This past weekend, at the UM football game against Connecticut, a man fell over 30 feet down into a walkway, critically injuring himself and jeopardizing the safety of other fans at the game.
In preparation for this years FSU game, the biggest and busiest of the year, organizers at the Orange Bowl must closely examine all of the safety hazards to prevent any potential dangers.
Lets walk through some of the problems. First there are those CD packets that are given out before the game that turn into flying projectiles by halftime. Has anybody actually brought one home? They end up either in the trashcan or on the ground.
Once inside the stadium, one has to fight, push and claw his or her way through the crowd, only to arrive at a muddy seat. The mud, of course, comes from the feet of the person that was standing on the seat before you got there.
Last weekend, the staff of the orange bowl decided to try to put an end to students standing on the seats. Unfortunately, they weren’t successful. Then again, they hardly tried. They had one event staff representative threatening a whole section of drunken college kids to sit down and behave or else they would be asked to leave. Half of the student section was asked to leave but nobody really left.
Also, by the end of halftime, the Orange Bowl staff decided that the best way to clear the aisles of the people who were not able to find seats was to shove them into the overcrowded aisles.
The severe overcrowding is a result of the fact that many of the people sitting in the student section aren’t even students. Sure, there are some guests who have passes to sit with the students, but for the most part, the efforts of the Orange Bowl staff to check student ID’s when entering the student section is not enforced after the beginning of the game.
Now, the biggest problem and safety hazard at most of the games is the severe amount of alcohol consumption. There are a couple of sources to this problem.
First of all, although the legal drinking age is 21 and ID’s are said to be required, no one seems to enforce this national law. The beer vendors sell cold beer to anyone with $6 to spend, regardless of their age. The police and security just stand there and watch. This utter disregard for checking ID’s allows inexperienced, irresponsible, and immature individuals to drink and cause more safety concerns.
Some of these people find entertainment in throwing the bottles into the crowd to see whom they can hurt.
Finally, for those who survive the entire four quarters, the next adventure may be the most dangerous: the mass hysteria that is caused by students flocking like cattle towards the shuttles to return them to the metrorail. Students “line” up in clumps as speeding buses approach, desperately trying to keep their balance before being shoved in front of the speeding bus. Then once the bus stops, a sweaty mosh pit ensues, minus the music. People shove, claw, and punch their way to the shuttle in an effort to get to the Metro station a whole minute earlier then the next busload.
So now the issue is what can be done to fix these problems. For starters, half of all the altercations, safety hazards, and dangerous situations can be avoided if the liquor consumption is limited to those who are of legal age. Also, better-trained event staff would help alleviate the issues with crowd control and with fans roaming away from their appropriate sections.
Maybe now that there has been a serious accident, something will be done to remedy some of these safety hazards.