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Official Review by Chris Green, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Brockway Field at Palmer Trinity School is a bit of a rarity in South Florida. It is situated on a school campus, not next to one or nearby. Most fields like Southridge Field, Ronald L. Book Athletic Field, or Harris Field are located within walking distance from their home team’s schools, but not on the actual property. In addition, the actual seating capacity of the playing field itself is quite small, much more so than most other stadiums for high school athletics. But what makes Palmer Trinity so distinctive is its natural beauty located smack in the middle of quintessential upscale suburban Miami. This makes watching a football, soccer, or lacrosse match at Brockway Field feel like a road game to some faraway land, removed from bad weather, terrible traffic, rude drivers, and dirty bleachers. But can what seems like perfection be true?
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 is only one concession stand at Brockway Field, but with smaller crowds, who needs more than that? Fans can get a burger or hot dog and a Coke for about five bucks or less, and the variety of snacks like chips, candy, and other munchies is extremely wide. Most of these also cost a dollar or less, making getting something to eat in between quarters or at halftime a breeze, and most importantly, less painful for your wallet. The parents and boosters who help man the concessions stand are always kind and greet you with a smile, something that seems rare enough in South Florida.
There may not be a massive crowd at a Palmer Trinity football game, due to the simple fact that it is a small private school, but the fans who do show up are extremely passionate. Many alumni from Palmer Trinity drop in here and there to catch a game, reminiscing with parents of current students and assorted faculty about their time at the school. In addition, going to a Palmer Trinity game feels relaxing while at the same time exciting. Everyone knows everyone, and that gives it a true family feel. You always feel welcome at their games, and that is saying something, even for the biggest of school rivalries.
The only thing that keeps this from being a perfect score is the fact that the school is set back from major restaurants, shopping centers, and hotels. Being that it is located in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, the campus can feel separated from the rest of the world. And while for many this may be a positive aspect that lends to a great atmosphere of fun and excitement while feeling relaxed, you can't exactly hop on over to the local Walmart or Starbucks in between quarters to grab something for the kids. In addition, the nearest hotels are on US 1, which can be upwards of 20 minutes away on bad traffic days. The location does, however, put you on the southern side of some of the fanciest neighborhoods in all of South Florida, with Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay flowing easily into Coconut Grove and Coral Gables to the north.
The game can be a sellout and have a small crowd because of the seat limitations. However, the fans who do show up are among the most passionate and knowledgeable in high school athletics in all of Miami. Almost everyone there is either a former student at Palmer Trinity or somehow connected to the school currently. In addition, most of them know almost everyone on the team and can tell you interesting facts about each player and how they have been doing so far in the season. When it comes to being welcoming and courteous, none in South Florida come as close to the level of niceness you get with Falcons fans.
This is where Brockway Field may find its fault. Because it is situated off of a side street in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, Palmer Trinity School can be difficult to find. Even opposing sports teams who aren't familiar with the campus' location have been known to show up late because their bus got lost on the way in. Parking is extremely limited in the front, with overflow parking available all the way in the back of the school, meaning you will have to walk a bit through the campus to get to the field itself. In addition, navigating the narrow (and at times one-way) streets of the surrounding area can be a daunting maze of insanity, especially at night.
As most high school football, soccer, or lacrosse games at Brockway Field are just a few dollars, it is hard to find a better bang for your sports buck. With the beautiful setting for sports, the quality facilities, relaxing location, kind fans, and inexpensive food and drinks, not many places offer something quite so serene while also being kind to your pocketbook.
There are a lot of extras at Palmer Trinity, starting with the victory bell. After each Palmer Trinity sports victory on campus, no matter what grade level, the team gathers in the middle of the campus around the victory bell. Once rung, it sends a sound that echoes for miles letting people know the Falcons were victorious that day.
Another interesting aspect of the school is the setting itself. Situated in South Florida, the school's campus takes advantage of many native plants in the area, giving rise to beautifully shaded picnic areas in the campus under the wide banyan, palm, and oak trees. On those trees are also bromeliads and orchids growing, giving it a true tropical feel.
Something else to look for are the neighborhood peacocks that wander the premises. Known for flying around the Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay neighborhoods, beautifully vibrant peacocks are known to visit Palmer Trinity, giving fans some interesting sports companions.
One of the newest additions is under a tiki hut behind the grandstands. There, set up for anyone to use, is a ping pong table with chairs as well as a few grills that get fired up during big games and multi-sport afternoons/evenings.
Easily the most impressive extra is the fact that the grandstands and the Falcons Next concessions stand roofs utilize solar panels, soaking up the generous amount of South Florida sunlight and turning it into power. This power can even be used to charge your phone or power other devices on the solar powered plugs that are along the wall next to the concession stand.
If you are looking for a quality experience for high school football that avoids the crazy crowds while giving you the camaraderie one comes to expect from youth sports, look no further than Palmer Trinity. Once you find your way into this neighborhood oasis of sports, Brockway Field will provide you with the perfect setting to catch a high school football, soccer, or lacrosse match that will undoubtedly thrill fans and still be relaxing and enjoyable in the comfort of a quaint and inviting campus.
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