Last week, pictures of what is left of the Silverdome went viral. Images of the tattered roof hanging pathetically over the balcony certainly strike up emotion in me. That place was my home every other autumn Sunday during my adolescence. However, I don't want to mourn the loss of the building. While it's tragic in its own little way, I don't want to feed the "Detroit is falling apart" narrative, even though we all know the Silverdome is nearly 30 miles away from Downtown Detroit.
Instead, let's focus on the positive. The Silverdome will likely always be my favorite sports venue. It wasn't the nicest, it wasn't built very intuitively and it wasn't aesthetically pleasing in any real way. But that's how I want home to feel: familiar, modest, broken in and even a little flawed.
I plunged into the depths of my memory to find my favorite moment of the near 100 games that I witnessed under that dome, but I couldn't come up with one. To me, that place doesn't represent one moment, it represents a ritual. The Silverdome wasn't about the time Barry broke 2,000 yards, or their one playoff win in the Super Bowl era. It was about the parking lot that seemed miles long and took hours to escape. It was about the huge, concrete stairways that were perpetually moist with some unknown, yet very pungent, liquid. It was about the monster truck promos that filled the white noise during commercial breaks. It was about their unforgiving plastic seats whose sole purpose was to conduct static electricity and the large, circular metal fastens that would deliver that electricity into my unsuspecting thighs. It was about the turnstile entrances that caused me to share small, uncomfortable spaces with strange-smelling men, and the powerful winds caused by the doors that had my father nearly jumping on my back to prevent me from flying away.
It was all of these neat imperfections that made this dome so perfect. It so clearly encapsulated the team and their fans. That's why the Silverdome seems like the perfect home for the Lions, while Ford Field has never really felt home. Ford Field is polished, neat and pretty in every way that the Silverdome and the Detroit Lions are not. Ford Field is a great, modern stadium, and because of that, it will never be the Silverdome.
What does the Silverdome mean to you? What is your favorite memory from the stadium?