San Diego State University had arguably the worst stadium opening of all-time


It feels scorching simply this pic.
Picture: Getty Pictures

Triple-digit warmth, however not an oz of shade to be discovered. It seems like a lyric from that Alanis Morissette music, “Ironic,” however for San Diego State soccer followers, it was a actuality, a nightmare come to life.

SnapDragon Stadium opened up on Aug. 19, 2022, however its first common season soccer motion got here final Saturday because the Aztecs opened up their season towards Arizona. Nonetheless, the joy of opening day rapidly was turmoil as followers began boiling within the 100-plus diploma warmth and 67 p.c humidity (at kickoff), looking for any ounce of shade they could find to keep cool.

It was a disastrous inaugural sport. A couple of days later, SDSU athletic director John David Wicker held a press convention to handle the considerations round SnapDragon’s debut.

Regardless of all the warmth, Wicker mentioned, “I believe the constructing confirmed rather well. I believe folks have been capable of get pleasure from it as a lot as they presumably might. I believe they actually loved the shade that was out there on the East and West sides.”

Based mostly on the vitriolic response and outrage from the video earlier, it appeared like Wicker was taking fan response to Saturday’s expertise fairly flippantly. So, ought to he have been extra involved, or have been the followers within the video overreacting?

I reached out to someone who was at the game and experienced the event first-hand. Sean O’Connell was attending his first ever college football game at SnapDragon Stadium last Saturday. Accompanied by his girlfriend, who used to work in ticket sales for SDSU, the two were seated in the top bowl, fully exposed to the sun and all its glory.

When asked how difficult it was to find shade, O’Connell told Deadspin, “It was easy, if you didn’t want to be in the stands. Pretty much everywhere, outside of your seat, had shade.

“We probably sat in our seats for only one quarter before it became too unbearable,” O’Connell continued. “We were in the upper bowl, and the amount of breeze you get up there isn’t too terrible, but also it’s super hot air getting blown on you so it’s very little respite.”

In keeping with the video, virtually each inch of shade was taken up. Individuals have been crowding into each little nook and cranny attempting to keep away from the sunshine. Whereas which will have been the expertise for some followers, O’Connell defined that that didn’t need to be the case.

“A lot of the crowding I noticed was simply folks looking for a seat someplace within the shade,” he mentioned. “There was a good quantity of shade out there however seating was restricted to simply benches and concrete foundations beneath metal pillars. In case you weren’t sitting, you have been nonetheless within the shade, however both standing or simply sitting on the ground.”

The viral TikTok video additionally claimed that “ice and water grew to become scarce all through the stadium.” In keeping with O’Connell, that wasn’t the case. “They didn’t have very many water stations handing out free water. Possibly they’d two or three all through the stadium, which isn’t so much, however I didn’t have any points getting water,” he mentioned. “I really tried to go seize a beer, they usually have been out of these, so I used to be like ‘Alright. Can I get a cup of ice water then?’ they usually gave me their metallic memento cup at no cost with ice and water in it. I didn’t have any points afterward getting water both. In actual fact, most people that I noticed strolling round had bottles of their fingers.”

The entry (or lack thereof) to A/C was a professional drawback. Exterior of the reward store, there was no publicly accessible space with air con. That mentioned, O’Connell and his occasion have been ready to make use of a number of connections to get into a non-public room with A/C for a “small half” of the sport.

O’Connell acknowledged the medical emergencies that occurred throughout the sport. “It was in all probability one of many solely occasions I’ve seen as many individuals getting escorted round on stretchers,” O’Connell mentioned, including that whereas water appeared to be available, not all people knew the place to search for it or take the water when given the chance, which can have led to various of the hospitalizations and medical emergencies that occurred throughout the sport. “I noticed about three or 4 folks on stretchers affected by warmth exhaustion being escorted by EMTs, after which possibly one other 4 or 5 people who have been simply being checked on by EMS companies. I believed that was a reasonably excessive variety of folks simply not capable of deal with the warmth.”

When requested how SDSU might’ve dealt with the scenario higher, O’Connell instructed Deadspin “A retractable awning is the apparent reply, however I don’t understand how possible that may be. Just a few technique to get extra shade to the mid-to-top ranges.

“There have been a number of inflatable tent issues, with misters on them,” he mentioned. “Solely two of them that I noticed, however a number of extra of these would’ve undoubtedly been an enormous assist.”

A couple of extra mist stations do seem to be a reasonably fast and simple repair for San Diego State to make. Nonetheless, I don’t anticipate we’ll see any modifications as we strategy the crew’s subsequent sport this Saturday. Not solely is it a fast turnaround, however in his press convention, Wicker defined that persons are predicting the climate to be “79 and raining” for SDSU’s tilt with Idaho State. That mentioned, Wicker additionally claimed that he didn’t know the house opener was going to be that scorching till the day of. The college didn’t put together for a worst-case situation and thus, many followers didn’t have an excellent expertise. In the event that they let that occur two weeks in a row, they may have formally misplaced any confidence their followers could have had in them.

If Wicker and the SDSU athletic workers have realized something, they need to have some misters, further water bottles, and followers available in case the climate proves unpredictable as soon as once more. Being ready for a scorching day and having it rain is means higher than anticipating rain and getting sunshine you weren’t prepared for. Hopefully, SDSU can study from its errors, and possibly subsequent yr, there can be slightly extra shade within the seating areas.

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