ARLINGTON, Texas – You've no doubt seen the pictures on Twitter. Those shots purported to be views from the "worst seats in the house" at AT&T Stadium, where the announced attendance of 79,444 Saturday was a Final Four record.
Well, after an epic climb to the highest, farthest reaches of the stadium affectionately referred to as "Jerry World" or the "Death Star," the truth is … those seats high in the rafters aren't that bad.
In the interest of authenticity, the decision was made to trek to the top of the stadium via the old-fashion, winding cement walkways. There would be no escalators or elevators on this journey, which took place during seventh-seeded UConn's 63-53 victory over top-seeded Florida. Besides, if things got really hairy and sustenance became an issue, drinks and food were readily available about every six feet, with enough available funds (Thanks, Jerry Jones!).
After what seemed like forever but was probably more like seven minutes – it was tough to tell with the thinning air – the destination was reached: Section 452, Row 22 – pretty much the highest corner in the northeast side of the stadium. Made it, Ma, top of the world!
"I thought [the view] was going to be really, really bad," said Sly Johnson, 50, of Louisville, Ky. "I know it's high, but it's really not that bad. Pretty good actually.
"I thought it was definitely going to be a lot harder to see, but it's really not. I can actually see and can tell who's who. I thought it was going to be where I couldn’t even see."
Johnson said he got his four tickets from his brother, who was fortunate enough to get them via the NCAA application process. The tickets from the NCAA are $190 each and are "all-session," which means Monday's national title game is included. And that's a good thing because this isn't Johnson's first Final Four rodeo.
"I went to the one back in '82 in New Orleans when Michael Jordan hit that [game-winning] shot against Georgetown [in the national title game]," said Johnson, who is a Louisville fan but was pulling for rival Kentucky in this go-round. "Louisville was in the Final Four that year [losing to Georgetown]."
Andrew McAllister, 36, bought his tickets through StubHub a couple of days ago, paying $200 each for tickets to just Saturday's games. And again, he was a perfectly satisfied customer.
"I'd never even been to an NCAA game, so I had to jump on tickets," said McAllister, who didn't have any particular rooting interest. "I didn’t know what to expect. I've seen a bowl game and some college football here and an exhibition NFL game, and I've sat a lot closer, so I didn’t know what it was going to be like with a smaller court being up this high, but I'm fine with it."
So there you have it. Yes, it's high. Yes, it's kind of a haul. And maybe, if someone is afraid of heights, he or she might experience sweaty palms and some shaky legs walking up those final steps to the top of AT&T Stadium. But for watching a basketball game, it ain't bad.
"I thought it was definitely going to be higher, but this is a nice little stadium," Johnson said.
Now there is a first. Someone calling Jerry World "little."
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