Monday, June 25, 2007

The Insanity That Is Project 119


Project 119 — the crazed attempt to visit all 119 Division I-A stadiums — has posted three new videos of the latest trip — "The Great Nor'Easter" — that covered nine stadiums. We've featured one of the videos above, the other two can be viewed at Project 119.

We were impressed with Project 119's visit to Army's Michie Stadium, where two cadets, including linebacker John Plumstead, greeted the team (that video is on Project 119's site). Seeing what quality kids they have at West Point, you can't help but pull for the Black Knights when they take the field.

Other postings from stadiums visited on the latest journey: Rutgers, Connecticut, Boston College, Syracuse and Buffalo. Three other reviews are in the works.

At last count, 43 stadiums have been visited, with rumors of a swing through Atlantic Coast Conference territory and perhaps, Southeastern Conference country coming this fall.

One of the low points of the trip continues to be the journey to Iowa's Kinnick Stadium. Project 119 ringleader Dave Farris wrote: "I wish that the University of Iowa didn't employ total jackasses to lord over Kinnick Stadium. Apparently, Iowa is convinced that they are too good to allow people to take pictures in their newly renovated stadium."

That brought a call earlier this month from Cedar Rapids Gazette columnist Mike Hlas, and we've included his column in the comments section below this post.

2 comments:

dawizofodds said...

June 3, 2007

Mike Hlas
Cedar Rapids Gazette

You're young, you're free, you want to do something totally memorable and a little wacky before you start 40 years of your working life.

You decide to see the football stadiums of all 119 NCAA Division I-A schools?

You do if you're Dave Farris, and not long from beginning graduate school at American University in Washington, D.C. So his "Project 119" (www.project119.blogspot.com) was born several months ago.

"I just love college football," Farris said Tuesday afternoon as he neared Syracuse's Carrier Dome after visiting the University of Buffalo's stadium that morning.

"I'm 23 years old and looking at my life. I feel like I want to look back and say I've accomplished something out of the norm, some American dream-type stuff that involves my love of the tradition and history of college football."

Farris got to Boston College later Tuesday to extend his total visited to 38. Today, he plans to see the stadiums at Connecticut, Army, Rutgers, Temple and Maryland. He closes this three-day swing by seeing Navy's stadium in Annapolis, Md., then will begin moving into his new digs in Washington. The pursuit resumes later this summer as he sees more Atlantic Coast Conference stadiums.

This spring, Farris and friends covered the entire Big Ten and most of the Mid-American Conference.

"The only lowlight," he said, "was Iowa."

From Farris' Web site: "I wish that the University of Iowa didn't employ total jackasses to lord over Kinnick Stadium. Apparently, Iowa is convinced that they are too good to allow people to take pictures in their newly renovated stadium....

"Here's the thing before you get all excited Hawkeye Nation. When we said, `Hey, we just want to take a few pictures,' this guy seriously started approaching us with menace in his eyes and mumbling, `There are thousands on HawkeyeSports.com, you have to leave.' Is there some big secret in your stadium, Iowa? Are you afraid that we're some kind of spies from Ames that are there to steal your secrets?"

Farris posts multiple photos of the stadiums on his site, but admits on his site that he posted just one of Kinnick because of bitterness.

A stadium guardian is a guardian, I guess. What may surprise you, however, is how easy it is to enter most other college stadiums.

"At Michigan State we had to jump a fence," Farris said, "but at the Big House at Michigan, the gate was wide open. At Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, we walked right through the gate and in."

When he has called ahead, he often found welcoming hosts.

"At Army, a cadet who is on the football team is going to meet up with us, show us the weight room, locker room, trophies, things like that. We got the same kind of treatment at the Metrodome in Minnesota."

After his Minnesota stop, Farris motored down I-35 and got to Ames that evening. You'd think you could easily find the college football stadium in a city Ames' size, but life on the road has its perils.

"Ames is a tricky town," Farris said. "They say there's an exit for the stadium at a certain point on the interstate, but you have to kind of find it yourself. We saw this field up on a hill where the lights were on and a game was going on. We drove round and round for 45 minutes trying to get to that stupid field, and we got there and saw it was the high school soccer field."

Farris finally found Jack Trice Stadium, and got some photos of it. They were taken in darkness, but they're on the site.

"A lot of people think I'm crazy or stupid," Farris said. "But a lot of people I meet at the stadiums are followers of college football, people who live and die with the game. They think what I'm doing is great.

"I've been to some beautiful stadiums like Beaver Stadium at Penn State and LaVell Edwards Stadium at BYU. But I liked the little stadiums at places like Buffalo and Ohio University, too. It's being able to soak in the tradition, stand there on the field imagining what it's like on gameday where people have left it all on the field."

His quest continues. Not even Iowa could stop it.

Mike.Hlas@gazettecommunications.com

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, never heard of that project until you wrote about it. That sounds fun, especially visiting the stadiums in places like Hawaii :). By the way, whenever you post a new article, go over to BeTheRef.com and post a link to your story, maybe get a little extra traffic for your blog. Take care and keep up the good work!