Stepping off the T into the streets of Boston on Saturday night was a surreal experience.
Everything was business as usual as I walked up from the Fenway stop. It was just like any other night where a big sporting event was going down the street.
Then, with the flip of switch as I turned onto Brookline Ave., I entered into another world.
This is Boston, correct? Yes, so then why are there Notre Dame fans everywhere? And by everywhere, I mean everywhere. I counted about two or three groups of BC fans as the rest of the crowd produced one big mass of green and gold. Every pub and every restaurant was filled to the max with a line out the door—all Notre Dame fans. It was like waking up in your bed and then realizing your house is now in the middle of some foreign country.
Then things got really strange. The faint sound of drums, horns, and marching grew louder and louder as I walked toward the park. Sure enough, we came across the Notre Dame marching band mid-parade as it turned onto Brookline Ave. It started belting out the famous fight song, and the fans all took out their phones to record it.
Toto, we’re not in Boston anymore. This is something scarier—this is South Bend.
BC fans grew in number as Fenway came into sight, and we made it to Yawkey Way and Landsdowne St., but a quick glimpse inside the Notre Dame “Fan Zone” on Yawkey, it was Notre Dame on every street corner.
This fantasy land I was experiencing got me thinking. The gears started churning as I yearned for better days than the ones filled with empty stadiums, a quiet Shea tailgating scene, and 3-0 home losses.
What if BC played all of its home games at Fenway Park? Imagine that scene again, but replace everything related to Notre Dame with the maroon and gold and the Eagle logo. Completely disregarding public safety for a moment, it’s like all of Boston is your Shea Field.
UMass made the switch to Gillette Stadium, and so can we!
You might be thinking, well wouldn’t BC’s football season interfere with two months of baseball season? You’d be correct, but it cannot stop this from happening.
If the guys over at TD Garden can switch from ice to a wood floor in a day, then the Fenway grounds crew can easily make the switch from dirt to less dirt.
Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, for one, loved playing there. He talked about how it really had that stadium feel to it, and most importantly, he was pleasantly surprised that the turf was in such good condition. Well done, grounds crew. Well done.
The specifics of getting a football field into Fenway is well and good. They pulled it off nicely.
But now, let’s get down to the good stuff that is really going to make home games at Fenway special.
Easily the best of the game was the sideline battle. No other stadium in the country puts both teams next to each other on one side of the field … except for Fenway. With both coaching staffs wary of some wandering eyes from their opponents, hilarity ensued.
Notre Dame had these official-looking fold-out blockers that could be used when the coach need a play call. It was neat and tidy. BC, on the other hand, went a little more rogue. Using the BC Athletics sheet used for an interview backdrop, two of the managers were tasked with unfurling the big sheet. It looked like two guys running around with a big sheet ready to make the most epic fort ever.
The two managers would move with the coaches, and would even get a couple yards onto the field to block Notre Dame’s view. Kelly complained, and the ref had to come in and shut the operation down, limiting the play-call blocking to sidelines only.
That’s the kind of extra flavor that would come with BC home games. No longer is the battle on the field, but it gets a little more physical on the sidelines.
The marching bands would also have a lot more fun. The Fighting Irish band was situated behind the benches, and it had all of left field as a playing field. The possibility of antics are much greater when a band isn’t restricted to a section of the stands. The away band—in this case BC’s—on the other hand, would be even more restricted. It looked really squashed in those tiny Fenway seats behind third base.
In theory, the away band, so fed up with the uncomfortable arrangement, would then storm into left field, thus creating a face-off between opposing bands.
If my math is correct, we are now up to three face-to-face battles happening in one game. The first one is on the field. The next is on the sideline, where the two coaches go to extreme lengths to shield their play calls, and the third is directly behind that, where the two bands meet.
That’s triple the action, and triple the fun!
In all seriousness, other sporting events at Fenway Park are awesome. It’s historic, it’s a bit quirky, it’s in the city, and it has been home to some great events. There have been two Frozen Fenway’s in which BC has played Notre Dame and Boston University. Liverpool, AS Roma, and Celtic have all played the soccer matches there. It was once even home to a professional football team, and now we even get hurling and big air ski jump, too!
Fenway Park deserves all of the sports.
With a tragic BC season about to come to a finish, a switch to Fenway would instill some new life into this program.
Football is back at Fenway, and hopefully there are many more games to come.
Featured Image by Drew Hoo / Heights Editor