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12 Unexpected Things That Were Banned from Sports Stadiums

Heading to the big game? You may need to leave these items at home.

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Think grilling and drinking before the big game is half the fun? MetLife Stadium, host of Super Bowl XLVII, banned tailgating from the parking lot. Visitors were able to eat and drink in their cars, and within the boundary of their individual parking space. But grills, lounge chairs, and anything taking up more than one parking space were not allowed. But that’s not one of the 15 craziest things you never knew about the Super Bowl.

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The University of Michigan banned marshmallows from its football stadium after rowdy students began throwing stale versions of the candy at each other. Officials said the practice is dangerous, especially when multiple mallows are mashed together, resulting in a concoction that can be “as hard as a golf ball.”

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Certain Songs

In 2012, football giant Penn State University decided to ban the song “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond from playing during their football games. (Some fans suspected the school felt that certain lyrics were inappropriate, in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal; school officials claim the ban has nothing to do with the lyrics of the song.) Other bans have included the song “Rock and Roll Part 2” in stadiums as diverse as North Carolina public schools and Super Bowl XLVI. We bet you never knew these 13 songs have been banned from karaoke.

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In Brazil, host country to the World Cup in 2014, there is an existing ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages in soccer stadiums, and there have been discussions to enforce similar laws across Europe. For the 2018 World Cup in Moscow, Russia set alcohol restrictions in the city the day of and before matches, though fans could still buy from the stadium and approved fan zones. Learn about 18 other weird things that have been banned around the world.

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Certain baseball games have sections that are designated peanut-free to accommodate attendees with allergies. “[A] peanut-controlled game day means offering an isolated section of around 100 seats that have been thoroughly cleaned, banning the sale of nuts nearby, posting signs and ushers around to make fans aware of the nut-free zone and keeping medical staff close for emergencies,” according to Reuters. Other stadiums have dedicated areas across the season, reported the Huffington Post.

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Paper Airplanes

In 1974, Cleveland Browns fan Dale Cox personally petitioned for a ban on paper airplanes at the Browns’ stadium. “It appears that one of the pastimes of several fans has become the sailing of paper airplanes,” Cox wrote. “There is risk of serious eye injury and perhaps an ear injury as a result of such airplanes … It is hoped that this disrespectful and possibly dangerous activity will be terminated.” The Browns’ attorney wrote back: “Dear Mr. Cox, I feel that you should be aware that some [jerk] is signing your name to stupid letters.” Check out these 11 strange things athletes are banned from doing.

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Cow Bells

In 1974, the Southeastern Conference banned cowbells, a traditional noisemaker used at Mississippi State University sporting events, calling the clanging a “disruption.” However, the SEC revisited the topic and voted to allow MSU fans to ring bells during pre-game, timeouts, halftime, and after the team scores.

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So that’s why ponchos are so popular! Almost all large sports stadiums ban umbrellas because they disrupt the view of other spectators and can be dangerous when used incorrectly. But if you’re in the market for one, here are the best umbrellas to keep you dry on a rainy day.

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Beach Balls

Beach balls are banned from most stadiums because of their potential to interrupt games and distract players when the inflatable inevitably lands on the field. Fans have also been injured by other attendees leaping across seats for their chance to give the ball a swipe. Did you know that Disney parks banned these everyday items?

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Parents, be prepared to carry your kids. Many sports venues prohibit the use of strollers inside the stadium. You won’t want to miss the 50 dumbest laws in each state.

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Laser Pointers

Experts say laser pointers can cause eye damage if stared at for long enough, but the rays of red, blue, yellow, green, or violet light are more likely to distract athletes during important moments. In April 2012, a teenager was arrested at a St. Louis Cardinals game for shining a laser on the field, and the Russian Football Union banned the devices after fans tried to shine light into the goalkeeper’s eyes during a game.

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The NFL’s Stadium Bag Policy bans any bag larger than 4.5 by 6.5 inches. Visitors are encouraged to carry their items in a small clutch, their pockets, or clear plastic bags. You won’t believe these 50 bizarre things that are banned in the United States.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest