Look up the definition of the word “home” and you will find a few definitions, most saying that it is a place where one permanently lives. We as a people put so much more emotion and meaning to that word. We say a home is where we grew up, learned from our mistakes, and most importantly where memories are made. This definition makes a home anywhere we ever felt safe or happy to be. If you look up articles about the HEB Stadium it is definitely a word that is tossed around often. Yes it is due in part because it’s where the USL’s (United Soccer League) Rio Grande Valley FC Toros call home; but it is most certainly more than that.
Yes a soccer team calls it home; because of course it’s their main base of operations, but more importantly Rio Grande Valley FC Toros fans call the place home. In just a short year since being open and the team having played there fans have flocked and sold out the stadium multiple times. You see a sports team unifies a community it creates something for all its citizens to rally behind during its highs and lows. When you grow up in a community that has its own sports teams it becomes a part of your daily life. It’s what you talk about during recess, around the water cooler at work, or heck even in those awkward conversations when you don’t know what to say.
Still, how do you get a community to rally behind a team and begin to feel like they should call it their team? Preferably you would want said team to be a winning one but that may be easier said than done. The second and probably simpler way is make a stadium that people will flock to and want to spend one of their precious days off at. Make a stadium that accommodates loads of people yet leaves a few out, making the want of those on the outside grow. Most people would think that the way a field is designed is the most important part of how a stadium is constructed; this thinking is misguided. Yes you do build a stadium to house a team so they may play their games there, but you really you build a stadium for its spectators to enjoy the games and be comfortable. Hence why the Colosseum was circular so as to allow equal viewing from all angles or why amphitheaters are half circles so that way it’s performers never have their backs to a crowd. The HEB Stadium is no exception.
The Stadium is designed to seat approximately 9,700 fans with the ability to expand seating to more about 16,000. With its two long rows of seating running parallel to the field, it ensures that every seat can be witness to some part of the action. Their could be the unintentional effect of making a home team side where all its fans sit and the opposing side where the opponent fans sit, thus creating a call and response across the field. The stadium also has a giant screen at one end that plays a lot of the action that is happening on the field just in case a viewer can’t for whatever reason see the field. The exposed steel that the stadium is comprised of provides a modern aesthetic for the stadium; as well as allowing for gusts of wind to cool the fans down on those particularly hot days. The roof steel structure cantilevers partly over the seating to also help shade the crowd. Why are these necessary engineering designs to point out? They show that the person who designed the stadium showed a caring for the fans that would be filling these seats and would want to enjoy the game as well as the events that the stadium would bring in.
HEB Stadium may not be a “home” in the traditional definition of the word but it does hit many of the key words the definition says. Yes it is a permanent location the Toros call home but to their fans it will be where memories are formed. Like running between halves to get a hot dog or where they proposed to their long time sweetheart. Stadiums like these will always be around and will always hold a special place in our hearts.