This past Friday, I worked the Westminster vs. Decatur Heritage football game, and let me tell you folks, it was a lovely night indeed.
I had been out to cover a game at Westminster a couple of years ago. At the time, the new school building was still under construction and the football field area was also not completed. There were very few bleachers and no press box and I had to sit in the stands and face the elements and hold my computer in my lap. It wasn’t terrible, but it obviously could have been better. Everyone was friendly and helpful – that I do remember.
This time around was a completely different experience. It was homecoming for Westminster and there were tons of people at the game. I arrived about 30 minutes before kick-off and had to part across the street from the school, which was about half a mile from the stadium.
Once I got up to the gate to come in, there was what seemed like thousands of people around. There was a playground inside the gate and tons of kids playing there. Everyone was talking and laughing and seemed to be having a really good time. I signed the pass list to get inside and the gentleman working the gate thanked me for being there. As I made my way to the press box it was more of the same – tons of people, all laughing talking and having a really nice time.
The press box was super nice. It was clean, first of all, which was super nice. The windows were trimmed in nice wood, the floors were tiled and there were multiple booths for various people; one for each of the following: home coaches, announcer and game personnel, scoreboard and clock operators, media, and visiting coaches. In other words, I had a whole room to myself! Westminster also provided wireless internet, which was so nice because I was able to email all my stats and my story in to the newspaper and I didn’t have to go by the newsroom. As soon as the game was over and I filed my story, I was on my way home – and I made it home before 10:00! I couldn’t believe it!
As mentioned, all the fans seemed to be having a good time and everyone was super friendly. Apparently they practice what they preach over at Westminster, which is more than I can say about another private school my family has long been affiliated with. The password to the wireless internet was a verse from the Bible, they said a prayer before the game, and said God bless as everyone was leaving. I don’t know what they are teaching over at Westminster but it sure seemed to me like it was love and kindness. If I had any kids, there’s a good chance that’s where they would be going to school right now.
As for the concession stand, which is what these reviews were supposed to be about until I couldn’t stop writing about every other aspect of the evening, it was also great. I was pretty hungry before the game and after I got everything set up, I headed down to check out the menu and see what I wanted for dinner. They had four windows and every one of them moved quickly. The only complaint I have about the concession stand is that there is no menu that you can peruse while standing in line. The menus are all taped to the counter and so you don’t know what they have to offer until you get to the window. I went with a cheeseburger, which had been grilled to perfection and was really quite good. I also had popcorn, which is hard to mess up, and a Diet Coke. The soft drinks were served in bottles rather than in a cup, which I was a little leery of at first because I think we all know that bottles are not always as cold as we would like for them to be sometimes. However, the bottles must have been kept at an extremely cool temperature because the Diet Coke was perfectly chilled. These three items cost me $6 – Cheeseburger ($3), Diet Coke ($2) and Popcorn ($1).
At halftime, I went down to the restroom, which was exceptionally clean and large – they must have had at least 10 stalls and I didn’t have to wait in line. I wasn’t all that hungry but as I was heading downstairs I saw someone with some nachos that looked really good (what is it about that “fake” cheese?) and contemplated buying some. In the end, though, I decided against it and just got a McAllister’s sweet tea instead. That’s right, folks, McAllister’s sweet tea is Westminster’s special item. I bought a small for $1 (I assume the large was $2) and trekked back up to the press box. The sweet tea was just the right thing for the second half of the game. Who knew it would be so enjoyable to have a sweet tea during the game? Other items available were hot dogs ($2), nachos ($3), candy (50 cents - $1), Powerade ($2) and nothing was over $3. Overall it was a fantastic experience and I hope I get to go back soon.
Final grade: A+