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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Nova Southeastern University softball is one of those local schools where some of the best players go through in their junior college years, and some of the best high schoolers from the area become stars. With free admission, it is hard to say no as a softball fan to catching a college-level game at Nova, and the seats are almost right on top of the action.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There isn't much to pick from at Nova for concessions. There is just one food station for fans, and it is hidden on the far side of the stadium from the main entrance. Unless you wander over there, you may miss its existence. Food choices are limited to mostly chips, candy, a hot dog, or various sodas and water. While the choices are limited, prices are low, equivalent to high school sports, with a hot dog, chips, and a Coke running $5 or less.
The atmosphere at softball games can be pretty unique with each team's chants creating a different feel for each at-bat. However, on a field located in the far corner of a commuter college campus, the fans aren't usually plentiful and mostly include family and friends of the respective players and not students. Part of the allure of college athletics is the fan support, and that is hard to feel when at a Nova softball game. Nonetheless, the stadium itself is nicely decorated with beautiful landscaping and big trees that provide shade for the fans against the harsh Florida sun.
There isn't anything spectacular about the area around Nova Southeastern University. Mostly middle-income residential mixed with dense industrial warehouses and parking lots for trucks and county vehicles; Davie, FL. is a somewhat bland looking neighborhood. You don't feel impressed by it, but it isn't dark and ominous, either. If you need somewhere to stay, there are a few small chain hotels around, but they are about a five-to-ten minute drive away. Ft. Lauderdale is only ten minutes' drive east, so if you want something a little more upscale, feel free to venture over that way to find somewhere more to your liking.
In addition, there are some shopping centers and restaurants nearby, and Sawgrass Mills Mall is about 15 minutes northwest of the college.
The fans who do show up are loud and proud, but there aren't many of them. However, the nice thing about a small softball stadium is that the fans feel like they're sitting right in the middle of the action, so you can't help but feel invested in the outcome. That said, most fans are family or friends of the players on the field, leading to a sort of gap in that much-sought-after "college feel."
The process of finding Nova Southeastern University may be harder, depending on the time of day.
Getting to NSU softball isn't hard to do. The field and campus is right off of I-595. But the issue here is the traffic. This is one of the most intensely congested highways in South Florida, as it runs east and west between I-75 (which connects the western Florida coast with the greater Miami area) and Fort Lauderdale. Plus, you have the congestion from the neighborhoods around, as well as the other colleges nearby. Finding the field isn't difficult. Getting there in a timely manner may be a different story.
It's hard to argue with a free ticket. Lack of having to pay for entry means a cheap night for softball junkies. Catching a Nova game is inexpensive, with your only investment usually being gas to get there. However, depending on where you are coming from, distance and the hassle of battling with South Florida traffic may not be worth the venture over to the home of the Sharks softball team.
The softball team gives away team posters and rosters to everyone at the games, so fans can go home with a memento to remember their game experience by.
In addition, the Miami Dolphins training facility is right next door, so football fans can get a glimpse of where Miami practices throughout the year while catching a softball game.
The facility also features the names of various award winners, championship teams, and players in the pros on the outfield wall for all to see.
Softball at Nova Southeastern University isn't the biggest draw, but getting in for free to watch college sports is never a bad thing. Watching the Sharks softball team is usually pretty fun for those who like the sport, and anyone looking for a quick and inexpensive college softball experience would be well-suited to give this small school in the middle of suburban Ft. Lauderdale/South Florida a shot.
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