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Alumni Stadium Fan Experience: Week 1 Cheers and Jeers

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Colgate at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Fans were back for Week 1 at Alumni Stadium, and it was a wonderful sight to behold. Let’s take a look back at Saturday’s off-field fan experience and look at some highlights, and some things that can be improved upon.

Cheers: The students

Students, you were amazing. Your BCI Scribes were on campus at around 8:30 AM and the Mods were already in full force with music and tailgating roaring. That energy carried over into game time, with the section filling up shortly after kickoff and staying packed for most of the game, even as BC turned it into a cakewalk. The energy was great, the atmosphere was wonderful, Mr. Brightside was a delight... you all just were fantastic. Keep it up.

Cheers: The crowd overall

A crowd just short of 30K might have been disappointing back in the day but all things considered, a really nice crowd for Week 1 on a Labor Day weekend, for a glorified scrimmage. And you could tell the people who went were super happy to be there. Diehards. It was a good atmosphere, and a good scene in the tailgating lots even for an early kickoff. It was a fun day.

Jeers: Conte’s bathrooms and concession lines being closed (but we get it, maybe)

Seeking respite in Conte on an inclement day, or just having some space to chill at halftime, is one of the nice amenities of Alumni Stadium, but on Saturday the restrooms and concession lines at Conte were closed.

We heard two different explanations for it, both COVID-related — one, that they have that whole side of Conte sealed up because it’s used for COVID testing during the week; the other, that they didn’t want to create lines ‘indoors’ to mitigate risk.

If it’s the former, then that totally makes sense - if you’re using the area for testing, don’t let anyone screw it up, as BC’s testing program has been efficient and effective. If the idea was to prevent masses of congregating, it’s counterproductive, as the lines were just longer at concessions and bathrooms in the stadium, which while not technically ‘indoors’, are essentially indoors due to being covered by the stands.

Cheers: The new jerseys and gear*...

The new Adidas jerseys looked great on the field and for those of us Aging Bloggers it was a wonderful change to have nice big readable numbers and nameplates to be able to tell who was who, a big problem with the Under Armour era. There isn’t quite a full complement of New Balance and Adidas swag at the Bookstore yet (the new jerseys aren’t on sale yet) but the stuff that was on sale looked great. One exception though

Jeers: *except for the white pants

The overall BC getup would have looked better with gold pants, seems to be the consensus all around. A little too much white and not enough gold made us look more like Harvard or, well, Colgate stylistically. That’s probably the one fashion critique.

Cheers: Vaccination and COVID protocols

It felt great to know that everyone at the stadium was either vaccinated or tested negative, meaning that anyone pooh-poohing such an (outdoor!) gathering could be pretty safely put in the rear view mirror — plus it was good peace of mind to be able to enjoy the event safely and celebrate like as ‘normal’ a day as we can have.

Jeers: The lines for the COVID vaccination wristbands

We’ll give a pass here as it was Week One and there were always going to be some kinks to iron out, but the lines were insane to show your vaccination card and get your wristband. They tried to mitigate this by having lines set up during the tailgate, but there weren’t enough of them, so the lines were long then, too, leading many folks to just wait until they were in line to go in to show their card — backing it up and making it a bit of a zoo to enter.

Let’s hope for smoother sailing for Missouri given what should be a larger crowd — including, hopefully, the debut of a digital option to pre-verify on the app and just show the app on the way in, cutting down on lines and time.

Jeers: All-digital tickets

This is a big “get off our lawn” sort of complaint since all sports are going this way, but the end of paper tickets is sad. It made it extra sad to see the BC bookstore selling the (very cool!) framed stub holder to display four years’ worth of BC tickets to represent your family’s BC experience.

...but on a more practical level, they’re going to need to upgrade and simplify the WiFi access for gamedays if possible

On a more practical note, the issue with digital tickets is that getting service and/or WiFi while in line to get in was difficult, making it hard for tickets to load, really hard to text them to your seatmates, and causing more of a backup.

I know this can easily be mitigated by downloading and transferring your tickets at home before arriving at BC, but realistically, plenty of people won’t think to do that — so it would be nice if they would figure out a way to temporarily upgrade the public campus WiFi on gamedays, since it’s very difficult to access on gamedays at Alumni. That would make it smoother to enter in an all-digital-tickets world.

Jeers: PA volume

It’s pretty tough to hear the PA announcements in Alumni, I assume this is a NIMBY-placating thing from people complaining about hearing the volume of the announcements in the surrounding neighborhood previously.

Cheers: How gorgeous campus looks

Maybe it was just absence making the heart grow fonder but BC’s campus was even more resplendent than usual, with the project to replace the Plex with green space making lower campus feel much more beautiful and homey, with nice views across the way from the gleaming Connell rec plex, to the stadium, to the million dollar stairs. The landscaping is, as always, on point, and a quick walk up to middle campus revealed the great progress on the construction of the new science facility. Campus really does look fantastic.

Overall, the game day experience was wonderful for week 1, and we’re looking forward to a great atmosphere in a few weeks against Missouri!