Monday, March 10, 2008

Good Times in Evanston

So, the wife and I went down to the Wisconsin/Northwestern game in Evanston on Saturday. Pretty good time. I'm a fan of bullet points, so here we go:
  • Parking: Arrived at Welsh-Ryan Arena-area about a half hour prior to game time. Driving down the main road through the area, there was a little bit of congestion, but I turned off that road and found a spot on a residential street for free about 3 blocks from the arena. I was thrilled. I live for these kind of things.
  • The Arena: This place makes the Fieldhouse seem like a palace. Actually, it would probably be a cool place and a very intimidating venue (think Duke) if the team was ever any good and the fan base cared. Capacity is about 8,000. There is a lower level that rings the court and has actual seats along the court and fold out bleachers on the ends where the students sit. Above this ring is bleacher style seating on both sides that goes up as high as it can go. Each section goes up a different amount of rows. If you follow directions to get to the upper level, you actually have to leave the arena and go up a stairwell that is outside, but enclosed. Bathrooms are limited and concession stands are the size of my cube at work. Just a silly old place.
  • I would call it about a 75/25 split, pro Wisconsin. It was tough to tell because there were many open seats at the bottom, but they were purple.
  • The place was super hot. At the top levels, we were packed in like sardines. There were some old school fans hanging from the ceiling with cages around them, but only half of them were working. Thankfully, once the game started, they turned the lights out in the upper sections and opened some roof panels.
  • The seating was interesting. Bench seating. the rows were only about a foot wide, so you had to accept a knee in your back and accept kneeing the person in front of you. They were also very low. My hips we lower than my knees. I'm 6'1". I can imagine how this would be for a tall person.
  • Northwestern didn't have a band for this game. It is well known that I despise bands, but at least they add some flavor to the game. They had to pump in the fight song over the sound system, which I'm pretty sure was a Awia shelf system. It was later reviled that the band missed the game to be at a taping of Wheel of Fortune. Awesome.
  • During all the media timeouts, Wisconsin fans started chanting "Lets Go Red", "Big Ten Champs" and other Wisconsin-centric cheers. Every time this happened, the NW people would turn up whatever music they wear playing over the loud speaker. As soon as the Wisconsin chanting stopped, the music was blasting. This was hilarious. It was even better when they did this while playing "Danger Zone". I mean, I love that song, but to play it at a basketball game in 2008?
  • I think they transferred the scoreboard from the Fieldhouse to Welsh-Ryan. It had the player numbers on the side and points scored and fouls, but in the middle was the exciting graphics board. They showed ads for Chipotle and Mountain Dew not using the logos for these products, but just standard text. I'm guessing Times New Roman.
  • I guessing there was about 150 people in the NW student section. It does blow the numbers of the University of Missouri-Kansas City student section out of the water, but c'mon, you can't do better than that?
  • Northwestern players are a bunch of hacks, but at least they don't give opponents suplexes like Marquette does!
  • As we were going to our seats, I mentioned to my wife that the arena looked like my high school field house (Case High in Racine). Later on, the people sitting in the row behind us commented that it looked like the Case High field house. Strange. There is a Racine presence everywhere.
  • As we were leaving the game, we walked out behind a bunch of the NW dance team chicks. One commented that, based on the large amount of people walking around after the game, "It looks like a football game with all the people out here." Northwestern basketball. Catch the excitement!

So, all in all, good times at Northwestern. It was easy to get to and I am amazed that I have not been to a football game there. I think I have been staying away lately because games against NW are usually extremely painful to watch. However, it's a simple drive and then a short train ride to the city if you want to go there after the game.

I would also like to point out that I wrote the Badgers' NCAA preview for Deadspin. Added some good information about the team, Bucky Badger, how good the program has been over the past decade, the Swing offense and the Badgers record this season when Erin Andrews is in attendance vs. Doris Burke. Look for that hard hitting bit of journalism next week.


Woz said...

You're slacking Goldy...where's the CASE HS Label?

train said...

I had to sit in that shit hole and watch the Badge get friggin beat 3 or 4 years ago. I refuse to go back.

Were they still selling concessions off those old fold out tables you'd find in the church basement? That place is a joke.

Goldy said...

Yup, still selling concessions from church basement tables on the north side. The line was right were you come out of the doors to reach the upper lever. Great planning there. On the south side the concessions are in cinder block huts right by the bathrooms. Again, not good flow.

No Case High lable for this one. I leave that until I discuss the depression in the Case High baseball field that tended to swollow up 3rd basemen when going back for pop ups. Not good times.

thecobra said...

I have had the pleasure of seeing The wildcats of Northwestern Highschool host a few games in their gym and everytime I belive the upper bowl has been dominated by visiting team fans with the students section being drowned out by the students of the visiting team in the rafters. The best graphic on the big screen would be their wildcat with a roar from the speakers.