Thursday, June 06, 2013

My MLU Fan Experience (San Francisco, CA)

As advertised, the game between Portland Stags and San Francisco Dogfish started promptly at 3pm. This meant the pull was in the air at 3:01pm, and the players introductions & national anthem were already complete on a bright sunny day with a present wind.

Arriving at Kezar Stadium meant going past the Haight-Ashbury district, not spending too much time/money at Amoeba Music, and not being drawn into the expansive Golden Gate Park. I bought a ticket, received a stamp of the Dogfish logo on my hand, and was handed a nicely printed program.
Kezar Stadium's grass field adjacent to Golden Gate Park (San Fran, CA)
Fans were positioned on the north-side while the players & staff were on the opposite side. This provided open sight lines for both those in attendance (over 400) and the gameday host Daniel Chazin. Chazin did an excellent job of the public address and announcing the game. Chazin was definitely a valuable addition to this Ultimate game informing the crowd of the on-field action and also between points banter/promotions. I especially enjoyed his use of "ladies and gentlemen" to punctuate his sentences.

It never felt like there was any "downtime" as the deft DJ dropped solid beats. Plus, there was a dance-off, a few T-shirt giveaways, a Frisbee toss contest, and an attempt at the wave. For SF pulls, the crowd yelled "Gooooooooo...", ending with "Fish!" when the disc finally dropped.

There was also "High-5 Guy" who was excitedly celebrating with anyone with a raised hand when the Dogfish scored. H5G even ran around the stadium wearing his Big Hand after an exciting point. This apparently looked like so much fun that a 8-year-old took a turn with the Big Hand and did a lap, too. After which, the Big Hand was assigned back solely to H5G.

Dougie, the Dogfish mascot, was everywhere - near the field, in the crowd, launching shirts, doing cartwheels, signing autographs. And, of course, brushing his gills back doing the Dougie! If there was any doubt of Dougie's importance, the shark is sporting a personalized Electro Jersey (#99).

Fans had solid consumption options with a beer garden and a concession food truck (Doc's on the Bay) which offered a tasty California menu of burgers (meat or black bean), fried chicken sandie, and sides of french fries or green beans (or both). The merch table was full of sundries; some of which are not posted in the MLU online Store, like a comfy hoodie and a classy collared shirt.

After the game, the Stags huddled together for about a very long 10 minutes. The Dogfish players happily greeted the home crowd. With Sharpies in hand, they jumped into the stands signing autographs for anyone who requested one.

Overall, it was a fun fan experience provided by the San Francisco Dogfish with entertainment beyond the field of play. The good times spilled over to the Kezar Pub which was directly across the street from the stadium.

The game itself was a blowout. Dogfish dominated with a 3-0 lead and won by 18 points. The game was over in under 2 hours.

Read more about the game on Portland's website & on San Francisco's site.

To the Stags' credit, they had this highlight to their name:

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