Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's Jerry's World and We're All Just Living in It

So I've been sitting on this post for a good long while now, and I figure there's no time like the day after General Jerry finished assembling his future crop of star-spangled ballplayers to take a look at the place he built to house them. My friend, who shall be known as "RAIght Opinions," and I actually wrote this point/counterpoint with the frame of reference of attending a college game at Jerryworld, so our perspectives come from a different place than perhaps a Cowboys season ticket holder. Not to mention, I find a way to bring college football into seemingly everything, don't I?

Pro-Jerryworld-- RAIght Opinions

People always are talking about how they are in love with the newly constructed Cowboys Stadium, and I completely actually agree with them. Just look at the price tag that this behemoth stadium came with – 1.3 billion dollars. This resulted in everything about it is just over-the-top. There is enough seating for 80,000 of our American oversized butts - in custom-made Dallas Cowboy star-embossed seats. The ability to house 31,000 more with the standing room only sections. Then there are the massive video boards which are each over ¼ of an acre (what is Jerry Jones compensating for there). When you walk in doors you are greeted by large murals and various types of modern art. Every door has a different theme and a different story. There are indoor fountains, gardens and so many more secrets reserved for only who have houses made of gold. Throughout history structures of this magnitude have only been erected for powerful kings, gladiators, and gods. So it makes perfect sense to create a modern structure to house a combination of them all. Football is more than a game – it has become a religion. There are rituals, and customs, and those who are worshiped. Cowboys Stadium takes the first major step to finally accepting this.

To those who do not find their experience at the stadium thrilling, I ask why? I have heard such things as it is too large, the food is too expensive, and it doesn’t give you the same crazy atmosphere that other smaller stadiums do. My thoughts are that this is just the fear of change or sheer jealousy. Lets be honest - there is no comparing a college stadium to the pros. College stadiums carry history and tradition; some of the best stadiums are the oldest with a few minor facelifts. On the other hand, professional stadiums are slowly starting to focus on the fan experience and the ability to house other events. This does not allow for them to be constructed in a way that we are accustomed to. Just take a look around the pros and see what else is out there, you have teams who share stadiums with baseball, teams playing in old domes which are falling apart, and teams playing in large outdoor stadiums that cant handle rain and snow. Cowboys Stadium is easily one of if not the premier stadiums in the league. Once people start to understand this, those who fear the change of what professional football is becoming will begin to accept it as the new way slowly percolates across the country, and those who are jealous will continue to put it down until they are able to get their own.

So if you can swallow your pride, I say go enjoy Cowboys Stadium; experience all it has to offer as the most unique stadium in the world and your love will slowly start to form. It has TV’s that are 5.5 times the size of the average American house. If you still hate it that much for whatever reason – than try and be happy with your older smaller stadium that is falling apart. I warn you, though, you’ll eventually see that your ways have left you alone with nobody around to cheer with.

Anti-Jerryworld-- BelleoftheBallgame

The grandeur or gaudiness of JerryWorld lies with the beholder. If you are going to this alleged "football stadium" in hopes of being entertained, with bright lights and technology abounding, congratulations, for you have found your Mecca.

To me, a football game is something entirely separate from what that place stands for. JerryWorld is an entertainment center, not a football stadium. And I think that was Jerry Jones' intention. He wanted to create a multibillion dollar, multifunction megaplex. One of the first events to take place within was a JoBros concert. It has hosted the NBA All-Star game. A PBR event. You name it.

And I don't even necessarily have a problem with that.

The problem for me lies in the fact that, other than having a giant green field in the middle of it, JerryWorld in no way facilitates itself specifically towards the game of football.

Take, for instance, the giant screen looming large above the field- the piece de resistance, the resonating image of Cowboys stadium. It is the biggest, fanciest screen of its kind in the world, and yet, what does it do to facilitate one's understanding of the game being played below? Game clocks and downs are slow to be updated correctly. Significant stats, such as rushing and passing yardage by each team are not even displayed. You mean to tell me a screen that stretches over 20 yards in length cannot (to quote Seinfeld) "spare a square" for some meaningful statistics? And play clocks are not listed either- the only ones to be found are teeny-tiny (at least from the view of the $50 nosebleed seats) in the corners near field level.

Many people have commented that they find themselves watching the giant screen more than the game itself due to its imposing nature. Why spend gobs of money to attend a game and essentially watch it on tv? Atmosphere, perhaps? To quote Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend."

The sound quality in the stadium is terrible (which is not good to a place also positioning itself as a concert venue). It is difficult to hear the referees make their calls, and to hear any sort of announcements in general. I find the enclosure aspect of the stadium quite claustrophobic for a game that is intended to be played outdoors. 100,000 people milling around a building just doesn't sit well with me. It feels confining, rather than liberating. Football should be played out in the elements- that is part of the specialness of football, and, in particular, college football. For me, experiencing the weather- pouring rain, or freezing cold, or 100+ degrees, makes me feel like a part of the game. Sitting in a climate-controlled techo-wonder elicits a disconnect from the game.

But then, it does have those wonderful "biggest-and-best" boasts behind it as a facility. Cellphone service pretty much anywhere you move. Fancy plazas in each end zone to take pause and take in the vastness of it all. Nice screens everywhere. Cool art to look at. You name it. It’s experience-centric rather than football-centric. It’s the game dumbed down for the masses. Instead of creating informed fans, it caters to the hyperactive--the need for overwhelming sights and sounds. I’d rather just focus on the game.

How do you feel about Jerryworld? I'd love to hear.

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