Scheduling a stadium shoot around a game day is always a risky business. Along with increased security and access issues, there’s the pop up concessions, the crowd control barriers and the endless potential for an entire mini city of inflatable bounce castles to mysteriously appear right in front of the hero shot.
And let’s not talk about the weather.
On a good day at the University of Houston, the new TDECU Stadium designed by Page Southerland Page accommodates an enthusiastic army of 40,000 ardent Cougars fans. They stream into the stands from every direction, turning the bowl into a throbbing red mass. Go Cooogs Go! Hail Houston!
According to the UH Athletics website, Hail Houston! is just a fun cheer that was popularized by the student section in the 1970’s. Hail Houston! Hail YES! Hail Cougars! HELL YES! Hail (opponent). HELL NO! (This is repeated ad nauseum).
Tradition aside, it seemed the popular sentiment on this weekend was more along the lines of Hail Cougars? Hell No! The decidedly ominous forecast (and perhaps the less-than-stellar performance of the team this season) caused many of the faithful to stay at home. Hardly a surprise though as the National Weather Service had upgraded the warning to include the possibility of tornados.
In a effort to avoid the worst of the storm, the start time for the game was brought forward a few hours, catching many would be spectators unawares.
Regardless of the tornado threat, the die hard fans tricked into the stands as the band pumped out an uplifting set.
Despite flash flooding and a hundred or so lightning strikes reported across Houston and much to the relief of the wary crowd, barely a drop of rain fell during the entire game.
Even as the skies darkened late in the second half, the crowd’s mood seemed to lighten. Raining only touchdowns, Houston 38 stormed to a hard won victory over Tulsa 28.
Hail Cougars indeed!