Edmonds: Personal list of the best sports venues
Charlotte Edmonds | Monday, November 19, 2018
Having covered Saturday’s game against Syracuse, I got to visit Yankee Stadium for the first time and take in the magnitude of the 27 World Series pennants adorning the stadium. Although it’s arguably lost some of its significance, having been built less than 10 years ago, it was still an awesome experience. The stadium itself has prompted me to reflect on some of the iconic (or at least iconic in my personal opinion) sports venues I’ve gotten to experience and what has earned them this status. I should preface this list by including that I’ve never attended an NFL or NHL game, so I can’t speak to the fanbases or venues of either of those leagues.
Cotton Bowl Stadium
Having only been to the Cotton Bowl stadium for the 2015 OU-Texas matchup, my experience is pretty unique to that rivalry, but it certainly left an impression. The structurally unimpressive stadium with few architectural features is juxtaposed by its imposing surroundings — the Texas state fair, an event unlike any other. Once inside, the stadium is divided evenly between the burnt orange and crimson, symbolic of the truly neutral site, being an equal distance — almost down to the minute — of both campuses. What the stadium lacks in amenities, the fans make up for in pure passion, often leading to tempers flaring, and of course, the bestowing of the ceremonial Golden Hat, a 10-gallon trophy.
Chesapeake Energy Arena
Basketball arenas across the board don’t hold nearly the same stature among iconic sports venues. However, the Thunder have come to embody great customer service. Home to a still young fanbase, the Chesapeake Arena offers an affordable experience complete with Westbrook posterizations and Rumble the Bison. The upper deck is known as “Loud City” for good reason, and fans from across the state flock to the city to support the lone professional team. As the pioneers of cloaking the entire crowd in matching shirts for the postseason, there’s nothing like playoff season in Oklahoma City.
White Hart Lane
Although no longer standing, the home of the Tottenham Hotspur for 118 years is in a league of its own. Like I said, I’ve never attended an NFL game, so I can’t speak to the legacy of Lambeau, but White Hart Lane is unlike any American sports venue that I’ve ever experienced. In 2015, I watched Spurs prevail over Leicester City 4-3 behind a hat trick by rising star Harry Kane, the first for the now World Cup Golden Boot winner. I remember the chant “Harry Kane, he’s own of our own” echoing throughout the stadium with each of his goals, as the fans celebrating their local boy. Built without a big screen and far fewer entrance points than conventional American venues, fans rarely leave their seats or get distracted by the fanfare, opting rather to focus their whole energy on the action on the field.
Like many people across the country, Wrigley Field has held a special place in my family’s heart for years. From my parents having season tickets in the first couple years of their marriage to spending two months in an apartment blocks for the stadium when I was younger, I have many fond memories walking up to the corner to be greeted by the red sign. Beyond being the second oldest stadium in the league, its proximity to the “L”, uniquely frequent day games and comparatively small size have cemented it in sports fanatics hearts.
Honorable mentions: AT&T Park for its incredible garlic fries and spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay, Fenway Park for simply being Fenway and Madison Square Garden — and although this one’s kind of cheating considering I’ve never seen a sporting event there — I saw Billy Joel put on quite a show that would outdo anything by the current iteration of the Knicks.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.