What an event I was able to witness yesterday. The unveiling of the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium. And what better way to get this magnificent venue kicked-off than none other than Entertainer of the Decade and native Texan George Strait!
I had the opportunity to go inside the stadium as a worker and see from the inside this amazing experience and was able to get some pretty unique pictures and videos. I was able to find out some things that perhaps a lot of people wouldn’t see or find out just as a normal fan, so join me while we check out yesterday as witnessed from the inside.
To begin with, I have to say that overall, the stadium is awesome and super magnificent. Are there glitches to be fixed? Yeah, quite a few items need to be fixed and I’m sure they will all be taken care of. I don’t want to necessarily dwell on that because that’s not my point to all of this. But as you read through this entry, I will point out things that I saw that do need attention. It doesn’t mean I’m a communist, it just means it needs some attention. This post isn’t about X’s and O’s as it is about a neutral fan just observing and absorbing the super day that was a great concert, and all that went in to that.
To begin with, since the day was going to be so huge, I couldn’t sit still. We were supposed to report and in our seats at the stadium at 2:30. There was no way I could sit in anticipation that long. I was at the staging area at UTA at 11:00. The photo above were the busses that were to carry us workers from UTA to the stadium. Nice huh? When I first saw all of those buses, I thought George Strait was hanging out. Silly me. We got to the stadium after it was all said and done, right at 12:00. I was sitting in the cool stadium, relaxing, and enjoying Blake Shelton and his band practicing.
To be able to sit there and just marvel at the stadium was just amazing to me. I had seen the stadium on Thursday night, and I knew this was going to be a historic event in anyone’s terms. To be able to be at the very first event here really meant something to me.
This was a long way from the Cotton Bowl of the 1960′s when I became a Cowboys fan. I wondered what all my relatives would have thought about this place.
I was hired as one of the concierge staff, and I can tell you it was a challenge yesterday. We didn’t know where anything was in the stadium either. We were given a map and we were pretty much expected to be experts and tell customers where anything was in the stadium. I think we failed miserably at that, but we tried to do the best we could given the short amount of training. In fact, we didn’t get our hand-held scanning machines to scan people’s tickets until 5 minutes before the doors opened. We would scan the ticket and many of them were at the wrong gate.
I have to tell you at this point, that the new stadium has some unique features most people don’t realize. Just because a person buys a ticket, doesn’t mean that person can go anywhere in the stadium. Depending on the value of that ticket, means you can go certain places in the stadium. It’s going to be neat once it’s in place and people understand that, but last night was confusing to everyone. We would scan the tickets and let people in anyway, even if they weren’t at the right gate.
We the workers were basically supposed to get our work assignments and try to figure out what we were supposed to be doing once the fans started coming in to the stadium. That didn’t happen and really we didn’t have any idea what we were going to be doing until about 30 minutes before the doors opened, which was pretty incredible to me. But really and truly, things went much better than I thought what we were in store for. I was just glad I was able to take as many videos as I could because we really weren’t suppose to be having our cell phones out, much less this camera I was using to catch videos. We were walking to a job assignment and I got lost from my crew doing this video.
As it got closer to the 4:00 time for the doors to open, the tension among the team leaders began to slowly build along with it. For me and most of my team, it was an excitement that was building. I was assigned to scan tickets at one of the doors. As I walked to my post, I realized the heat index was pretty warm and the fans were outside in the heat.
4:00 It’s showtime!!!
The doors were opened, and the transformation of the stadium was complete. A new beginning just happened. History just happened…did you see it? Did you feel it????? The new Dallas Cowboys Stadium is now open!!!!!!
I scanned my first ticket, and the lady said “so this is the new home of the champions huh?” I smiled and said “yes ma’am”. It was soo much fun seeing the fans come in. They had been waiting outside in the heat for a long time. As they came in the door, the rush of air conditioning from the mother ship that is the new stadium struck them in the face and they smiled broadly. They smiled for a lot of reasons. The cool air conditioning. The new beginning. A new source of pride for fans of George Strait, Blake Shelton, Reba McIntire, the Dallas Cowboys, everything that is silver and blue, everything that is Texas, everything that is American. They smiled.
The next few hours were pretty busy what with 60 + thousand fans filtering in. I scanned tickets but it was a great place to people watch and interact with all kinds of people. I would like to take this opportunity to say the fans were great. They had purchased a ticket and were entitled to a great show. I hope we met their expectations, because I for one felt pretty inept at providing information about the stadium for them but I also realize this was our first time, and with experience and practice, we will get better.
The place was filling up quickly. Some people got their tickets scanned and actually hollered with excitement once they were cleared to go on in. Several people let out a wooooooo hooooo as the stadium welcomed them. One lady actually fainted or something and the paramedics came over to attend to her. I didn’t know if it was because of the heat outside, or because she found out how much season tickets cost. But she made it ok after awhile.
Fans rush to the gift shop to buy gifts.
We were very busy from about 4:00 until 8:00. I was concerned about expending extra energy because I didn’t want to get worn down. I was very blessed in maintaining my energy and endurance. Thanks to my daughter Karin for her prayers.
There were all kinds of people to see. All kinds of things to see and hear from these fans. I made a note that some of the strangest looking guys had the best looking ladies. I thought that if a guy looked so bad, he must have made a ton of money to be having a fine lady like that with him. Seriously, the pretty ladies that were proud of their looks all dressed the same way! They had the white sun dress, and cowboy boots. Amazing how that went. Don’t get me wrong they were very beautiful, but it’s like they all had the same idea I guess. And the guys? Lots of them were just happy to be there.
I thought about how relationships work after seeing thousands of fans walk by me. It was interesting to me. I kept watching for a lady that would have that magical spark or look, but I didn’t see her. There were plenty that had potential though. Then it occured to me that I’m almost 58 years old. I’m pretty set in my ways, and I probably have missed that boat to find a significant other. I’m too old for the work it takes for a nice lady. But alas, it’s back to work.
My supervisor came over and asked if I wanted a break at 8:00, and of course I’m not one to miss a break when it’s offered. We didn’t have a break room, so I just went to sit on one of the cushioned couches by the bar, and of course wouldn’t you know that fans would come up and want to know where the ATM was, or how could they get to the gift shop etc. So I couldn’t really take a break because I was still at work while I was on break. Since I didn’t know where anything was, I decided it was better to work than tell fans I didn’t know, or pull out my glasses to try to find it on a map.
The good thing though was the fans stopped coming in at about that time, so really, there wasn’t much to do then but hold the doors open for people leaving one area to another. Little did I know that this was going to be more difficult than I initially thought. But I did get to shoot some video.
I wasn’t able to shoot any video of Blake Shelton or reba, but it was nice that our work slowed a little so that I could shoot video of George. This video was cool because George wanted the roof opened and it opened. I don’t know why we all thought this was a big deal, but it was. Here ya go, and it sure makes me feel a lot of pride to hear this.
I thought this was cool how the video boards had flames while Ggeorge was singing “They call me the Fireman.”
The night was winding down. I was getting pretty tired. Not from over-exertion, just the normal kind of tiredness from standing on your feet for a long time. It occurred to me I hadn’t eaten anything today due to all of the excitement. I had no idea how long the concert would last, but the general consensus was 11:30. I couldn’t believe the place was so packed.
11:00 – 11:15
George was rapping up his act with “A Cowboy rides away”. Things were beginning to dwindle. Some people were heading to the doors to try and get a jump on the traffic. Some people would stay until after we even left. Some people wanted to hang out at the place and go shopping at the gift shops! By this time around 11:45, we go permission to clock out and head home. This was good news for me, because I was tired and needed to sit down because of my feet.
It took about 15 minutes while we waited in line to scan out at the clock. But before I clocked out I took one last picture.
The concert was over. The clean up begins.
In reflecting back over last night, I feel sort of sentimental about it all, and I’m not sure exactly why. It was a historical moment to be sure, but I don’t understand why I feel attached to it all. I had a good time and it was work and all, but I’m not sure why it feels like a friend leaving my side. I’m not sure why the feeling of “I’m gonna miss you” is there, or feels like it’s there. Maybe it’s because of all of the new friends I made, both fellow employees and concert fans. Maybe it’s the way country music affects me and why I don’t listen to country all that much. Maybe “Amarillo by Morning” makes me feel that way. I’m not sure. But what I do know is I had a blast, and I hope I was able to put a smile on some people’s faces last night. I’m gonna miss ‘em.