I am something of a preservationist. For example, I don’t like it when some major player wants to destroy a Civil War battlefield to put up a theme park or housing development.
My preservation instincts carry over to sports stadiums. So it was with sadness that today the Roanoke Times reminded me of the demolition of Victory Stadium in 2006. The tearing down of this stadium was one of the pivotal events in Roanoke in the opening decade of the 21st century. Thus, the Times made note of it.
Like a lot of old structures it apparently became a political football (pun intended) over the years. A government favorable to the stadium’s destruction was elected in 2006 and the destructionists finally won out.
The reason I lament Victory Stadium’s demise is because I have a lot of memories associated with it. During my one year of organized football in the sixth grade I played on its turf. I may have been the worst player on the worst team in our league, but it was still a memorable experience.
I also recall watching other games there. One of them was a match between Virginia Military Institute and Georgia Tech. As a young boy it was really something to be sitting among a bunch of manly, uniformed VMI Keydets.
Victory Stadium also hosted visiting celebrities. I was there when Barry Sadler, a heroic Vietnam War vet and performer of The Ballad of the Green Berets came to town. I took a picture of him coming into the stadium in an open convertible. Unfortunately, the picture has been lost over
It would be different if the stadium had been replaced with a renovated field, or perhaps something else meaningful. But one source tells me that that the site now hosts public athletic fields. While I suppose this alternative is nice for some people who use it, it seems to me a use more beneficial to the entire Roanoke area could have been thought of.
But that’s government at work, folks. We get what we deserve when we vote in certain yahoos.