

* Non-sporting events.

On Oct. 14, 1980, I saw Bruce Springsteen at the Milwaukee Arena. The face value of the ticket, $9. But I attended for free because a fellow Marquette student had an extra ticket at the last minute.

I think the only Springsteen song I knew prior to that concert was "Born to Run." But a Springsteen fan was born that night. He played for three hours -- no warm-up act and no breaks. The late, great Clarence Clemons on sax was a sight to behold. You haven't lived until you hear "Rosalita" live.

It remains the best concert I have ever seen.

And on May 22, 1993, I saw Jerry Seinfeld at the Coronado Theatre in Rockford, Ill. Ticket price, $25.

His TV show was just a few years old, but some friends and I were already fans. We made the trip up from Dixon, Ill.

I could go on and on and on -- numerous Brewers games, the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park not once, but twice, and a lot more college football games.

Every one of these ticket stubs brings back memories and has a story to tell.

I still don't remember why I decided to save the ticket stub when the Spurs played the Bucks on Dec. 21, 1977, but I'm glad I did.

Email Ken at kbrown@wcinet.com.

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