December 23, 2009

Save the Memorial Coliseum

You've heard about the Pontiac Silverdome going to a half a million dollars, you see the Key Arena sitting dormant (except for a few Gonzaga, WSU and WNBA games) and you wonder why the St. Louis Rams need a new stadium even though the one there in was built in the mid-nineties. This sort of waste and discarding of monumental buildings is absolutely ridiculous and a testament to the greed and lack of foresight of professional sports owners.

The Wall Street Journal recently did a story of the available vacant sports arenas, perhaps you'd like to buy one?

One particular sports arena I would like to highlight is the former home of the Portland Trailblazers. The Memorial Coliseum was built in the 1960s and hailed as the premiere sports arena in the Northwest. The Blazers won the 1977 NBA title in there, and fans sold out the building on a regular basis. In the 1990s, the team moved into the state-of-the-art Rose Garden which is an incredible building by first hand accounts (I watched an NBA game in there, although I was very hungover). Portland did a strange thing though, instead of blowing up or tearing down the Coliseum, they let it stand and the WHL team in town continued to use it as a venue.

Now I have never been in the building, and I talked with one sportscaster covering the Chiefs who said the Memorial Coliseum was much too cramped, but after the Blazers played a preseason game there, I have a feeling that the place was just freakin' magical back in the day.

You'll noticed the large glass walls, which is a unique and breathtaking feature of the building. All of the seats in the building are also very close to the court. The last row in the Memorial Coliseum would probably be considered really good seats in the Rose Garden.

There has been talk of tearing the building down, and that almost happened to make way for a new minor-league baseball park, but thankfully, the MC is still with us. What drives me nuts is why we need all these brand-spanking new stadiums when the older ones serve us just fine and have some character. I know the answer... money, luxury boxes, wider concourses, easier access but it just seems wasteful to me to tear down these perfectly fine buildings that are still capable of hosting sporting events.

Now the Blazers use to have a curtain around the top of the arena to block out the windows but for some reason they left the curtain down and everyone was able to take in the view. I hope that the MC is around for years to come and maybe someday I'll catch a Blazers game in there.

Something tells me its a much better experience in that building anyways.

No comments:

Post a Comment