As a little girl I would ascend from the basement, where I played with my dollhouse, to find the men of the family watching the football game. I’d ask, “who’s winning?” and be told it’s “the [name related to local heritage].” With as much exasperation as a seven-year-old can muster I would clarify, “what color are they?” Then I picked my team and that’s who I rooted for. Can you say fair weather fan?
My understanding of football has not progressed. Neither has my interest. Which is why it’s odd that I voluntarily went on a tour of the Dallas Cowboys Stadium. The words “behind-the-scenes” are seductive to me. I can’t resist.
Holy Cow-Boys, Batman!
Despite my ambivalence for sports, I have been to a few arenas–even the Charlotte NASCAR track. I was not prepared for the awe I experienced once inside. The Dallas Stadium is massive, and shockingly attractive. Who knew sports could be handsome (in addition to the athletes, of course)?
Built in 2009 with the goal to last 60 years, this is the largest NFL stadium and the largest dome structure in the world. The Statue of Liberty could stand on the field and her flames wouldn’t scorch the roof. Partly because the roof opens, as do the side walls made of glass. Do the Jetsons live here? It would be hard to find them among the 80,000 seated and 20,000 standing fans. Those folks pay an average $124 per ticket–maybe THAT’s why I’m not so into football?
Notes on the architecture: steel arches to support the dome (flying buttresses, anyone?); light fixtures shaped like footballs; downstairs and backstage.
Did You Know that TVs Can Be Waterproof?
While I still had a tube TV until just last year, I can appreciate a beautiful screen when I see one. And this folks, is a gorgeous screen. At $40 million it better be.
It weighs 1.2 million pounds, is 72 feet tall, and the size of a seven-story building. Think they bought it at Best Buy?
Why is it waterproof? Because the roof opens and sometimes it rains in Texas.
Oh, Sexism! What a Surprise to Find You Here
The players’ locker room is simple and as elegant as a locker room can be. The wood is $9,000 and imported from Africa, or some such thing. I’m not sure what measurement of the wood is that cost–each locker, the whole room (doubtful on the last), that was unclear.
Impressively, it doesn’t smell like high school–and I took a deep whiff. Four clocks make damn sure the team knows what time it is.
And then, just like at the gym, the room is rented out for parties. That’s a bit odd to me, considering the changing of clothes that occurs here. Would you have a party in the dressing room at the GAP? I know; I’m not a fan, how could I possibly understand? (I think even if I were a fan, I would have sanitary heebie jeebies.)
Now lets look at the cheerleaders’ locker room. Their costumes are out for viewing (but not touching); and pictures of each of them hang on the walls. Think they want to look at themselves? Well, actually, maybe they do, but that’s not the point. We can follow them on Twitter, but not the players? Ummm, hello? The players can read and write; they went to college, you know.
And NOW I Understand the Home Field Advantage
The Cowboys walk through an extra special bar where uber fans wait to high-five them amidst lights and smoke machines. The visiting team walks the green mile with eight-foot plexiglass protecting them from Cowboys fans.
Then you step onto the field. The stadium was empty and I could still feel its energy. The crowd can absolutely impact a game. How could you not feel their presence? I’ve experienced “flow”–when you’re so in the moment that you’re not aware of anything else around you. I don’t care how good a player you are, no one can stay in the zone the whole time they’re in a space like this. There’s no way to block out the intensity.
The field is soft and squishy. And even though it’s AstroTurf, it still breaks off and gets in your shoes. A good thing? There actually is a sound of silence. Or maybe that was the air conditioner…
I truly didn’t expect to have this much fun. (Sorry, Cowboys Tour people) I simply thought the behind-the-scenes stuff would be interesting. As it turns out, sports CAN be fun.
Click the pic to advance the slideshow.
What’s your favorite sports memory?
Mine is going to Braves baseball games with my Dad when I was in elementary school. This is back when they were particularly terrible and they gave away tickets just to put seats in the seats. That’s when I learned that there’s math in sports.