Saturday, April 04, 2009

Rain Training & Ivy Press Box Review

It's a rainy day in NYC

The returning veteran Lion footballers resume practice today in a rainy New York City. And perhaps the best part of practice will be getting more used to the rain.

Rainy weather has for some reason become more common on football Saturdays here in the Northeast over the last two years.

The 2007 and 2008 seasons saw more rainy game conditions than sunny ones for the Lions.

Some of the roughest games over the last two years:

1) Dartmouth 2008

Probably the strongest winds I've ever seen at Wien Stadium. I thought the goalposts were coming down two or three times.

2) Towson 2008

The heaviest consistent rain at Columbia game that I have ever seen, (with the possible exception of the 1990 home game against Cornell). There were several puddles on the field and play had to be halted in the 1st half for 45 minutes because of lightning.

3) Marist 2007

The rain kept looking like it might let up... but it really never did. Luckily for the Lions, their offense didn't let up either in a 31-7 Columbia win.

4) Yale 2007

Very ugly and rainy conditions dominated the 1st half. It did get a little better in the second half, but still a rough day for the fans.

5) Brown 2008

No rain, but easily these were the coldest game conditions the Lions have faced since the 2003 snow-dominated game at Cornell. Thank God for the delicious hot soup they gave out liberally in the Brown Stadium press box.

Which brings us to another discussion...

I'm worried about ruffling a few feathers league-wide with my take on the press boxes and amenities at our opponents' stadiums, but what the hey?

I do realize that the food and other comforts offered to the journalists in press boxes are just a courtesy. So I don't want to appear like an ingrate. I really do appreciate whatever I get in these press boxes, but I think everyone loves reviews.

And again, what the hey?

But first, this is as good a time as any to remind all readers of the disclaimer that accompanies every post on this blog. The opinions expressed every day on this blog and especially today belong to Jake Novak and only Jake Novak. Any anger these posts create should be directed at me and me alone. Go ahead. But I warn you, I'm pretty sure I can take it. Remember, I once lived in Cleveland.

First off, let me give a shout out to our own home of Wien Stadium. We have the only press box that serves a halftime AND a pre-game meal, (the pre-game meal is actually a series of bagels and muffins, but NEW YORK bagels. Need I say more?), and the elevator service and completely closed-in area make things very comfortable for everyone involved. People may say they hate New York City traffic and parking, but no one in the Ivies who covers Columbia games dreads Wien Stadium once they get settled into our press box. No one.

Okay, now let's look at the other schools in alphabetical order:

1) Brown Stadium

Truly a tale of two stadiums. The press box is awful, period. And the people who do most of the complaining are the Brown employees! (They did so non-stop last November). The decaying wooden structure is a little scary, and let's not even mention the bathroom.

BUT, the folks at Brown can make a very good case for having the best and most appropriate food in the Ivies. The sandwiches, the cookies, and that much needed delicious soup are worth every splinter and other indignity their press box has to offer.

2) Schoelkopf Field, (Cornell)

This is a very, very nice facility, it has cozy broadcast rooms and a completely closed-in structure to keep that biting Ithaca wind off your face.

The food? Eh. Totally forgettable and not easy to get to as they keep it in a corner of the floor that leads to bottlenecking. But they also had soup that was good. Still, I think I'm bringing my own food next time.

3) Memorial Field, (Dartmouth)

Certainly a friendly atmosphere, but I was a little afraid climbing the steps up there and again, let's not mention the bathroom. The food was not that great and also not plentiful enough. I realize Hanover, NH is supposed to be rustic, but come on. I'm not sure if the press box has been rennovated since 2007, but I don't think so.

UPDATE: Bruce Wood informs us in the comments section that a rennovation has been planned, but so far no dice.

4) Harvard Stadium

It's a hike to get up the stairs to the press area, but it's not a scary hike on narrow rickety steps like Dartmouth, so I actually enjoy the workout, (I always take staircases two steps a time... you should too). The food is pretty forgettable... in fact, I really can't remember what I ate at Harvard this past season. That's bad.

5) Franklin Field (Penn)

As the kids say these days: OMG. This has to be the worst place for anyone covering a game through and through. I can honestly say the make-shift looking scaffold where they seat the media is frightening. It had the quaint quality of allowing all the cold air in, but blocking out the sun completely. The result was I froze thru a 55 degree day. And here's the kicker: NO FOOD! Thank God the Penn game this season is at home. (Is there a building inspector in Philly I can forward this to?)

6) Princeton Stadium

Well, this is nice... very nice. The newest Ivy football stadium has great broadcast booths, pretty good food, and just great amenities all around. Forget what you hear about Harvard and Yale... Princeton has the money. I mean the REAL money.

7) Yale Bowl

It's a chilly open air press box impossibly far from the field, but the food is plentiful and pretty good. I've been lucky enough to only be there on nice weather days, I can imagine things getting really dicey on windy, rainy Saturdays.


At Sat Apr 04, 09:26:00 AM GMT+7, Anonymous Bruce Wood said...


Dartmouth's brand new concrete home grandstand and elevator-serviced, state-of-the-art press box scheduled to open this fall. Then the economy turned and the project was put on indefinite hold. So they are currently doing some work on the old grandstand to make it ready for another year ... or two ... or 10.

If you want to see the press box horror story of horror stories, schedule a game at UNH.

As far as the other non-league boxes in which Dartmouth players, Colgate is top-notch, with good food. Holy Cross? Not so much, but lots of Dominos at halftime.

What say you about boxes at Columbia's non-league foes?

At Sat Apr 04, 07:44:00 PM GMT+7, Blogger Jake said...

I've only visited two non-league foes' press boxes.

For all the complaints about Fordham's stadium, the pressbox is fine. It's closed in from the elements and I am a big fan of the well-socked softdrink fridge along the back wall tat one can visit liberally. The only knock is that everyone is really close to each other so you hav to be careful not to let your voice bleed onto someone else's air. The food was okay.

The other box was at the newly rennovated Fisher Stadium at Lafayette. Really nice state of the art comforts, and the food was fine.

At Sun Apr 05, 06:11:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger cjg2128 said...

Hey, I just want to let all Lions fans know that the CU Cheerleaders came in 2nd place at the 2009 Cheer New York Nationals. It's a pretty big accomplishment considering this was the first competition ever.

At Mon Apr 06, 12:14:00 AM GMT+7, Blogger dabull said...

Congrats to the cheerleaders, I appreciate you all very much.


Post a Comment

<< Home