This past Saturday marked the first live event ever to have taken place at the newly completed Snapdragon Stadium. SDSU’s second major sports & entertainment facility is officially an on campus stadium, however the surrounding expansion research campus may take some time to fill in. Until then, Sons of Montezuma took the opportunity to document the new stadium grounds with our first tailgate and the insides of the general admission and field club levels.
Finishing on time and under budget were not the first two conclusions some San Diego residents believed would be the fate of the SDSU West plan. A city full of pro sports agony in terms of ownership relations with our political system, had taken it’s toll on the psyche of America’s finest city.
After seeing for ourselves the fullness of the Friends of SDSU’s vision come to life in this opening scrimmage, we are sure glad not everyone fed into this woe is me mentality. And certainly YOU, the fan, the San Diego City voter did not as well.
So what are the coolest features of this new Snapdragon Stadium?
Inside, some features that you must experience are The Piers.
Taking the stairs up on the south endzone you can get an unbelievable view hanging over the field just enough where you feel you are out in OB looking over Sunset Cliffs. Some are even beginning to rename the Piers to the “Diving Board” given the slight bounce that you feel when someone jumps up & down on the structure. Maybe not the best feeling for everyone but it is slight and adds to the excitement of the experience.
Next up would be the Field Club Team Entrance. Now this was by far the coolest feature. The field club is exactly what it says—Field Club ticket access. So this is a premium experience. We were fortunate to have this access for the first scrimmage game and it is worth the price of admission.
Watching the team uncaged from their players locker room to walk out in the middle of the club lounge and onto the 50 yard line of Bashor Field is incredibly exciting stuff. The sights and sounds of the energy builds up between you and the players ready to run out. We can’t imagine that first night game when certainly lights and effects will come in to add to the experience. A great idea would be to have camera’s inside for this moment to share on the big screens for all the fans to watch from their seats. But if that doesn’t happen, the field club level is the place to be and buy into.
Take a brief look at some of the general highlights of our Snapdragon Stadium visit all though the lends of riding a mobility scooter. It was a great way to get around the stadium quickly and all the staff was very nice and courteous.
For over 50 years SDSU had been a tenant of the City of San Diego owned San Diego Stadium (Jack Murphy, Qualcomm, SDCCU). For the beginning of that half century time period San Diego County witnessed all the highs and lows of an Aztecs football program could have.
Aztecs fans during all this time, had witnessed the high flying offenses led by Don Air Coryell with a bevy of future NFL Hall of Fame coaches & players, to the majestic Marshall Faulk taking the college football world by storm, and lastly the unprecedented Rocky Long regime led by some incredible defenses and Donnel Pumphrey shredding the NCAA record books.
One man was able to see up to 788 of these games through SDSU history, some even predating the old San Diego Stadium, back to Aztec Bowl and Balboa Stadium. That man was the late great Tom Ables.
The Sons of Montezuma are honored to have on board one of Tom’s sons, Ken Ables as one of our article contributors to our SoM team. Ken who was often by his father’s side, was there for so many games with the family and can clearly recount his earliest games of the Aztecs back in the silver helmet & pants days.
Last season we sat down with Ken to record our SDSU Football history podcast episode. The Able’s family tradition of SDSU football has been collected and published in the form of the ‘GO AZTECS’ book now available on Amazon and other retailers.
Ken was able to share a few words on what this new stadium means to him now that the memories live on with him and his family. NBC 7 San Diego’s Joe Little caught up with Ken just before the scrimmage day.
Walking around Snapdragon for the scrimmage, you definitely could get a sense of the family atmosphere all around. Friendly faces smiling and taking it all in. For the Ables family their father Tom’s old seats still remain on the concourses as a reminder and celebration of what and who was once here before us—cheering on our Aztecs.
There’s a San Diego State football legacy there for all to see and embrace. And perhaps for some other young boy or girl, the beginnings of their own family’s Aztec football legacy.