War Pigs: Five Reasons Why HISTORIC NIPPERT STADIUM™ Actually Sucks
Well, it’s finally here.
The final day home match of 2020 for The FC, and there won’t be fans at HISTORIC NIPPERT STADIUM™ to say goodbye. While this is probably good from a public health point of view (nothing screams “maintain good respiratory health during a pandemic” like inhaling gallons of whatever the fuck they put in those orange & blue smoke canisters), the lack of opportunity to give HISTORIC NIPPERT STADIUM™ a proper farewell is weighing on me a bit, as I’m sure it is with the rest of the fanbase.
So, to make you feel better about that fact, I’m going to give you the Top 5 reasons why HISTORIC NIPEPRT STADIUM™ sucks. Be warned, this is going to probably make you mad. You owe it yourself to discontinue reading if you’re still, somehow, one of those people who think FCC should have just stayed in Clifton:
1. Bleacher Seating is for Peasants – There are exactly two times in your life where it’s appropriate to utilize bleachers: at a middle school / high school athletic event and to stand awkwardly in the background at a political event behind the speaker. In all other situations, bleachers are the absolute worst. The name itself is even garbage, arguably worse now that it could be used as a nickname for people who tried the President’s suggested COVID-19 home remedy.
Sitting on a bleacher wrecks your back and the lack of a defined space for seating puts you at the mercy of whatever whale of a human decides to buy the area right next to you at a game (true story: I went to a UC / WVU game at Nippert where my “seat” had been enveloped by one of West Virginia’s finest, who showed up to the game while protesting the concept of deodorant and wearing size 7XL overalls with no shirt underneath). And in the supporters section? You’re left with the uncomfortable choice of standing on the concrete and getting the back of your cranium massaged by the yam bag of the person standing directly behind you on their bleacher, or standing on your bleacher and falling into the people front of you when the fucking thing inevitably breaks under the strain of an entire row jumping up and down.
Simply put, bleacher seats are the absolute worst. If I’m spending more than $8 for a ticket to something, I need an actual fucking seat to myself or a standing area on firm footing.
2. The Food / Drink Options Are a Disaster – I’m a simple person when it comes to eating and drinking at a sporting event. Most of the time, the only thing I need to make a game enjoyable is a plentiful supply of cold beer. And, while I’ll be a beer snob the other 99.9% of my life, when I’m at a game the only thing I’m interested in crushing are domestics (Bud Heavys or Coors Banquet) or fauxmestics (Corona, Dos Equis, or any of the other 20 identical Mexican lagers that are brewed in the exact same building somewhere in Texas). Have a bunch of them and have them easily accessible and I’ll be happy. For food, a decent bratwurst or good nachos goes a long way -- especially when you’ve got 20-30 minutes to kill after the march and before kick.
To their credit, the people at Nippert are desperately trying. Every year, they’ve increased the number of random guys with tubs of ice and beer standing around. They still can’t figure out how to stock them properly, which is why you seemingly always end up standing in line for the guy who has a bin full of lukewarm water and Michelob Ultra, but at least they’re making an effort to have beer buying be a fast experience. You’re limited to cash transactions only, though – which is a miserable experience because it requires you to plan ahead (good luck on that after a decent pregame) AND also fills you with guilt when you spend your last $20 at halftime and realize that you had withdrawn $200 priorto the game. But that’s beer. On food? Holy fucking hell. Hope you like chicken tenders and fries every match, because everything else is barely edible. And those are only available from one spot in the entire stadium. Every other concession stand is a den of sadness, featuring mostly overcooked tube meat and hamburgers that have the same consistency as the week-old sausage patties at a shitty hotel continental breakfast.
Bottom line here: if the West End Stadium hires the executive chef from a Speedway, it will still somehow be an improvement over where the food quality is at Nippert.
3. The Pregame Options are *Kinda* Lame – I’m aware this is going to be controversial. But look, Clifton is a college town. It’s admittedly way cooler than it was when I was looking at schools (where Short Vine resembled a demilitarized zone and the safest dining option on McMillian was the old Burger King drive thru), but it’s still a place that caters to college students. This is incredible if you’re a college student (college towns are awesome when you need to make $24 last all night; I still have fond memories of $1 Red Dogs when visiting friends at Bowling Green), but at some point in your life you just want more than what there is to offer at every one of the fucking cesspools that The Pride has somehow managed to call home over the past 5 years (seriously – did no one who built Ladder 19 realize how fucking dumb it would be to have a bar with 1,000 person capacity and only 2 god damn toilets. TWO!). Even when you get beyond setting and drink selection, the other problem with pregaming in a college town is that you get college town bartenders – who are GROSSLY fucking indifferent to anyone over the age of 19 that isn’t rocking an exposed midriff and who really only know how to make two drinks: a shot of fireballand a jaeger bomb.
Now, I know what a large number of you are saying right now. “Hey, but what about Mecks?! Mecks is AWESOME!” Well allow me to respond with a question of my own: “Is it?” Look, you’ll get no argument from me that Meck’s is unquestionably the best of whats around in Clifton when it comes to FCC pregame spots. And, you’ll also get no argument that they’ve been a great home for DI. But, let’s be honest – prior to 2016, there wasn’t a soul in Cincinnati who ever started a conversation with “Hey, we should go to Mecklenburg Gardens tonight…” And, if you did end up there, you were more likely most nights to be serenaded by sirens from the hospitals than you were German music. As for the food, all you need to know is that there’s a reason why the Greeks historically ran the restaurant industry in this allegedly ultra-German city. Bottom line --if you strip away the nostalgia factor, everything you like/love about Meck’s will be done better by places you can go to in OTR at the new stadium.
4. The Bathrooms – I don’t think much needs to be said about this. Lining up to use a Port-a-John is something you tolerate at amusic festival, not a fucking stadium.
5. The Music & PA People Have Been Awful – This is unquestionably the worst thing about Nippert stadium. I know people want to bitch about irrationally small pedestrian bridges or whatever, but the worst part of any game at Nippert is the shitty audio that fills theair whenever the game isn’t being played. You can start with whoever is running the music, who has somehow managed to make a playlist consisting of only Buttrock and EDM – which would be great for your 45 year old cousin from Delhi’s 3rd wedding reception, but is fucking awful for a pro sporting event. I’m assuming this person just lives at Nippert stadium in a WEBN lawn chair, because it would also explain how the #HottestCollegeInAmerica (remember when Santa Ono thought he was being relatable by saying the word “hashtag” out loud) used the new, relevant, and not at all problematic Ted Nugent as the theme for their football team during the majority of the 00s and 10s. And if the music is bad, the PA announcers have somehow been worse .Remember Jon “HELLO BAILEY” Horton? The cornball fucker who managed to make the starting lineups offensive by insisting on doing accents based on where the player he was announcing was from? The asshole who started a go-fund-me for his own vacation? Yeah, you’ve probably blocked this out from your happy memories of HISTORIC NIPPERT STADIUM, haven’t you? Well, it was shitty, and another reason why the place sucked.
Now, to conclude: it has been an amazing run for The FC at Nippert, and I’m honestly bummed that circumstances (read: we’re living in the sequel to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and the cartoons that have come to life are running the country) are preventing us from being there tonight. I wish we could give Nippert the send-off it deserves for being the home of FCC during these incredible years.
But, if you’re feeling sad, just remind yourself: It’s going to be so much better when we get to the West End.
Assuming humanity survives the next 4-6 months.