By Ben de Buen.
We arrived a bit close to kick off to find unusually long ticket lines at Hunter Stadium. We knew that we wouldn’t be making the first minutes of the match but with the slow pace of the line, we would be lucky to make it before halftime.
I’d never been to Hunter Stadium, but the promise of greener grass on the other side of the wall, made us want to sit out the line. A smell of sewage, increasing in intensity, did not deter us.
“Maybe it’s me,” said the lady in front of us, checking her shoes.
In the following minutes, the line continued as stagnant as the source of the stink. The lady and her companion decided to leave.
“Maybe it was her,” I said to my crew looking for a laugh.
A stadium attendant pointed us towards a different ticket booth where lines were moving faster. We followed his instructions and though the attendant’s advice was accurate, our line still crossed a kid’s face-painting stand that would have been placed “out of the way,” a safe distance from the ticket window. Perhaps more people turned up than expected. Once again a good sign for the A-League.
We made it to the match in time to see all the goals but far more remarkable was the grassy slope that is available for general admission ticket-holders.
I thought seats were a must in stadiums these days, perhaps the relaxed lifestyle of this coastal ccity has touched even the way people attend the football.
With plenty of grassy space to sprawl out, the general discomfort that can stem from the uneventful nature of some football matches can be easily forgotten.
Behind the goals at Hunter Stadium are what you might call green paddocks for fans to witness the football. Sitting so comfortably on the Hill, the sun sinking, the lengthy lulls endemic to the game passed unnoticed.