The Last Great American Sports Parks

This is a guest post by Jason Haskins. Jason is a sports writer, playwright and novelist living in Boise, Idaho. When not writing, Jason turns to his favorite teams (the Red Sox and Boise State Broncos) for solace. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonrh_78

For many sports fans, nothing beats the thrill of of seeing their favorite sports team play in person.

Attending a sporting event in remains a popular national pastime in the United States among friends and families alike. The roar of the crowd, the energy, and the general overall excitement of seeing a sporting event up close and personal can be an experience unlike any other.

While many new stadiums and fields are being built as modern day theme parks, there are still a handful around the nation that have remained (relatively) close to their original forms.  All have undergone renovations over the years, but for the teams and the parks they are housed in, the mystique remains.

The new venues might be bright and shiny, but as most sports fans will agree, there is nothing like a visit to the legendary and revered. Here are six venues of that variety, ones that you don’t want pass up an opportunity to visit if given the chance.

Lambeau Field

lambeau-field-jh
Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Home to the Green Bay Packers, Lambeau Field has been an institution in Wisconsin since 1957. One of the NFL’s oldest stadiums, the home field advantage of Lambeau has aided the Packers to four Super Bowl titles. (And a lot of Brett Favre interceptions).

Seeing a game here should be on any sports fan’s bucket list. The trouble? The only view a casual sports fan may see of Lambeau is from the outside. Season tickets for the Green Bay Packers are often merely a pipe dream, as there has been a waiting list since 1960.

Best bet? Find yourself a season-ticket holder, cozy up to them and go into full on bribe mode. Or sign up now and pray that you see those tickets before you turn 80.

Wrigley Field

The Chicago Cubs first set foot in their home park 100 years ago, but the field itself is two years older. Known for the ivy that grows along the outfield walls. Night games weren’t even a thing until the magical day of 8/8/1988.

Through curses, losing seasons, and heartbreaking losses, Wrigley Field remains intact. And with Chicago marching–fingers crossed for the Cubbies–towards the World Series, fans may get to experience Wrigley Field and the W flag flying from its scoreboard for years to come.

Fenway Park

Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org
Photo courtesy of en.wikipedia.org

Two great things were finished being built in April of 1912. One barely lasted a week, the other still standing 104 years later.

If you correctly guessed the Titanic and Fenway Park, you either know your history, your Boston Red Sox history or both.

Like the ivy in Wrigley, Fenway Park has its own special structure. The Green Monster, as it’s so affectionately called, stands 37’2” in left field. The wall was an original part of Fenway, though it wasn’t painted green until 1947.

Even better? Since the 2003 season, seating has been available in a section atop the wall. Now that would be the ultimate in-game experience.

Soldier Field

The home of the Chicago Bears since 1924, Soldier Field gets to stay on this list only because it’s original exoskeleton remains. In 2002, the inside of the stadium was mostly demolished to make way for lower seating. This effectively caused Soldier Field to be delisted as a National Historic Landmark.

Listed or not, Soldier Field still has its classical columns and houses one of the NFL’s storied franchises, making it an ideal stadium to check out. Unless you’re not a fan of Jay Cutler. Then you’ll just have to wait another year.

L.A. Coliseum

Photo courtesy of flickr.com
Photo courtesy of flickr.com

Home of the USC Trojans and the St. Lo–I mean–Los Angeles Rams, the Coliseum has been a staple of sports entertainment in Los Angeles since 1923.

The Coliseum was also the first stadium to host the Summer Olympic Games twice (1932 and 1984). A treasured relic of the sports world, it is even hoped that the stadium will play host to the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The Rams will only be temporary inhabitants during the construction of the new stadium. But if there early record is any indication, they may not want to leave.

Hinkle Fieldhouse

Home of college basketball’s Butler Bulldogs, Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis has been entertaining basketball fans since 1928.

Known as “Indiana’s Basketball Cathedral”, Hinkle Fieldhouse carries with it the charm and nostalgia of basketball gymnasiums of old. In fact, for years it hosted the high school basketball championship games, including the famed Milan Miracle.

High school games are a little sporadic there these days, but seeing the Bulldogs play there may well be worth the experience of taking you back to your old hardwood playing days.

Whether you’ve been to none or all of these stadiums, historical venues like these are definitely worth the trip. Check them out now before they become just a footnote in the sports almanacs of the world.

retro

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