I’ve always known that I’m not smart enough to get into Stanford. I finally had tangible proof on Saturday when I failed to notice the difference between Campus Drive West and Campus Drive East, and ended up at the observatory. I don’t have a clue how a helio-seismic magnetic imager works, but even with the high powered telescopic equipment up on the hill, I know that you can’t see the pitch from there, so I turned around and eventually found the stadium.
More than 41,000 people had the same idea and turned up for the game at the home of the Stanford Cardinals: NYRB wore white, and the Quakes wore blue - all very appropriate for the Fourth of July weekend. I’m sure that some fans had turned up for the fireworks, but most were wearing the blue and black of the Earthquakes. The prospect of playing the stars of NYRB was a draw, but attending a game in a full sized stadium, with full-sized bathrooms, and fans on all sides of the pitch brought out even the most casual of Quakes fans for this game.
Seated on the east side of the field, I found myself among fans I hadn’t met before, and as I introduced myself we discussed what features of this Stanford experience contributed most to the atmosphere.
- Enclosed stadium: Yes, there were four times as many fans as we get at Buck Shaw, but a stadium closed on all four sides reflects and magnifies the sound – there was definitely more than four times the atmosphere. The Ultras made the most of the acoustics and their chants circulated around the field and they easily encouraged the other fans to join in with more than the usual gusto with the EARTH – QUAKES cheer. Before the game, the Ultras were also able to unfurl their huge tifo from the upper deck – an effect that could only be replicated at Buck Shaw by evading security and climbing to the top of the pine trees (which I am not advocating here, by the way!).
- Tailgating: the eucalyptus groves on Stanford campus provide a shady, comfortable environment for pre-game food and drink. It always feels a little contrived to set up a table in the Magellan parking lot, before navigating across El Camino Real to Buck Shaw for the game. At Stanford, huge groups of fans were grilling, eating then getting indigestion and picking up minor knee injuries playing Frisbee.
- Real seats: Did you know that it’s actually possible to put a seat in a stadium that is made from flexible plastic, and that seat can fold up to allow easy access to the seats in the middle of the row? These seats also have what I shall call here ‘backs’ and these backs are contoured to your spine, and provide both support and protection from your neighbor’s knees. Rapture.
|Photo: Joe Nuxoll at Centerline Soccer.|
My own conversation centered on why the Quakes don’t consider playing more, if not all, of their games at Stanford football stadium - the amount of blue and black I saw in the stadium showed me that the fan base is there.
For a full match report visit Centerline Soccer here.