University Of Florida Essay, Research Paper
While being recruited by various colleges for baseball, I had to decide on a program with a great athletic, academic, and fan supported background. I chose the University of Florida because of their great athletic success in the past ten years and all of their well-equipped facilities. I never took a recruiting visit to the University of Florida, so when I first arrived to Gainesville and saw the baseball field for the first time I was amazed. The field looked as if it were a professional stadium. Whether you enjoy watching baseball or not, there is always something interesting happening at the ballpark. There are usually media personal conducting interviews, or fresh peanuts are being roasted, or a father and son are having a catch on the side of the field. Students also gather here and study or just hang out. Just as many people know, baseball is “America’s pastime” and the ballpark is where a family can come together, socialize, and have fun.
The ballpark, also known as McKethan Stadium/Perry Field, is located in between the O’Connel center and the soccer field/track. To gain entrance into the field, there are two large glass doors for athletes to enter through captured in picture #1. This leads towards the locker rooms, dugouts, and trainer’s room. Fans are prohibited from entering these doors, which is blocked off by security guards during games. This gives a sense of feeling that even college athletes are protected like professionals. Fans enter the stadium on a ramp towards the bleachers past the box office. This keeps the fans under control and away from the athletes. The outskirt of the stadium’s landscape brings on a sense of beauty and security. A 6-foot metal fence encloses the stadium. Beyond the fence there are large palm trees and shrubbery surrounding the batting cages. This is illustrated in picture #2. The fence and plants serve as a way to keep non-ticket holders out of the stadium. This gives the field a sense of security.
Because of the stadium’s location in the middle of the campus, it is easy access for anyone to attend games. Across the street from the stadium are apartment-like dorms where students can watch the games from their window. In one student’s window a large amount of baseballs are stacked up, from foul balls and homeruns that have landed in his or her yard.
Prior to the games, fans stay on the outskirts of the stadium to finish their tailgate parties or just hang out with friends and drink beer. Because the stadium is a “dry” stadium they know that they can not bring their alcohol in. Fans intermingle along the street and fathers and sons play catch. The socializing that takes place at the ballpark allows for a nice friendly atmosphere. Just like every athletic event, everyone wears his or her Gator apparel to show their affiliation with their favorite team. This allows for the fans to show their free expressions and feelings.
The stadium allows room for 4,500 fans. There are about 1,000 chair back seats, for rich sponsors and alumni. These fans are given first class treatment and have the best seats in the house. They have personal hosts take their food orders and bring it to them. Because of their high class and standards, I do not feel that they are true fans who get loud and rowdy. To me they are just there because of their social status. Their seats are sectioned off in picture #3 by the dark blue seats. All other fans and students seat in the bleacher sections (the white sections in the picture). These seats are located behind the chair back seats, and there is an extra student section located in left field exemplified in picture #4. Baseball is not a fast action sport like football, so fans tend to relax and socialize while the game goes on. Everyone does not stand up the whole time on his or her seats like the football games. Because of baseballs old fashioned tradition the only time fans get up and stretch is during the seventh inning.
During the off season, the field is open for the public to use. Local residents and students use the field to hang out. I have noticed students doing homework in the bleachers while watching intramural games. They use the ballpark as a quiet space out doors where they can get work done. This space not only serves as a place for cheering fans, but also as a study hall, or a place where young children can come and learn the game of baseball. There are really no boundaries for the field. It is always open and even one night I noticed a couple laying in center field watching the stars. The baseball field is not just for athletes practicing or participating in competition. Couples and students meet at the ballpark to possibly escape pressures or just to get out.
The baseball field is a very important structure at the University of Florida, which has shared many mixed emotions and memories. The baseball games played on the field are where fans can come out and support their friends and fellow athletes. However, the ballpark is a place where friends, couples, and students come to get out. Whether it’s communicating with one another and making new friends, or studying for an upcoming test, students use the baseball field for many reasons. Fathers take their sons here to teach them about baseball and tell them past stories or even play catch with their child. The baseball field allows for loud cheering fans when the game is taking place, but also allows for a quiet calm atmosphere when just hanging out.