When wandering through a stadium during the off-season, the stillness can be overwhelming. The arena is full of life and commotion during the season, but most everyone is gone now. Only a few die-hard athletes and year-round staff remain, preparing for the next year, or just hanging around because they don’t have anywhere better to be.
As you walk around in the near silence, it’s easy to imagine the kind of bustling activity that occurs when everyone is around. While much of the mess has been cleaned up, the main infrastructure remains and you can squint your eyes and envision the players moving about on the field. While meandering about, you feel nostalgic about previous visits as well as a strong yearning for the start of the upcoming season.
While it can be a moving experience for devoted fans, a visit to a stadium during the off-season is an ineffective way to recruit new enthusiasts. Newcomers don’t have the context to understand the significance of what, for veterans, easily conjures up visions of previous events. The inexperienced see only the vacant shell, not the memories of what happened inside it.
New fans are enticed by the exhilarating color and drama that comes when the stadium is full of life – when there is more to see than can be seen. After sufficient time, however, they will also come to appreciate a walk unhurried through an empty arena, soaking in the atmosphere. Reminiscences of the past and anticipation of the future provide ample gratification.