Renovated Memories Part Of
Sun Devil Stadium Changes
Despite The Fact That The Renovations Are Necessary And Needed, The Loss Of Upper Deck Seating Brings With It Potentially Bigger Changes In Atmosphere And Most Importantly, Memories
Michael Crow, Arizona State University President.
By Bob Goodwood
Modern Times Magazine
Jan. 16, 2013 — Its been 24 hours since the official news came down from Arizona State University and Michael Crow revealed some new renderings of renovations that will change nearly every aspect of the fan experience.
Everyone knew it was coming and that the upper deck in the north end zone was going bye-bye but the latest announcement was a final nail in the coffin to a place that has been home to two Rose Bowl teams, thousands of big moments and millions of fans.
And, while it will be great to have the concourse, bathroom and concessions areas revert from something akin to a campground into spaces that resemble more modern facilities, something just doesn’t ‘feel’ right. Sure, the north end zone demolition might create a nice bit of breeze off Tempe Town Lake. But again, something just doesn’t feel right.
Everyone that matters — especially ASU leaders, alumni and the city of Tempe — are fully behind the idea. And they should be. The facility looks and feels old and is in need of some structural improvements.
“We need to upgrade the whole set of facilities here [at Sun Devil Stadium] to have us be competitive at the level we want to compete,” said President of the ASU Foundation Rick Shangraw.
Yet, something just doesn’t seem right. Even though it is obvious by going into the place that something needs to be done.
“This is the most visible facility at Arizona State. It is on national television. People see Sun Devil Stadium more than any other facility,” said ASU Head Coach Todd Graham.
And they would see metal seats that sat out in the sun all day. No one will miss those.
Yet, something doesn’t seem right.
The canopy that was to provide some shade is gone — because the fans wanted it gone ASU says — and that likely trims at least $20 million off the final tab for the reconstruction. That’s good since no one wants to go to a game in the middle of the day in September even if there is shade. Maybe the PAC-12 doesn’t want to hear it, but that is just the way that it is.
So what is it that just doesn’t feel right?
Maybe it is that the facility is getting smaller. That is just not something any football loving, red-blooded American wants.
Bigger, is better, right? Not in the new Sun Devil Stadium, it seems.
Or maybe it is that the 6,000 or so fans who won’t show up now that the program is on the upswing to rumble the opposing team into submission. And, that the stadium might get much, much quieter.
It might be both of those things, but its more likely that the ‘stone in my shoe’ with this whole thing is the time I, my family and a slew of friends spent in those very seats that are being removed already. And that the concrete I stomped my feet on will also be gone.
Heck, I can still vividly remember the 1982 loss to Washington that ended the undefeated season. I was sitting in section 222. Or several UA games where friends and I purposely sat near the Wildcats’ section just to taunt them. I could go on and on.
For decades, the upper deck of the north end zone has been the last place to fill, the farthest from the feel of the field and the place where Pop Warner teams and free giveaway seats were enjoyed.
Sure, the upper deck of the north end zone is not Ebbets Field. The team is still here and Sun Devil Stadium will live on for a few more decades, at least.
One can’t deny that going smaller might decrease fan noise and is a counterintuitive idea for most sports fans. But the real rub is that time has changed and the stadium is old.
It is nearly as old as some of the older ASU fans.
Yes, it is time. And yes, new bathrooms, seats and concessions areas will be good for us older fans. Time passes and so does the need to expand and build.
Even if something just doesn’t feel right.
Bob Goodwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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