2012 marks ten years that I have truly gotten into this stadium venture and on a recent drive to Bridgeport, I caught myself reflecting a little bit on the beginning of those journeys. It started well before my first visits as I remember being into stadiums when I was in my young teens. What an arduous task that was to get any information on the internet during those days. I would tie up the phone line, using my Dad’s computer (remember Prodigy?) to get on the World Wide Web to compile a fantasy list of stadiums to one day visit. Eagerly, I awaited the day for my driver’s license and to begin the quest. After many games at home places like the Blue Cross Arena, Frontier Field and HSBC Arena, the very first real out of town visit came at an MLB game in Toronto. I went with three friends from high school as we piled into a friend’s parent’s van making the drive across the border for a day game. Immature conversations along the way made that a fun trip.
A couple months later, I drove some newly made friends as a freshman at SUNY Oswego down to Syracuse for an Orange game at the Carrier Dome. We took my ’86 Camero down I-81 and that was interesting going up some of the hills on campus. It was after that game I decided to make some notes and do a crude review in a notebook afterwards (that notebook quickly got trashed for a computer screen, it was 2001 afterall). I’m glad I started that in the beginning, along with buying a program and saving the ticket stub. A few months later, I went with a friend down to Olean, NY for a basketball game. It was on a snowy day and it made me nervous enough to factor in the weather a little more when I go on these trips (I didn’t learn my lesson). J.R. Bremer lit it up for the Bonnies in that game and he dropped 35 points on Rhode Island. Finally, the first trip I made by myself was about an hour away from Oswego’s campus. Ithaca and Cornell was the destination and I vividly remember seeing a beautiful sunset on the drive down with the Dave Matthews Band “Listener Supported” CD blaring in my Toyota Tercel. Looking back, it was a daunting start as Cornell is not easy to get to. Remember these were the days without a GPS, so driving at night with hand-written directions and a campus map was not comforting. Photographing the visit was quite different too, as I couldn’t wait to get to Walmart to have my pictures developed. But I made there and back, enjoying an Ivy League basketball game in a small gym. I must have enjoyed it to take on another 119 stadium visits…and counting.