Monday, September 14, 2009

Appreciate What You've Got

I hope Packers fans appreciate what they have in Lambeau Field. My wife and I visited Soldier Field over the weekend for the U2 concert and let me tell you I was less than impressed. Soldier Field was renovated just a few years after Lambeau--but the work done there was the exact opposite of what was done in Green Bay. Where Lambeau got a brand new atrium and facade--while maintaining the historic interior "bowl"--Soldier Field got a new interior squeezed inside the historic concrete colonades.

Having finally seen the place in person--I can tell you it stinks. To get to our seats, we had to climb a couple of narrow staircases outside the stadium with those "little" steps that are a real trip hazard. You may have heard that it looks like a spaceship landed inside the old stadium. Well I can tell you that is true--as the upper decks hang over the top of the concrete colonades clad in some kind of shiny metal finish that has nothing to do with the original design.

Inside, the design is even more ugly. All of the skyboxes are on the lake side of the stadium--with a huge upper deck on the other side--so there is no symmetry. Everything is "swoopy" and angled and totally disjointed--like different parts of the stadium were designed seperately from each other and then just fitted together like a Legos kit.

And did I mention that to park at the stadium it would have set us back 45-dollars. Yes, 45-dollars to park at the stadium. That would be why my wife took the train and the bus on Saturday.

There are some things that are better at Soldier Field. It's all individual seats--meaning the average-sized Packers fan isn't taking up half of your seat on the aluminum benches--and there are plenty of bathrooms all around the stadium. But I just don't see how Bears fans can feel excited about their home field--and I doubt that the remodeled Soldier Field will ever be considered a "classic" sports venue. Of course, Chicagoans already have Wrigley Field to remind them of what was great about the old-time sports experience (i.e.--no blasting rock music and commericals on the Jumbotron between innings).

That must be why there were so many vehicles with Illinois plates blowing past us on northbound Highway 41 Sunday afternoon. A trip to Lambeau must be a real treat for those who have to put up with that "Mistake on the Lake".

1 comment:

  1. Couldn't agree more, Jonathan. We lived in Chicago when the renovation occurred. What a mess! I guess it's an example of compromise gone awry. Some folks wanted a totally new modern stadium, others wanted to preserve the classic stadium. So they compromised, and created a royal mess. Very sad.