Kentucky fans can’t wait for football time in the bluegrass thanks to new coach Mark Stoops and offensive coordinator Neal Brown. Brown is bringing the very popular Air Raid offense back to Lexington points are expected in bunches. Most fans expect to hear that Mumme-Era Air Raid siren go off when the Wildcats score but that seems unlikely. While there is a decent chance that UK has kept the equipment, such a system is surely out of date. Also, several of the neighborhoods surrounding Commonwealth Stadium filed complaints about the siren and general gameday noise through the years. The university will likely want to avoid court. (Although it makes no sense to move into a house near a football stadium then complain that said stadium gets noisy, thus is the nature of college football stadiums.)
It may be an option to utilize a siren sound using Commonwealth’s new audio system, perhaps at a volume that will allow for celebration but stay closer to the stadium. Combining the siren with UK’s current use of fireworks (which the neighbors have also complained about) would be a nice touchdown celebration. Someone has even suggested using a differentiating siren sounds for the defense, an example being the siren from the Silent Hill video game/movie franchise. It sounds like a great idea as long as the 2 sirens are easy to tell apart.
Other suggestions include a cannon, though this idea has been done to death and has no cultural significance to Kentucky. A wildcat screeching to celebrate big plays would be a nice addition, although already in use at seemingly random intervals. Perhaps finding a way to play off of The Call to the Post could be implemented. Such as at the beginning of offensive drives or on 3rd downs defensively. We all love My Old Kentucky Home but it really belongs at the end of ballgames exclusively. It pumps no one up.
When it comes to creating an experience, the show is only half of the equation. The venue is equally important. Does Commonwealth Stadium need a new press box? Badly. Luxury suites? Yes. A proper Ring of Honor or equivalent celebration of former Wildcats? Sure. But from the fans perspective, Commonwealth really isn’t that bad. It has nice video boards and audio equipment. The restrooms, food, seats etc. are on par with other venues. The place just needs a little sprucing up is all.
There are certain aesthetic aspects of CWS that can’t be changed, such as the fact that it was built in the middle of a giant parking lot on the very edge of campus. Not exactly scenic. But with Bluegrass Community College leaving their building adjacent Green Lot, upgrades could be made. The BCTC campus could be converted to a grove sorts for UK fans to interact and mingle. Perhaps it could be the new home for the Ring of Honor. Once upon a time a fan talked to me about created a shrine out of limestone or coal with plaques honoring the Wildcat greats. I love the idea. The grounds around the stadium in general could use some better landscaping even. Of course the actual construction projects will depend on the state.
These are all just ideas to be thrown at the wall, as Kentucky seeks to improve the gameday experience for fans. Surely the new regime will decide what traditions to embrace and which to move on from. What would you like to see done? Feel free to leave comments, I’d love to hear ideas.