First Stadium Football Game

The title is true. In all my decades I have been to only one stadium game, last Thursday’s game between Iowa State University and Texas University.

The sound of a stadium is a lot like a dance club. The Iowa State crowd was deafening in and of themselves, but when you add the techno beats from the stadium speakers, you can forget about conversation. 

Watching the action from the stands is as confusing as election night on Fox News. Each penalty flag was followed by a discussion among the crowd as to the meaning and outcome. The stadium announcers and giant screen were little help. Eventually the score board will update and the crowd has to figure out what happened in reverse.

The game itself was thrilling. Very quickly, Texas scored a touchdown. I texted my wife and told her it was going to be a long game. But then Iowa tied it, only to have Texas score a touchdown with only 4 seconds left in the first quarter. I saw many odd things, such as 12 penalties against Iowa State and balls bouncing all over the field. The game was exciting up to the last point, literally. Texas won 21 to 20.

The last touchdown by Texas brought waves of boos for the officials. There was a been a fumble and a dispute over whether Iowa State grabbed the ball before Texas quartback hit the ground (something called forward motion). We could all see the replay on the giant screen though you could make little sense of it. All those cameras and screens did more to rile up he crowd than resolve the dispute. The post game talk was dominated by discussion of that one bad call. In my opinion, Iowa State should have let Texas run the ball in and then use the remaining 3 minutes to get into field goal range. Strategerie!

The outcome notwithstanding, conditions for the game were unbelievably perfect: mid 70s in October in Iowa. The stadium in Ames is open on the corners and fans have 4 grassy hills to enjoy. For the second half, a long time attendee showed me some good spots to hang out. The area is open enough that you can walk from one end to the other and follow the plays downfield. Unlike the crowded bleachers, you can keep up a conversation on the quieter grassy hills. The grassy areas are also the cheapest tickets. I recommend them.

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