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Waldo Stadium

November 24, 2009

  • 600 Oakland Drive
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • (269) 387-8092
  • Website

As wierd as it may seem, before tonight, I had only been to one college football game as a spectator.  I’ve been to dozens of games, but in the past, I’ve always been working.  My first game as a spectator was earlier this year when J bought me tickets to see a game at Michigan Stadium.  I’ve seen games in seven of the eleven Big Ten football stadiums, but Michigan Stadium is the one that always seems to elude me.  Instead of waiting and hoping for a phone call to work, J bought a couple tickets to a game while it was still warm out.

Game number two came as a complete surprise.  The Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce was giving away four tickets to Senior Night through a Twitter contest.  I was the first one to reply with the right answer and the next day, I picked up the tickets. 

Waldo Stadium is on Stadium Drive at Michigan Avenue on the campus of Western Michigan University.  One of the first things I noticed about the stadium was parking.  It seemed almost non-existent.  I love that it’s a campus stadium and most students could probably walk to it, but for those of us that have to drive to the game, it really sucks.  The athletic department’s official website encourages you to park at Lawson Ice Arena and take a shuttle back to the stadium.  I’d prefer to be able to walk to and from my car, but whatever.  We really couldn’t even find a lot and there were no signs pointing us towards parking.  I ended up in a neighborhood about a block away.  I must have gotten lucky because I found street parking.  It was a quick ten minute walk back to the stadium, but it saved us the five or ten dollars it would have cost us to park in a university lot. 

The stadium itself was built in 1939 and was most recently renovated in 2003.  That renovation enclosed the east end of the stadium with the Donald J. Seelye Athletic Center.   On the other side of the field, a video board was installed.  The first game in Waldo Stadium was a 6-0 win over Miami University.  The name comes from Dwight B. Waldo who was elected the first president of Western Michigan University in 1904.

We entered on the southwest side of the stadium.  From Stadium Drive, you enter at field level then walk up.  The concession stands and bathrooms are under the bleachers on this side of the stadium.  On the other side, the concession stands and bathrooms are at the top.  The bleachers on the east side of the stadium are built into a hill, so there’s no cutout underneath.   There are also stands in both end zones.  The northeast end zone has stands at field level then suites which are built into the Seelye Athletic Building.  The southwest end zone has portable bleachers that go up pretty high.

Our seats were on the southeast side of the stadium, but first, we wanted to get something to eat.  We decided just to eat at the stadium which is something we almost never do.  We went looking for the concession stand right away and found the one underneath the northwest stands.  They didn’t have a lot of options.  Slices of pepperoni pizza were the cheapest food stuff on the menu at $4.  They also had hot dogs and some kind of BBQ sandwich.  We found out later the other side had grilled hamburgers, but they weren’t available at the concession stand we were at. 

We both got a slice of pizza then got a bucket of popcorn to split.  To wash it all down, we got a Coke and a Diet Coke.  The grand total was $18.  J didn’t bring a purse because we’ve had trouble at football games in the past with bringing bags in…including small purses.  I only had $20 cash on me and it didn’t look like the concession stand took credit.  They were working out of a cash drawer underneath the counter.  There were no POS machines or anything that looked like they would take a credit card. 

After getting our food, we headed to our seats on the other side of the field.  Everything seemed a little backwards to me.  The press box was on the southeast side of the field.  At most stadiums, the home team is on the same side as the press box.  Not at Waldo Stadium.  That was the visitors side.  The other interesting thing to me is that the band was on the home team side of the stands.  Again, it’s somewhat common to put the band either on the visitors side or in the end zone closer to the visitors side.  The idea is that the music makes it harder for the team to communicate.  At Waldo, the band is on the fifty yard line behind the Broncos right above the rowdy student section.

Our seats were about 25 rows on the visitors side of the field right on the goal line.  We were both surprised at how close we felt to the action.  At some bigger stadiums, you feel a mile away.  That was not the case.  The game almost had the feel of a high school football game to me.  Don’t take that as a slam….I love high school football.  The atmosphere seemed more family friendly and it was more comfortable than at the bigger stadiums.  The game wasn’t a sell out and we didn’t have anyone really sitting around us, so of course that helped, but there were other things too. 

Right above us on the concourse was another concession stand.  Right outside they were grilling hamburgers.  You could see and smell the smoke from our seats.  There was also a hill right next to the stands where it seems like every pre-teen boy (and a few girls) was playing football….uphill.  It really reminded me of my own childhood at high school football games on Friday night.  My brother, our friends, and I never watched the game but we had to go to every home game.  It was a night we could play football with our friends from the other two towns in our school district.

The game itself was pretty good, but unfortunately, J and I are fair weather fans…and by fair weather fans, I mean we only stayed while the weather was fair.  We could tell it was getting ready to rain pretty hard, so we bailed about midway through the third quarter.  By the time we got home and turned on ESPN2, WMU was making a comeback.  I must be a bad luck charm or something because I keep hearing so much about Tim Hiller but both games I’ve seen this year, he hasn’t looked very good.  WMU had five turnovers tonight.  Four were interceptions, the other was a Hiller fumble. 

All in all, we had a great time.  J was actually kind of sad when I said we should go to avoid the rain.  I only expected to stay until about halftime because she has to be at work pretty early and needed to get to bed, but at halftime, she said she wanted to stay.  It was a really nice night before the rain and the football was pretty exciting.  Other than the parking situation,  Waldo Stadium is a really great football facility from a fans point of view.  There’s not really a bad seat in the house, so you won’t have much to complain about. 

View from the Southwest Corner

Concession Stand under the Northwest Grandstand

Slice of Pepperoni Pizza

Bucket of Popcorn

View from our seats in the Souteast corner of the Stadium

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 8, 2012 1:22 pm

    I respect your piece of work, appreciate it for all the informative blog posts. – I dont think my parents liked me. They put a live teddy bear in my crib. Woody Allen Born 1935

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