Friday Night Lights Experience

Week Two—The Rams vs the Rams?

Sometimes you don’t know how lucky you have it until you see what other people and other places have. Week two we visited the “Ted” as many Rockford residents call it, Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium at Rockford High School. The Rams of Holt decided to make the hour plus journey to Rockford for the FNLE. Even though it was a holiday weekend for the Rams of Rockford, it’s loyal following of over five thousand fans packed the Ted as usual, thus living up to the consistent hype of how well the community backs the Rockford football program. But we wanted to see how will the “Ted” live up to the FNLE ranking??

Heading into Ram nation we notice the parking is filling up almost two hours prior for a more traditional rivalry. It’s not that Rockford versus Holt isn’t a big game, but it doesn’t have the allure of the week one Rockford versus Lowell or a Rockford versus Muskegon game may bring. The nice thing about Rockford parking is that they have the freshmen center nearby which allows for an abundance of overflow parking seeming almost natural. This is great for a dad of with two young daughters, that don’t want to walk a mile to get to the gates. My girls Peyton and Jordan made me promise to ensure our readers I’d let them know they helped grade the Rockford event. There is one difference in parking we notice that Rockford doesn’t have compared to other venues, a media lot. This kind of bums us out since we forgot to utilize it for the Lowell game.

Walking into Ram stadium you’re greeted by cheerleaders rallying the fans for tonight’s match up and also painting the faces of many young Rams. And yes, we had to stop to have a Ram and an insignia “R” put on the girls cheeks. Then you pass a few corporate displays and a promo event offering a chance to win a new car. This is a first, not many high schools have much more than a 50/50 drawing, yet the chance to drive home in a new ride. We then grab our tickets and enter the Ted, we notice Rockford has many concession areas on the home side but a very small selection on the visitors side of the field. And what’s with the restrooms? The home side has a very nice set up but the visitors either travel all the way across or they have the classy option of using a port-a-potty. What’s up with that Ram nation? Rockford field is one of the best we’ve seen, the turf looks amazing with it’s multi tone back drop and the end zones are wonderfully equipped with a scoreboard in each end and believe it or not, a play clock in each end zone as well. This is very impressive and also very useful if you’ve ever stepped on the football field.

Before we take our seats we decide to check out the concessions at “the Ted” a bit closer. Our past experiences with the Rockford venue have filled us with many pre and post game meal delights and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Rockford “walking taco.” I soon learn that I am going to be deeply disappointed as I find out the wide array of food behind the concession counter no longer offers the infamous walking taco, with that we descend upon a combo meal they offer which allows for many substitutions other than fries or chips. This is something more venues should offer on a regular basis to allow for a more balanced meal. Way to go Ram concessions.

The Rockford student body has a tradition that is unique and entertaining all at once. Many students, cheerleaders and parents of players line the field and make a tunnel entrance for the Rams. This tradition seems to grow bigger from year to year. The student body then gets the crowd fired up for the kickoff and the cheerleaders lead the spectators after each score with back flips and handsprings accounting for the total number of points scored by the Rams. During halftime you are once again reminded of how lucky Ram nation has it when their band takes the field for the halftime performance. The amount of color, movement, energy and overall preparation involved in a typical Rockford halftime show is amazing. But where it really comes out is the overall performance, the Ram band keeps almost all its spectators glued to their seats and probably brings many into the game just to see the performance.

Taking into account this was a traditional game without any huge rivalry involved and a holiday weekend as well, the Ram Nation did a very good job representing and put on a wonderful event to attend. With a few small upgrades the “Ted” could be a “best in show” place to take in a game. Oh yeah, Ram Nation concessions, please bring us back the walking taco!

Our rating: 8.8

Parking 9.0; Pre Game Activities 8.0; Facilities 9.0; Concessions 9.0; Student Body 9.0; Halftime Show 9.0; Atmosphere 8.5.

Next week we will be visiting the home of East Grand Rapids as they take on Union…

For any comments or questions, please feel free to follow Drew and Dave on Twitter @ FNLExperience.


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The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.