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Official Review by Zack Duarte, Stadium Journey Special Correspondent
Veterans Memorial Stadium opened its doors in 1950 in honor of the Pike County residents who died in World War II. It began as a 5,000-seat grandstand and has since been renovated several times and expanded twice, once in 1998 and again in 2003, in order for the university to prepare the football program for Division I-A (today's FBS) play. Currently, the stadium seats 30,000 spectators and is formed in a "U" shape with the north end open. As part of the expansion in 2003, the surface of the field was changed from athletic turf to AstroPlay, an artificial surface that emulates the look and feel of grass.
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".
You will find only the very basic stadium fare when you see a game at Veterans Memorial Stadium. Hot dogs, hamburgers, nachos, popcorn, and pretzels are on offer. The good news is that nothing will cost you more than about $4. The bad news it is very boring. Sodas and bottled water are available to drink. The lesson here is eat before or after if you are feeling hungry.
The city of Troy provides a small town feel. That said, the city embraces their team and comes out to support. The student section is filled and usually loud with hecklers and a section for local members of the military is always reserved for members in uniform.
The tailgating leaves something to be desired. A few scattered tents lie about around the stadium, but the parking lot is where most of the action takes place. Most fans are in their seats by the time the game starts to cheer for their Trojans.
The school does a great job at providing a true Trojan-like experience at the game. The statue of the Trojan lies at the south end of the stands while the band, or the "Sound of the South" marching band, provide a pre-game feeling that induces the crowd and team to prepare for battle.
Troy is very much a college town. Surrounded by pine forests and small town shops, the neighborhood lacks resemblance of a big-time college football program and the city seems content to maintain this status. At the same time, the surroundings exhibit the feel of the southern comfort all too familiar with the state of Alabama.
The fans rally around their hometown Trojans. They show up, cheer, chant and root for
their team even in a season when Troy is out of contention for a conference title. A home
game at Troy is a town event and provides a family setting that contains members of the
student-body, local military and simple local residents looking for a reason to go out.
Needless to say the student section is where the majority of heckling and chanting can be
found, while the rest of the stands contain the simple fan that wants to see a competitive
football game played.
Most Troy games end up short on attendance but the fans that do show up represent the
fan base comparatively well to some other small time college football crowds.
Located in a relatively small town, getting to the stadium can be done on major streets and also smaller dirt roads. Gates are located to the south side of the stadium, as well as the ticket booth which usually does not have too long of a line.
Taking into account that one is not going to see BCS type football, the Trojan experience provides a well rounded college atmosphere and experience that has sustained itself for over 50 years. Tickets on game day, depending on team performance, can go as low as $5.
Not only do fans get the chance to watch college football but the award winning Sound of the South marching band perform before the game and at halftime.
If the stands were full the overall experience would be outstanding with complete camaraderie but still, it is hard to complain with a small town environment gathering together and rallying around their college football team.
The scoreboard to the north side of the stadium needs renovating. Stadiums are all about being flashy and the scoreboard at Troy is anything but. Veterans Memorial Stadium represents the city of Troy with its Southern look and feel and could use minor upgrades in order to keep up with modern stadiums in the FBS.
Photo attributed to Mactones.
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