5 Year Old To Rutger Game?

Submitted by ermgoblerg on October 23rd, 2018 at 11:12 PM

First post after 10+ years reading this blog so go easy, yada yada...

I got two free tickets to the Rutgers game which happens to fall on my son’s birthday.  He’s turning 5. The tickets appear to be 50 yard line-ish and pretty close to the field on the Rutger side. 

My question is whether it’s completely irresponsible to bring a 5 year old to a college football game (weather and the interest level of a 5 year old notwithstanding). 

All thoughts/opinions appreciated!



October 23rd, 2018 at 11:15 PM ^

I have a 7 year old and I would have had no problem taking her to a Game at the Big House. The taking a kid part can be tough (walking, bathroom, food, long day, etc) but as far as safety and being able to do it, no problem. 


October 23rd, 2018 at 11:15 PM ^

Every week I see people holding infants.

Personally I wouldn't bring a kid until he's like 14, but that's just me.

In other words, you're gonna get answers all over the place, but I doubt many people will tell tell you not to bring the kid. 

On a side note, I took my oldest to his first game when he was 6. It was the UCF game. He was only interested in the suspended camera and Jake Butt.


October 24th, 2018 at 4:29 AM ^

It's super easy to take infants, as long as you have adequate protection from the noise for their ears and otherwise adequate clothing and supplies. Infants are equally unpleasant to care for in every circumstance, and they can't move on their own, so there's no problem having them in the stadium.

Toddlers and preschoolers are another story. My kids are now 3 and 5. The older one attended multiple football and basketball games as an infant, without any real problems. But they are now only good for about 1 quarter of a football game at home. They sit on the couch with me and we yell like idiots for an hour. Then they get bored and do something else. So, I don't think I'd take a 5 year old.

Cali Wolverine

October 23rd, 2018 at 11:20 PM ^

He is going to be so bored.  Not because you are taking him to a game (my daughter has been going to football games since she was 4)...because you are making him watch Rutgers Football.  You are going to scar him for life.

Big Boutros

October 23rd, 2018 at 11:23 PM ^

My first game at Michigan Stadium was the 1996 M-MSU game as a lil tiny small guy. It snowed a bit and I remember being shocked at the M cheerleaders picking up Sparty and ramming him into the goalpost. Then we hung out with my dad's old college friend Rob, who had been his best man at my parents' wedding. I have my suspicions that once upon a time Dad and Rob smoked lots of marijuana together


October 23rd, 2018 at 11:24 PM ^

I took my oldest girl to a Michigan-Minnesota game in Minneapolis when she was six. I really wanted to share the experience with her.

The key is to accept that your kid won't get the same thing you do from the game: For a child that age, it's all about experience. Sights and sounds. A box of popcorn to eat. A walk to the concession stand for candy or treats. He might feel like playing in front of the seat. 

If you're concerned about safety, some of that depends on him--does he obey when told to do things? Can he handle you gently but firmly grasping his hand as you navigate crowded concourses? If you can do that, you're fine. Accept that some of your attention will be taken away from the game by supervising him.

I'd go early, get close to the players warming up so you can hear the clash of pads and the coaches yelling, watch the band, all that stuff. Dress warmer than you expect--when you're not moving, you get cold, and a cold child is an unhappy child. Get him something fun on the way to or at the game to be excited about and play with. Point out key players and their numbers and repeat their names. Devin Bush or Chase Winovich on defense ("Chase is 47!" "Bush 10!"), for example, and Gentry or DPJ or Shea on offense. 

Years from now your son might not remember much of it, but he can remember the experience of being with you.

I think you'll have a great time. 

EDIT: Just asked my 12-year-old about that game I took her to when she was six. Does she remember it? "Yep. We got free towels!"


October 23rd, 2018 at 11:44 PM ^

A lot of that depends on gametime, I think. In 2015 I took that daughter and my second daughter to the Michigan-Minnesota game. We had what I thought would be good seats low in the upper deck in front of the Michigan section (Rob H dropped by and said hello, if I recall). However, it was October 31 and it was at night and we wound up sitting in the middle of perhaps 20 drunk post-college guys dressed as Waldo (as in, Where's Waldo). It became unpleasant for my girls, so we found an empty spot a section over and spent the game there. It worked out fine. 

If it's not sold out, you can just bail and move somewhere else if you're near someone really obnoxious, even if they don't intend to be. Assuming you aren't a jerk to other fans, they will generally be respectful to you even if you root for different teams. A vast majority of people don't want to be mean to a kid. 


October 24th, 2018 at 12:26 AM ^

I would think Rutgers this year would be kind of ideal. We went in 2016, which was a night game with blackout, and expected we might run into some Jersey bros or something but there was no problem at all. 1/3 of the stadium was M fans and no one gave us any crap. Even talked to  various nice Rutger fans (poor babes) during and after the game.

Anyway, with a young kid you're probably looking for non-threatening atmosphere and a game that it's ok to look away from. That sounds like Rutgers to me.


October 24th, 2018 at 2:20 PM ^

I have taken my kids to Michigan games (in Ann Arbor) at younger ages and they were fine.  Kept feeding them food and drinks and they were happy.  Got a little bored in the 4th quarter and then gave them our iphones to play with until we left.  I've personally been to two Rutgers game but they were both night games, so didn't subject my kids to those (they were both younger than 4 for the first game in 2014).  So my only concern would be that it might be a night game, although there are some decent big ten games that week, NW at Iowa, Wisco at PSU, OSU at. MSU, so hopefully the game will not be a 730 kickoff


October 23rd, 2018 at 11:25 PM ^

my first memories of Michigan football are of Anthony Carter.  I turned 5 in 1982 but had been going to games since in utero back when they still allowed alcohol in the stands and people brought in coolers and thermoses.   I'm in favor of it as long as you plan for the bathroom, a blanket, and some hot chocolate.  A big part of it for a 5 year old is just about being there for all the excitement and being with your Dad and family.  Indoctrinate them early!



October 23rd, 2018 at 11:39 PM ^

No one's going to get all that excited at a LOLRutger game, including Michigan fans. Likely to be as safe an environment as you'll ever get at a major sporting event. Now, as to the safety of your journey through Piscataway... I've never been, but I choose to imagine a scene from Escape From New York

User tip: if Chef from South Park rolls up in a pimped out Cadillac Fleetwood with chandeliers on either side of the hood, you're in the right place. Savor the moment.




October 23rd, 2018 at 11:47 PM ^

Should be a lot of offense, which kept me interested when I went to games as a kid. I think I could focus better when we got seats that were not directly behind the end zone, so at least in the corner if sideline is too pricey. Other than that it’s a great bonding moment.


October 24th, 2018 at 12:01 AM ^

I brought my 5 year old to three games this year.  She gets squirmy and stuff so it's a hard time keeping her in her seat, but she says she enjoys the games and keeps asking to come back.

If you take your son to rutgers you're going to have to explain to him afterwards that Michigan doesn't normally win by 60 every game.


October 24th, 2018 at 12:33 AM ^

NCAA crowds are normally better than NFL crowds, provided you're not in the middle of the student section.  Part of the reason for that is that alcohol sales are banned at many college events.  While Rutgers appears to be on the way to selling beer inside the stadium, it doesn't appear that they've done so yet.

With 50-yard-line seats, you'd be nowhere near the students; you'll be surrounded by the sort of people who buy Rutger season football tickets and an awful lot of Michigan fans.

I think you got the caveats right in your post: if it's a noon game and the weather's nice, I'd say, go for it.  If it's going to be a night game with a wind chill of 15 degrees, watch on TV.

As an aside -- I swear I'm not making this up -- this is an actual line from an actual statement put out by a Rutgers Senate committee as part of the recommendation to allow alcohol sales:

  1. Follow example of peer and aspirational peer universities such as Air Force Academy, Maryland, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Purdue

"Rutgers.  We aspire to be like Ohio State."

Maize in Cincy

October 24th, 2018 at 12:54 AM ^

Get there early to avoid huge lines.  Plan on leaving at halftime.  It will most likely be quite cold for a 5yr old to have much fun past the 2hr mark.  Buy him whatever food he wants before the band comes out and something at the mden that might occupy him a bit.

UgLi Eric

October 24th, 2018 at 1:13 AM ^

I have a 5 year old, and she admires older kids. Seeing that it's Rutger and the playing field will be half-full with other children playing, it should be exciting. 

Oh and I've posted before about this. My daughter loves spotting Chase. So keep pointing him and his lush golden locks out, and it should be entertaining for the little one. 

Maize and Luke

October 24th, 2018 at 5:40 AM ^

I've been taking my youngest since he was 5, maybe even 4. Imo there's nothing irresponsible about it. He might get bored and if you're too close it'll be hard for him to see. I see all ages of kids there. Get him started early and enjoy this father and son experience. 


October 24th, 2018 at 6:43 AM ^

Well, if you were looking to take your kid to see a game where Michigan will likely be the victor in a bloodbath, you've chosen well. We could probably easily put 100 up on this Rutgers team.

4th and Go For It

October 24th, 2018 at 6:48 AM ^

I think five is good age for their first game. Kid-dependent, I guess, so think about your son and his interests but I would take my five year old. That said, as with anything, just be prepared that they might not appreciate the things you appreciate, may not have stamina for the whole game, and you may spend as much time on bathroom trips/snack trips as you do watching the game. If you're in it for watching every minute of an epic dismantling of a bad Rutgers team by our third string defense, maybe not a great idea as you might not make it to halftime, but I'd rather take them to a game like that where I know we'll ultimately win than a game where I'm investing myself in the outcome. I took my son to his first baseball game at 3 at Wrigley. I don't care about MLB or the Cubs, so when he was tired and wanted to leave during the middle of the 5th, it was no big deal and I could just enjoy my first baseball game with my son for what it was.

Two Hearted Ale

October 24th, 2018 at 7:15 AM ^

My three year old has been to two games. She made it to halftime last year and through the third quarter this year. I taught her The Victors before the game so she was ready to clap and sing when it was played. Singing and clapping were her biggest interest, followed by watching beach balls in the croud and eating snacks she would never get at home.


October 24th, 2018 at 7:27 AM ^

That is the perfect game to take them to. My 6 year old lasted until halftime. I would note want to take her to a big game but picked a blood bath game so I didn't mind leaving early. 


October 24th, 2018 at 8:02 AM ^

Definitely take him!  I have two boys, currently ages 6 and 9.  I've been taking them for years, starting at age 3 or so and they love it!  Just plan on getting lots of popcorn.


October 24th, 2018 at 8:19 AM ^

My opinion matters greatly since I do not have any children, that being said I would wait until the kid shows  strong interest and will be there to watch the game and not just because someone is taking them... Watching football at home together being interactive is great but sitting with 50,000 ( do that many people watch Rutgers Football ) in cold weather waiting in lines for food, bathroom, etc does not sound ideal.  Plus it will greatly hinder your ability to enjoy the game as well, lets be honest it will...


October 24th, 2018 at 9:52 AM ^

I would echo this. My daughter is a passionate sports fan at 14, and as parents we just took her to everything from Day 1. But there were definitely--sports and music--that proved a little intimidating, wild loud, or boring to her. In the end a football day is a very long day surrounded by very large people. Could depend on your kid, but. . .  


October 24th, 2018 at 8:31 AM ^

Last year I took my then 5 year old son to the Big House for the Rutgers game and he sat thru the whole game and loved it.  He stood on the bleachers and my lap to see the action.  Like other posters said.  You will be getting up for bathroom break for sure.  Stay warm and feed them popcorn!

We went to the Western game this year and he is now 6...I will say from 5-6 he was more into the game and understood it better.  Still a great time! Especially free tix...can beat it.  Go out to breakfast before and it will be an awesome time.