Last Friday night, I ventured out to a new athletic venue – Louis Crews Stadium at Alabama A&M University. The venue itself is not new, having been built in 1996 (seriously, ya’ll, I had no idea the stadium had been built that long ago. I seriously thought it had just been constructed in the last five to eight years. Clearly I was wrong.), but it was new to me in regard to the fact that this was my first trip to the stadium. It was a rather lovely experience if I do say so myself.
I left my house about 6:15, even though the stadium is less than five miles from my house. Since I had never been before, I wanted to make sure I arrived in time to find my viewing location and get set up okay, and also buy some snacks at the concession stand, of course. I got Blue parked in a good spot, gathered my belongings and headed into the stadium. Once inside, I went straight to the concession stand and got a hot dog and popcorn. I had brought a Gatorade from home and since pretty much everything on the menu was $3, decided to stick with the Gatorade rather than buy a nice cold refreshing Diet Coke, which I really wanted.
After my trip to the concession stand (I assume the prices were higher since this was a college stadium), I found my way to the entrance to the press box area and rode the elevator up with the referees who would be running the game clocks. I was going to sit in the large area where the press usually sits for A&M games, but instead moved into the small room with the PA announcer because I left my binoculars at home and needed all the help I could get in determining who was making the play.
I took a few minutes to get set up and then ate my treasures from the concession stand. The hot dog was okay and the popcorn was better. While waiting for the game to start, I listened intently to the Johnson drum line. I seriously think I could listen to those guys play for hours on end. They are very entertaining to watch and it’s just a joy to listen to them play.
Not long after, the PA announcer arrived with his daughter, Aubrey, who is 12 years old. She brought along a Nancy Drew book as she is not a football fan. She does, however, go to football games with her dad every Friday night which reminded me of when I was a wee lass and went to games with my dad.
The game got started soon after and was actually a pretty good game. There was one point where there were three touchdowns scored in a four minute period so needless to say I was doing a lot of typing. Aubrey would occasionally ask her dad about a word she came across in her reading and then later in the night she wanted to push the button on the microphone, all of which I thought was cute. She was well-behaved and polite too, which is a rarity more often than not these days.
At halftime, I got up to stretch and walked down the hall to the restroom which was much nicer than having to stand in line with spectators, cheerleaders and the like. I think it was the most relaxing halftime I have ever had. I took some time to look around the press box and it brought back fond memories of when I worked in sports information and spent every Saturday in a press box. I miss the hustle and bustle of those days but I do not miss the lousy paycheck. I have nothing but fond memories though, which is more than I can say for other experiences in my life. Also, I've got to tell you, this press box was nicer than the one we had at East Carolina, although I think they may have renovated a few years back.
After the game was over, I stuck around to write my story and send it in; since the A&M Wi-Fi password was listed in the press box, I just used their internet rather than having to go home and send in my story. The Tide isn’t always the most patient dog when I’ve been gone for long periods of time.
After I sent in my story, I gathered up my belongings and headed out. The Johnson drum line was playing outside and I really wished my brother had been there with me because we love to move our white bodies to the beat of a drum line. It might not be the prettiest thing you’ve ever seen, but we always manage to have some fun.
It was a really good night of high school football and a really great experience. I wish I covered more games there. I actually don’t know that the stadium is used for that many high school games. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the only reason Johnson’s game was scheduled there was because it was their homecoming game.
As I mentioned, it is a really nice stadium and I honestly don’t know why the city of Huntsville and Alabama A&M haven’t put in a bid to host the high school championship games there. Maybe they have and lost the bid but in my opinion, it would be a great venue to host the Super Six and it would also mean I could just drive 4.1 miles from my house to watch some great football – it’s a win-win if you ask me.
Can you see my reflection in the window?