By Danny Huizinga
The Baylor/SMU football game was a great start to the season. The excitement in the stadium began when the largest freshman class created a flood of yellow across the field. With 638 total yards of offense and a fumble recovery TD and two interceptions on defense, the Bears definitely showed that we are going to have another great year.
Behind the scenes, however, there was a different story.
As it was 100 degrees and sunny on Sunday afternoon, students came ready with water bottles to stay hydrated. They were met with a surprise at the gate: no water bottles allowed.
Even refillable water bottles that were empty were not allowed in the stadium.
“No problem,” most thought. “We can just buy water inside.” Unfortunately, that was much easier said than done. Before the game even began, I saw a girl in front of me pass out.
People all around me were starting to feel overheated, so two of my friends went to concessions to buy water.
After about 30 minutes, they had not returned, so I went down to find out what was going on. What I discovered was one of the biggest scenes of sweaty chaos I have ever seen.
There were hundreds of students crowded in a pack around the order window, shoving each other and fighting to get to the front of the line. People were packed together, sweaty and tired. Some students found friends in the pack and cut ahead. Some concessions workers were even sitting down on chairs, watching while one or two took orders.
While waiting in line, my friends saw five more people pass out. EMS and event staff were running around with stretchers, helping students who had been struck with heat exhaustion and had no way to get water.
With proper planning in the future, this problem can be avoided. I would like to offer a few suggestions:
1) Sell only water at the concessions stands, at least for the first 30-45 minutes of the game. Ordering takes considerably longer with people who are trying to get nachos, frozen lemonades, etc.
2) Increase the number of concessions workers, for at least the first 30-45 minutes. Two employees are not enough for a crowd of hundreds of students.
3) Create a rope queue to form an organized line, not a chaotic shoving match.
4) Allow students to bring in unopened, disposable water bottles or at least empty refillable water bottles that can be used at the drinking fountain. I understand the desires to bring in profits and prevent alcohol, but for these first few games, it is important to do everything possible to prevent heat exhaustion.
It’s hard to be “Baylor Bold” when your classmates are passing out all around you. Otherwise, thank you to Baylor Athletics for hosting a great game. I look forward to another great year of Baylor football.
Danny Huizinga is a sophomore Baylor business fellow from Chicago. He manages the political blog Consider Again. Read his other works at www.consideragain.com