Five Senses of Spry Stadium

We’ve never done a Five Senses at an athletic event, and I was at Spry Stadium yesterday afternoon to watch our men’s soccer team take on Notre Dame.  We won 1-0 and advance to the next round of the ACC Tournament, playing Wednesday night.

So here you go, Five Senses of Spry.

I see…

Lots of people of all ages – from babies who look newborn, to toddlers and elementary school kids to tweens, teens, college students, adults up through retirees.  It’s great to see such a diverse group.

Tons of black and gold and/or WF clothing.

Shorts and short sleeves – surprising for November – along with jackets and warmer clothing.

I have a great line of sight to the field.  We sit close to the front to catch most of the action.  Seeing our soccer players sprint is mesmerizing.  They are so, so fast.  And their footwork while dribbling is amazing.  It’s almost balletic in how graceful they move the ball.  It’s beautiful.

Students who have backpacks with them – either just back from the library or en route there post-game.

Lots and lots of staff, many of whom are there with their families.

Alumni Hill, where lots of people are seated in the grass.  Also there are the flags of our players who come from foreign countries: Spain, New Zealand, Brazil? ONE MORE

In addition to the incredible sprinting and fancy footwork on our team (Jon Bakero had a couple of sublime moves), it’s pretty amazing to see how far these guys can kick the ball downfield.  Defenders trying to clear the ball can boot it for what looks like 30-40 yards.  Both keepers can easily kick it halfway down the field, even ¾ of the way.  Impressive.

A near constant parade of people walking along the railing to get to/from their seats – often with food (or trash after they have eaten).

I hear…

Lots of shrieking little kids before the game starts  [Look, I’m a mom, been there, done that, got the t-shirt.  No judgement here, just an observation. Frankly, I think it’s great that so many people with young kids choose to make their family outing a Wake sports event.]

One little kid within earshot keeps asking his parents “Where is the big DEEEEEEEEEEEE-kin?!?!?!?”

The hollow, metallic sound of people stomping up the stairs and the bleachers.

The announcement to stand up and rise for our national anthem.

Announcing our team members by position – lots of cheers for our guys.  (They introduced Notre Dame too, to far less thunderous applause).

Whistles from the refs.

My Class of ’27 Deac doing color commentary with every play.  He’s got all the players memorized and is doing a pretty good job calling the game.

Our phenomenal keeper, Alec Farrell, calling to his teammates by name when Notre Dame gets the ball on our half of the field.  Alec does a great job directing guys to move to the right or left to keep the defense solid.  I hear him call out “Jared!” (Odenbeck).  I think I might have heard him call Hunter Bandy “Bando,” but I am not certain.

The occasional grousing from the crowd when a call doesn’t go our way.

An enormous, gargantuan RRRRROOOOOAAAAARRRRRR that happens when the Deacs scored.  Jacori Hayes nailed one – and wouldn’t you know it, he did it *right* when I’d ducked out to the ladies room?!?!  I ran back up the ramp to see if I could see the post-game leap into the arms of fans on Alumni Hill, but missed it.

I smell…

Fresh, clean air.  I am not sure if it is possible to smell the sun, but there is a distinct warm and wonderful sun smell.

Frozen lemonade.

Peanuts.

I feel…

Peanut shells crunching under my feet.

The hard metallic bleacher seats, made softer by a blanket and a cushion.

The metal floor has grooves in it, and if you run your feet back and forth, it has a sort of washboard, scratchy effect.

A lot of hot sun.  It is way warmer than I thought it was going to be, so I am sweating in my black shirt as soon as I arrive.  But if the wind had picked up, it would have been cold.

I taste…

Peanuts and Diet Pepsi.

The sweet, taste of victory as we win 🙂

And then at the end of the game…

I hear huge cheers once the clock ticks down to zero.

Happy smiles on everyone’s face.

Our team shakes hands with the ND players and the refs. Classy.

The team then moves en masse to Alumni Hill to high five the fans.  They snake all the way down the line, then turn to high five all of us in the stands.

People line up along the railing and stretch their hands out for the team. Led by Alec Farrell, the team walks by, smiling, high fiving, saying things like “thanks for coming out”.   The kids who they high five are practically giddy.

And then after a long break in the team, Jacori Hayes brings up the rear.  He is just as smiley and happy as the rest of them.

My heart is full of pride.

So that’s your Five Senses of Spry.  Finally, there is news from our Student Health Service about additional flu vaccine clinics available for your Deacs.  Please consider sharing this link with your students if they have not had a flu shot yet.

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