What Happens When a Non-Fan Goes to the Football Stadium?

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)?

Dallas Cowboys Stadium

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?

Architecture of cowboys stadium

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.

TV screen at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

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.)

Dallas Cowboys locker room

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.

Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Locker Room

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.

on the field at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

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…

Touchdown

Touchdown!

Goalposts at Dallas Cowboys Stadium

Goal! (Is that what you say?) P.S. I’m in the pic, too…

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.

11 Responses

12.05.12

I am glad you had a great time!
Your blog is very enlighting and look forward to future post!

Thomas – thanks for making it a great time!

12.05.12

Sitting on the porch swing on a stifling summer day with my grandfather, listening to the Pittsburgh Pirates games on the radio. Bob Prince was the announcer. I didn’t care about the game nearly as much as he did; I just loved hanging out with him. He was a gentle grandfather. Thank you for asking that question. It brought back a very happy memory.

Jeannine – what a nice adjective: a gentle grandfather.

Paula,

I am not much of a football fan, and I certainly do not like the Cowboys….the pictures are amazing and really made me appreciate this stadium.

I prefer baseball and all my best sports memories are of baseball–except wrestling with my dad.

As always, thank you for opening my eyes!

Danielle – did you go to wrestling with your Dad or did you actually wrestle with him?

12.05.12

My mother didn’t care for football so my father took and taught me. The local military college’s stadium was in walking distance of our house. In my younger years I wasn’t so interested in those cadets, but as I grew older and began dating them, knowing football was most helpful! Going to the games with my father was a special time. In writing this, I am once again walking through the neighborhood, meshing with the crowds, sensing the noises and smells, hearing the band and cheering. I’m surprised at my own emotions at the recollection. What a gift you give with your questions.

Raye – i never knew that. That was a treat of a memory for me, too.

12.05.12

How bout them Cowboys!

Hillary – I won;t tell your husband you said that 😉

I’m the oldest of my parents’ three daughters and I was appointed to be my father’s sports buddy, so I watched football with him. At first, I was more interested in the bands at half-time during college games. (They used to televise the half time show. Now they just have talking heads recapping the game). But, over the years, I actually became interested in the game which came in handy when I became a wife and had two boys. At one point, one of my sons said in an annoyed voice, “You’re weird. Your the only mother in Lower Merion who watches football.” Nah, there must have been a few others.

I almost skipped this post when I saw that it was about Cowboy Stadium. I’m from Philadelphia. It is in our DNA to hate the Cowboys–arch rivals of the Philadelphia Eagles (the ones in the midnight green jerseys).

BTW, they don’t let football player have twitter accounts because they have been known to tweet things that are better off left unsaid (untweeted?) Of course, they are no different than Donald Trump in this regard.

Write on!
Just One Boomer (Suzanne) recently posted..Have Passport – Will Give BackMy Profile

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