by David Kish
A funny thing happened on the way to the colosseum ... it blew up.
Texas Stadium was imploded on Sunday. Going the way of so many other American structures deemed useless—casinos, department stores, housing projects and even the Yankees' old haunt—the former home of the Dallas Cowboys ("God's favorite team") is now rubble. An 11-year-old got the thrill of pushing the detonation button by winning an essay contest. I wondered what his prize essay was titled: "Why I Should get to Blow Up Some History, Too." Or maybe, "I was Born to Push Buttons."
Naturally, the truth is way zanier. Turns out the essay contest was sponsored by Kraft, and was part of their "Cheddar Explosion" campaign, whereby the Velveeta-making leviathan (according to its Web site) asked "dynamite" kids to recount something "explosive" they did in their community. Good thing they didn't hold this contest in Nogales! I imagine that after yesterday's destructive festivities, it rained macaroni and cheese over the greater Dallas area, and Texans inverted their umbrellas to catch the windfall.
Although the former stadium was pushing 40, it was still in use, playing host to
a wide range of Texas cultural events like pro-wrestling melees, monster truck romps, Christian revivals, and Garth Brooks. But, in the mysterious wisdom which defines local governments, the town of Irving decided that that exact spot where the stadium stood was needed as a staging area for future highway construction. No, not the parking lots around it, but THAT exact spot where the pesky stadium stood. So, they blew it up, which, by the way, cost about $6 million. Now that's a big bang for big bucks!
All of this caused me to think about those practical Europeans. They actually retrofit and reuse their aging structures, and I don't mean only buildings a few decades old. I recall visiting a 12th-century Templar castle in the south of France which was put to fresh use as a venue for outdoor, classical concerts. How boring to my American sensibilities! It's like comparing French cinema to Hollywood blockbusters; we demand explosions!
Back at the giant dust pile in Texas, 20,000 people held hands and cried, remembering their special team and that time when "Mean" Joe Greene threw his jersey at that kid who sacrificed his soda in that Coke commercial. Our thrilled, little button-pusher exclaimed, "Awesome!"
But perhaps the oddest quote of the emotional day came from the widow of iconic Cowboy coach Tom Landry. She said, "Texas Stadium will never become tarnished, neglected or dishonored, but always remembered, revered and respected."
Hmm? Maybe I should start blowing up the things I love...