Thursday, November 17, 2005

The good life

Box Seats Baby
Originally uploaded by hyuhan.

When the Staples Center opened about 6 years ago it marked the beginning of a new era for sports enthusiasts in LA.

Some Staples Center facts:
• 20,000 seats
• $400 million estimated construction costs. (approximate)
• 160 suites from 250 to 425 square feet.
• Premier Club, stadium bar limited to 200 members and $10,500 a year dues.
• The Premier Club has a private wine cellar.
• Arena Club, 500 seat restaurant.
• Premier seats, 2,500 seats.
• 15,000 sq ft marshaling area to accommodate trucks/sets
• $1.5 million sound system.
• 1,200 televisions screens in clusters throughout the building.
• 10,000 sq ft sports bar by Fox Network on the lower level.

When I heard the Staples Center was opening, I cursed its existence. It was not an arena to be enjoyed by the average Lakers’ fan. Its purpose was to entertain and cater to the elite. A large proportion of its seats are in the hundreds/thousands of dollars and are sold to high-end corporations and the rich. We went to the Staples Center for the first time tonight after being given box seat tickets to the Lakers’ game. There were of course celebrities galore (it’s LA) and the VIP section was very posh, as I had expected. Sometimes, I find myself hating the world of the rich and famous in the affluent areas of LA – from the droves of women dressed head to toe in only high end designer labels to the parade of luxury automobiles. But, I have to admit that I enjoy the good life, too. What if you had the opportunity to stay for a week at the Ritz in Maui for free, were given complimentary Lakers’ box seat tickets, and had a generous expense account to stay at 5-star hotels (all of these have happened to us)? One side of me pushes to be a good steward of the money God has given me and the prissy side enjoys the deluxe accommodations at the Ritz. I often feel like I need to justify the money I spend. After all, there are so many more worthy causes out there and so many productive things that can be done with our money. How and where does one begin to draw the line at “excess?” I have learned that where you draw this line is very relative.

There was a time that Joe and I lived in a 1-bedroom apartment and slept in a twin bed together and felt that we had everything we needed in the world. Even though we have come a long way from that humble start, we still reminisce fondly about the beginning when we owned very little, but were happy and felt like we had it all.

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