OUT ON A LIMB: Thinking back on my own fields of dreams

Some stadiums have an aura and a history that can generate a nostalgia as a result

An item I read recently got me to thinking about stadiums. Or should that be stadia?

Anyway, some stadiums have an aura and a history that can generate a nostalgia as a result. I can’t say I’ve visited a stadium or an arena that has that much caché because most of my professional sports consumption has been in Vancouver.

However, I do have fond memories of attending B.C. Lions games and Vancouver Whitecaps games in old Empire Stadium and then BC Place. I used to catch the Vancouver Canucks at the Pacific Coliseum back when you could get a ticket for $20 but you had to ask yourself why you’d want to? I would be in nosebleed seats and then move down to a lower level because sellouts were rare in those days. Except when the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens came to town, of course.

I don’t know exactly when the first game I went to in Vancouver was. It  was definitely a B.C. Lions game at Empire Stadium. I remember walking from the outer concourse into the tunnel that emerged into the seating area. I still remember being in the darkened tunnel that first time and looking out at the seats across from me and a portion of the field.

Emerging out of the tunnel into the seating area was magical. Even though all of the seats weren’t filled yet, there was an energy in the air. An excitement that something thrilling was about to happen. As a young sports fan it was a buzz.

It all seemed to be bathed in a bright and glorious light. The stadium lights of course. The green artificial turf field seemed to glow. The white lines gleamed. There may even have been a touch of rain (it was Vancouver after all) and so everything had a glossy sheen to it. The P.A. announcer was saying something in a tinny, echoing voice and people were shouting to each other across the seats or yelling good naturedly to friends and acquaintances. Opposition fans were teased and the vendors hawked programs and goodies.

I’m sure my oldest stadium experience would have been as a child in Scotland. I can remember going to some game with my Dad, uncle and brothers but I don’t remember the game. Being somewhere around five or six years old, I just remember crowds of people. The game involved a trip into Glasgow so I would guess it was a “road trip” for my family of Ardrieonians fans going in to see them versus Celtic or Rangers.

At any rate, there’s something special about a live game. I haven’t been to the refurbished B.C. Place yet nor the Canucks “new” home at Rogers Arena but maybe soon I will.

It’s been so long since I’ve been to a game I might be able to recapture that old magic.