Friday, November 27, 2020

‘It feels good to be back’ — BYU fans return to LaVell Edwards Stadium

BYU Football played its first home game of the season with fans in attendance against Texas State on Oct. 24, with 6,000 people in the crowd due to COVID-19 guidelines.

“It feels good to be back in LaVell Edwards Stadium finally,” John Hunt said on Twitter.

BYU originally intended to allow 6,000 fans at the home opener against Troy on Sept. 26, but were forced to go without a crowd due to the pandemic risk level in Provo.

It wasn’t until the fourth home game almost a month later that fans were allowed at long last.

“It’s been so long since we have been,” Twitter user @mermakeupRae said. “The disappointment that we keep being met with by the fans not being able to go has made it hard.”

A limited number of fans find their socially-distanced seats at LaVell Edwards Stadium at the Texas State game on Oct. 24. 6,000 fans were allowed at the stadium for the first time this season. (Preston Crawley)

Though football was obviously the main attraction, fans expressed excitement over many aspects of the game-day experience, including the food and atmosphere.

“We’re excited for the Cougartails, bright lights and finally being home with our Cougar family in LaVell’s House,” Derek Chandler said on Twitter. “It’s a special spirit and feeling in there.”

BYU encouraged fans to adhere to three main guidelines in order to maintain safety and health in the stadium: wear a mask, social distance and stay in their assigned seat.

The team released a series of videos featuring players reiterating these three main guidelines ahead of the game.

Concessions were limited during the game, and vendors were not allowed to accept cash. The water fountains were taped off, but each fan received a complimentary water bottle when they entered the stadium.

The marching band and cheerleaders returned to the stadium along with fans, helping to create the classic game-day atmosphere with songs and loud cheers before and after big plays.

The Cougarettes dance team performed live for the first time this season during a timeout in the first half, but Cosmo, the mascot, was not a part of the routine.

The Cougarettes perform during the first half of the Texas State game on Oct. 24. It was the first live performance for the dancers at a home game this season. (Preston Crawley)

Singer Alex Boyé joined the BYU marching band in a performance of “My Shot” from the Broadway musical “Hamilton” during halftime.

Activities and games such as the t-shirt toss returned to keep fans entertained during the time off between drives and quarters.

In a year and semester full of new and different experiences, a sense of normalcy and comfort returned to LaVell Edwards Stadium with the return of fans and the college football atmosphere in Provo.

The 6,000 fans allowed were just a tenth of what LaVell Edwards can hold, but the anxious crowd and marching band were able to fill the air with sound and cheering.

One fan on Cougarboard even said that he preferred the spaced-out seating with fewer fans in the stadium.

“Man, I could get used to this,” Cougarboard user kccougar said. “I brought the big stadium chairs with my feet up on the bench in front of me. This may be the most comfortable game experience ever.”

BYU has three remaining home games against Western Kentucky, North Alabama and San Diego State. The team has mentioned hopes to be able to allow an increased number of fans at future games.

Fans cheer on the Cougars with masks on at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Fans were required to wear masks and social distance to limit COVID-19 transmission. (Preston Crawley)
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