By Cody Soto
Unlike the normal student body, I was up in the press box covering Baylor’s inaugural season opener against SMU on Sunday, Aug. 31 as part of my job as a sports writer for the Baylor Lariat. As an eagle eye watching above everyone else, the atmosphere was incredible to see.
From fireworks, the gigantic golden wave known as the Baylor Line, the crazy shapes the Golden Wave Band made, and the football team that rained down points against SMU, it was breathtaking. Not only did I get a great view, but the press box was impeccable. The brand new facilities put to shame anything else I have been in.
I must say that it was a day I’ll never forget. Although I was at the stadium for a little over 8 hours and didn’t leave until 12:30 a.m., the night was very memorable. Unfortunately, I didn’t have to work on Saturday to cover the Northwestern game. Just within the first hour, my experience as a student in McLane Stadium was dramatically different compared to my first class treatment in the press box.
First off, I had to wait in line metaphorically to get a ticket to the game, something I heard horror stories of the week prior from my friends. I joined in on the madness and waited my turn to reserve the ticket. It didn’t take as long as I thought, but it was still super stressful.
The day of the game was very relaxed compared to the previous weekend. I got to walk around in the humid weather and dreaded having to wait two hours before kickoff. The tailgating area was pretty fun, and the traffic across the bridge wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.
However, my happy mood as I waited in the stands quickly changed after water started falling from the clouds, also known as rain. We were forced to go to the concourse and evacuate our seats (which I might say were really good) and take cover from the crazy weather conditions that were unfolding.
Like sardines, the student body was crammed in the concourse waiting to reenter the student section. It was hot, musty, and temperatures were raising with frustrated college students, including me.
Word of the game delay caused a bit of an uproar, and I prayed for the minute we could reenter the stadium. That prayer quickly went away as soon as were allowed back to our seats. I felt like I was back in Floyd Casey Stadium running the Baylor Line once again. I was pushed down the stairs to get to seats, and people were tripping left and right because of all the water. My roommate cut his foot trying to get to a seat. It was crazy. All this for a seat?
As soon as the game started, my die hard Baylor spirit came to life once again. Cheering on our football team in the student section was by far one of my favorite memories of the school year so far. It was amazing to see the players I report on succeeding and doing their thing before my eyes.
However, as the game went on, I began to get a little less “cheery,” not because I was getting bored, but because I saw stampedes of students leaving the game early. This really bothered me. Why come to the game if you don’t stay the entire time? Our student section went from packed and powerful to empty and wimpy. The sparse environment was the result of a lot of the student body leaving before the third quarter was even over. The second half wasn’t the same, and it was depressing to see so many fans vacate the premises before the score became final.
However, when the game was over, singing our alma mater with students, alumni, and the football program was something special. I missed all this the week prior because I was too busy getting ready for a press conference as part of the media.
Overall, it was a very memorable night where I remembered a few things that carried over from Floyd Casey Stadium. In order to make McLane Stadium the best stadium in the country, we still need to work on our presence, our patience, and our tempers.