Week One — The Red Arrows host the Rams
If week one is any type of projection of those to come, then fans, we’re in for some kind of treat. This week we will recap the Lowell vs Rockford game from the eyes of a fan and not a reporter. Keep in mind we are Ram fans but our loyalty lies with the experience and not with the outcome of the game. Some of you may be wondering how we plan on rating these experiences and if we have any bias, well although we admit it’s not fail proof, we also think our system is very fair throughout. We judge the FNLE, and not the performance of the teams. We calculate an overall rating between 1 and 10 based on 7 categories of which 3 are double weighted due to the overall significance of the experience.
As we arrive in Red Arrow country we immediately notice that this is no ordinary game for the Lowell program. The parking lot is filling up and it’s only 4:45 p.m. and kickoff isn’t until 7 p.m. So we decide to take a spot on the outer edge of the lot in hopes that we might get a jump on the crowd when it comes to an
end. Another thing about parking for the big game that we notice is that even with the magnitude of tonight’s game, there isn’t anyone really manning the parking lots or any information regarding where the fans should park. On a side note, the media lot did have two parking guides, but shouldn’t the media know where to go?? Funny thing, we didn’t.
As we walk up to the front gates things are a little hectic but the Lowell staff seems to have a pretty good handle on everything going on. We enter the gates greeted by cheerleaders from Lowell welcoming all fans, not just the home crowd. We do notice that for such a large local rivalry there’s really no corporate sponsorship or pre game activities that we’ve encountered at other venues. We then find a wide array of food stands to which we have no complaints. From a spectators view, this is the best high school selection of food that we’ve ever encountered for a non-playoff game, and maybe even for a playoff game as well? The cool thing that the Lowell administration did for the game regarding the concession was they allowed the local food vendors and restaurants to display and serve the selections of their choice and expertise. They also set up a concession tent to purchase tickets ahead of your visit to the food court to allow for quicker service and less time away from the game. If you’re wondering, the ticket idea really works and the food was above average for a typical high school game.
The next area we observe was the Red Arrows facilities. Lowell typically seats roughly 4,000 fans, but because this is such a big event, one that hasn’t been played out since 1973, they decided to bring in an additional 1,500 bleacher seats. You notice the years of success of Lowell’s program with the giant banner across the front of the home side bleachers stating all the conference and state titles of the program throughout the years. And yes, this must be a good program because they have a lot of them! The field seems to be well prepared and has your typical high school natural grass foundation. The visitor side stands would normally be well suited, but with the non typical enormous Ram nation following the added stands were a must!!
The Lowell student body seemed well aware that this was an event that doesn’t come around every year. The participation of the students and crowd mirrored that of a big playoff game. The students clad themselves in white as Ram students did the same in orange. One thing that made the event even bigger was the fact that the students remained glued to the action on the field throughout the night. The Red Arrows marching band took the field at half time and led us through a traditional high school half time show. During their half time performance it occurred to us that we have it very special at Rockford in regards to the performances our band displays week in and week out. Although the band seemed prepared the crowd didn’t seem to take notice as typically as they would during a Rockford home game.
The overall atmosphere of this event was beyond expectations and well deserved. The Red Arrows were wonderful hosts and deserve the reputation of a top notch place to view a game. Take our advice; it was fun to watch a game at Bob Perry field at Red Arrow memorial stadium, but it’s no fun to play them…
Our rating: 8.2
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