A.K.A. : The House that Bird Crap Built.
By the time we were headed to Rutgers, things were looking up. We had just gone through the amazing experience that is West Point and foolishly started to believe that we would be welcomed at every stop with open arms. All that we had to do was just call ahead. As a rule, I try to e-mail two people in the athletic offices of each team before I leave so that I can at least see if the doors to the fields are opened up and it isn't going to be too much of a problem. The folks at Rutgers did not e-mail back, and I got a tip that the stadium stays somewhat locked up. So I took down a couple of numbers and we called them once we got on the New Jersey Turnpike headed in. The guy who picked up sounded a little nervous, but was willing to meet us at Rutgers Stadium to let us in because the field is "always locked up". I felt pretty good about the whole thing until he came back with a suprise uppercut of a lecture on how I shouldn't call ahead an hour before hand and that it was a big favor for him to do that for us. I thought it was fine that he was going to be a little too much with the consolidation of power because like I ever plan on coming back to Piscataway, NJ ever again in my life.
We got to the field and he was about 15 minutes late and pulled up in his SUV ready to go. In that 15 minutes, we managed to find a gate that was open, argue somewhat not seriously about just going in and letting them kick us out, and then deciding just to wait. When he finally showed up and made some uncomfortable comment about the doors being open and that being funny, we followed him in. I have to say that the whole set up looked reasonably nice. The field was in great condition (we were pretty high up though), and all the landscaping and what not looked good. When I asked if we could go on the field, he kind of politely pointed out the 4 or 5 players down there and said, "We have to protect our players." I understand that. What with the rivalries that Rutgers has with Princeton (haven't played them since 1890) and Seton Hall (only applies to basketball), there must be a market out there of dudes that want to take the crowbar to all kinds of Scarlet Knight.
After acquiescing to the field/player policy, I started to walk around the concourse to the other side of the stadium. I heard a nervous voice pipe up behind me.
"Hey, what are you doing?"
"I just want to go around there and take some pictures of the press box."
"Actually, you can't go over there. Can you just stop at the 'R' around there and shoot from there?"
At this point, I felt like a little kid who was told where and how far I could go by my parents. With that feeling also comes the feeling of pushing that line as far as I can, and so I did. I didn't get too far past the "R" before I was told to come back, but it was on my way back that the deal was off.
Our "guide" from the athletic office said something to the effect of the following:
"Yeah, I just didn't want you to go any further over there because there's some bird poop that we don't want people to know about."
Really? Too bad. Because I realize that it's summer and keeping the inside of a stadium maintained to the point of what you need to do in the autumn is tough. So I can over look stuff like that. But when you start restricting access because I might fall on an athlete and tear his ACL and then tell me I can't walk any further because your janitorial staff can't keep the birds under control, you're asking for it.
First Game: v. Kent State, 1994
Surface: Field Turf
Google Map of Rutgers Stadium