This is a little routine of mine when I fly.
I always like to sit in the window seat, and when we are taking off or landing, I try to pick out landmarks in the city we are visiting. More specifically, I like to pick out sporting venues… even more specifically… I note ALL of football fields and stadiums in the area. I think you can tell much about the priorities of the city/ geographical area by conducting this quick aerial survey. OK, what I am really trying to say is that you can tell how important football is to the area!
The rankings from 30,000 feet:
Dallas is King
When flying into Dallas you can always spot 8-10 high school District stadiums with turf fields, as well as countless other high school and middle school turf practice fields and complexes (see post Friday Night Lights). This includes the new $60 million, 18,000-fan capacity, Allen District Stadium, in Allen, Texas. Depending on the route into the airports (either Love Field or DFW) you can sometimes see FC Dallas Stadium (where many Frisco ISD games are played) which is the home of the FC Dallas soccer team, and the site of the 2011 and 2012 FCS National Championship football game. Arial views of the Cotton Bowl, the old and new Cowboy stadiums can also be seen on various approach legs.
Houston a close second
Nearly as many high school turf fields can be spotted approaching Houston, but the area around the airport we typically fly into is a little more industrial, and not so suburban, so it lands a close second to Dallas. Occasionally the flight path will give you a view of downtown and Reliant Stadium.
Austin rounds out the top three
Many impressive high school turf stadiums as well as the University of Texas (a really cool sight) stadium can be spotted on the glide path into Austin.
San Diego is the West Coast challenger
Many, but smaller, natural grass stadium complexes and MANY golf courses show that the emphasis in this California city is not the same as its Texas counterparts. You can spot lots of sailboats in the harbor, though.
Kansas City the Show Me State representative
More and more nice, turf, high school district stadiums are popping up on the glide path into KCI airport – most notably Park Hill and Platte County. Depending on the route in, you can occasionally get a good view of Washburn University’s (a DII school in the MIAA) new football complex. In my (totally unbiased) opinion, KC is poised to push San Diego out the #4 slot.
San Jose/ San Francisco a foggy #6
Very few nice high school complexes, but occasionally you can see the San Jose State Spartan Stadium, the 49ers or Oakland stadiums. The landings are often in fog so visibility is limited. Although they are nice complexes, I have never seen the Stanford or Berkeley Stadiums from the air.
Miami/ Fort Lauderdale
You can view many nice high school stadiums… but not turf, and not as large as the Texas counterparts. Many, MANY golf courses, and baseball fields dot the approach into either of these airports. This shows you where this geographical area’s true priorities lie.
This takes us to my most recent destination… just this week.
On the landing approach… water… not a single football stadium… just sayin’. Guess where my priorities will lie this week?
Although, they do have a local high school football team… the area is more known for baseball than football.
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org