We put our post-World Cup money where our mouths were and drove out to Cary on Saturday night to see the 2nd place NC Courage take on the table-leading Reign FC. Both teams sent a bunch of players to the World Cup (including, of course, America’s Darling Megan Rapinoe for the Reign, and five from the Courage’s roster) and none of them were back with their NSWL teams yet, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time or good soccer being played. And at the end of the night, the 2nd place Courage were top of the table after a 2-0 victory.
WakeMed Soccer Park is pretty little 10,000 seat park tucked off a side road in Cary; parking is plentiful, entry was easy, and the food and beer were both excellent tasting (and looking; I craved a bunch of stuff I saw eaten around me, especially the pizzas) and reasonably priced. A fair number of NC beers on tap and in cans, too, which I always dig. The stadium wasn’t full – wasn’t even half full – which could partially be attributed to the heat (ugh, July in the NC is so gross) but was disappointing to me anyway. I hoped to see this, the first home game after the World Cup was done, to be packed – or at least more than a quarter full.
Tickets were reasonably priced and apparently the season packages – I chatted up the guy sitting behind us with his kids and his newly American-citizenized buddy about it – are really reasonable.
No photos save the one above, taken on my phone, because cameras with detachable lenses aren’t allowed. Which leads me to a genuine, serious question about this: what harm does my camera do to a team that’s trying very hard to grow its fanbase? It’s not a security threat. I’m not going to sell my photos. I’m going to take some of my own photos, I’m going to share them on Instagram and the blog, I’m going to talk about how much fun we had. People are going to see that. It’s free advertising. Why can’t I bring my big camera?
I’ve never gotten a good answer to this question, and I’ve pressed places hard about it. The most common answer seems to be, “Uhhhhh.” Fine, in big arenas like NFL and NBA stadiums, maybe you can sort of pass it off as a security issue. But I can still carry my camera into almost every MLB stadium no problem, so why can’t I take it to a NSWL game in Cary, North Carolina? Why can’t I take it to a WNBA game in a college arena in Seattle?
Because all I want to do is, as a photographer, take my own photos and share my own stories about this team, this league, these women. I want to help you. I want to give you free publicity! Please just let me!
Adventure reviewed: A+, will soccer again, don’t bring your cameras.