Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Behind the Scenes

Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to do something that many students never get to experience in college unless they are athletes. I got to go with PASE behind the scenes of the athletic facilities.

Purdue Alumni Student Experience, better known as PASE, is one of the largest groups here on campus. It is sponsored by the Purdue Alumni Association. PASE's connections with the alumni are what allow them to get tours such as this one.

We started out our tour with the premium seating in the press box at Ross Ade. The elevator took us up to the Shively Club on the third floor. Members of the Shively Club can watch the game from inside the building or from their premium seating outdoors. This floor has two concession stands on game days, an upscale one along with a normal one. The Annual Payments for these seats are $2,208/seat for a three year license and $1,932/seat for a five year license.

Next our tour took us to the box seats on the fourth and fifth floors. Not only did we go into a regular box, but we also got to visit the President's suite. Each box comes with 18 tickets (36 for the President's suite). They have two rows of theater-type seats with some additional seating behind that. The widows open, so you can enjoy the atmosphere of the game from the comfort of your suite. For these seats, you preorder your food and drinks, and they will be stocked in your fridge and waiting for you when you get there. This luxury does come at a price though. Annual Payments here for a five year license is $49,913 and $44,660 for seven years. These prices can vary though with the location of the suite.

The last of the premium seating is in the Buchanan Club located on the fifth floor. Three rows of seats face the game with a lounge area behind them. The windows in this area do not open, but you also have the option of watching the game on one of the 26 televisions in the club. Why you would go to a game and watch it on TV, I don't know, but that is an option. Membership in the Buchanan Club includes complimentary food and drink with access to a cash bar. These seats have an Annual Payment of $4,786/seat for three years and $4,223/seat for five years.

Above the premium seating on the sixth floor is the Shively Media Center. This is where the press will come in to do their reports on the game. We did not get to go in any of the suites for the press. We did go into the main press room though. This room has four rows of tables with a computer hookup at each seat. This way the reporters can plug in their computers and get to work. The thing that stood out to me the most on this floor was the amount of wires. It made sense when I saw them, but it was just something that I had never thought of before.

There was one more stop on our tour at Ross Ade, the camera platform. The taping of all the games and practices happens from here. While there wasn't much to see besides the camera platforms out there, the views over campus were amazing. We could see for miles since we were above all the buildings. I was sad to see our tour of Ross Ade come to an end, but I knew that there were more athletic facilities to come.

After leaving Ross Ade, we headed over to Mackey. We would meet a new tour guide here to take us through Mollenkopf and the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility (IAF). When we got there, we had a surprise in store for us. Due to renovations, we were originally told that we would not be able to tour Mackey, but since they were behind schedule, the tour was back on. We were so excited to hear this; at least I knew I was.

There was not as much to see in Mackey, but that did not make it any less exciting. In fact, it might have been my favorite place on our tour. Our tour guide took us downstairs to the hallway where the locker rooms were. He talked like we couldn't go in, but then he had one of the workers to check to see how clean it was in there. He then said it was fine for us to go in and take a look around. I was so excited!

Inside the locker room, they have a room with couches, drinks, and a TV for the players to hang out. I'm sure that this is where they have their meetings during halftime at the games. They also have game systems, so they can play video games when they have nothing better to do. Off of this room is where the lockers are. Each player has their own area with their name above the locker. While we were in there, Lewis Jackson came in. He is a lot bigger in real life than he seems during the games.

After the locker room, we headed down the tunnel and onto the court. E'twaun Moore and Keaton Grant were have a closed practice, and we got to watch them for a little while. I'm pretty sure that one of the guys and I could have stayed there and watched them practice for the rest of the day. We were mesmerized. However, we had to leave to finish out our tour.

We then headed to Mollenkopf. This is where the big workout area is. It is also the home to many of our football trophies including those from our bowl games and the Old Oaken Bucket. The best part here is that we were given the opportunity to run down the indoor practice field for the football team. Only four people out of our group took them up on this opportunity. Of course I did. This was a once in a lifetime experience, and I wasn't going to miss it.

Our tour for the day ended with the IAF. Here we saw the football locker room, but we didn't get to go in this one. We did get to look in the window, and it looked pretty nice in there. We also got to watch a little bit of volleyball practice, and I have to say that those girls are pretty good.

This was a great opportunity that PASE gave us, and I'm glad that I decided to go. I'm sure that some of the other members are regretting their decision to stay home. It was a lot of fun, and I hope that we will be able to do it again in the future. Just another reason for me to say that I love being a Boilermaker!