Being a part of history at Empire Field while helping spread it through social media

Empire Field: Still getting ready

The radio day job always gets me into places around Vancouver that I would probably not wander through if it weren’t for the opportunities that keep coming up, and Empire Field is no exception.

TEAM Radio is the official broadcaster of the BC Lions, so during our initial test setup for the first home game back in June, I brought my camera along to hopefully snap some photos of the field before the public got to wander in for a peek. What I didn’t anticipate was that while the first event to be held at this temporary stadium was just days away, workers were all over the place, still getting ready.

Empire Field: Still getting ready Empire Field: Still getting ready

While BC Place[wiki] gets a new roof downtown, Empire Field[wiki] has been built on the former site of Empire Stadium[wiki], which used to be the home of the BC Lions Canadian Football League team prior to moving into the dome in the early 80’s.

The crazy aspect to this stadium is that it’s completely temporary, but I find that hard to tell at times.

Aside from the field turf and the four sets of lights at each corner of the stadium, all of this will be gone by the summer of 2011. The BC Lions get one full season to call this place temporarily home, and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC will start their inaugural MLS season on the same field.

Empire Field: Still getting ready Empire Field: Still getting ready

Empire Field: Still getting ready

In all actuality, I’m not an overly huge football fan. I like to watch it, but I don’t actively seek it out. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the sport by any means. I’ve certainly let the CFL grow on me, even though punting the ball on 3rd down continues to throw me off from time to time.

What can I say? I grew up in small town America where Friday nights belong to high school football, Saturday’s are for college ball(Go Hawks!), and Sunday was NFL. Four downs(CFL has three), the flags are yellow(CFL flags are orange), and the only time you can score a single point is kicking the ball through the uprights after a touchdown(I’m still confused by all the various ways you can score a single point in the CFL, but oh well).

I encourage football fans with the NFL Network in the states to try and catch some of the CFL broadcasts they will be running this summer. Let the rules and twelve men on the field be the second thing you pay attention to. The action is what you should focus on.

Empire Field: Still getting ready

It’s really tough to comprehend that this stadium will only exist for barely over a year. With the mountains as a gorgeous backdrop and the close proximity of the fans to the field, this isn’t just a great place to watch football or soccer. I could see this being a great outdoor concert venue as well.

Empire Field: Still getting ready

Whatever happens to this place in the future, it’s a little rewarding to be involved in a tiny piece of Vancouver’s history. Just like people talk about Expo ’86 or when the Olympics were here, I can say I was there, running around the field, ducking into the double-wide trailers that make up the locker rooms, and hauled plenty of equipment up and down stairs to make the radio side of things happen.

Interestingly enough, my photos have made the rounds on a handful of sites promoting the environmental sustainability aspect of the stadium, most noticeably the recycled tires that makes up the field turf.

inhabitat.com uses my photos of Empire Stadium inhabitat.com:
Vancouver Soccer Stadium Made With 22,000 Recycled Tires
by Bridgette Meinhold, 06/29/10

Inhabitat used my photos to highlight the use of “22,000 recycled tires, amounting to 346,000 pounds of crumb rubber,” in the field turf that makes up the playing surface of Empire Field. While that’s pretty cool in itself, the playing field can actually be altered in terms of response by either vacuuming up those tiny bits of rubber or adding more to change the amount of bounce you get from the field.

They found my photos on Flickr and published them in a post with proper attribution. That’s social networking done right.



Italian site ecopnues.it uses my photos of Empire Stadium ecopnues.it:
Lo stadio da calcio di Vancouver costruito con 22.000 pneumatici fuori uso

I was contacted directly about using my photos in this post, and that request was in English. As you can tell by the title of this post, all of this site is in Italian. Ecopnues is an Italian website that focuses on the use of recycled tires, taking a cue from the previous post I’ve already highlighted.

What fascinates me is the theme of sustainability being immensely popular around the world. Empire Field certainly has its critics, but in the bigger picture, the long term benefits to the communities around this area is viewed positively by many.

Rebecca also has a post with many of my photos as well as her trip to see the field on the day it was unveiled to the media.

Empire Field is a limited time experience and well worth it. If you go and are the adventurous type, get some seats in the end zones. Space was so limited in the construction of this stadium that they couldn’t put nets up to prevent balls from going into the stands.

How’s that for a souvenir? Well, that is if you’re willing to work for it.

True North Media House: 2010 independent, self-accredited reporting in Vancouver

TNMH Media Badge

TNMH Media Badge by John Biehler on Flickr

One of the ways I plan to to document my experiences during these winter games in Vancouver is through the various outlets that I have available to me on a personal level. Be it my photography, writing, video, audio, and most likely Twitter, there’s a lot more to share with the world other than what you see on TV during the time between opening and closing ceremonies.

This is where the True North Media House comes in.

I’ve watched this plan hatch from an idea to a project in full motion. Somewhere along the line, and most likely of my own doing, I’ve gotten myself involved with the venture of helping it come up on a quickly approaching horizon.

In order to better explain what TNMH is, here’s a quote from the website:

The True North Media House project aims to inspire social media creation and educate about best practices for sharing content with audience. We’ll do this through a variety of meet-ups, photo walks, field trips, and outings with international media makers and aggregating Olympic culture-related content licensed with a Creative Commons license. [truenorthmediahouse.com]

True North Media HouseLet’s be honest. There are a lot of other people out there in the world who like to create the types of media that me, Rebecca, or like many of our friends do. Chances are, some of them will be coming to Vancouver to follow the adventures of their fellow men and women from the countries coming to the lower mainland.

There are a thousands stories to tell from all sorts of perspectives, and True North is what aims to bring this people together to share an understanding of how to publish, create, generate, or whatever they do with their experiences. And more so, what you should or shouldn’t do to make sure that what you have made still falls inside the guidelines TNMH promotes.

Even further to what True North Media House is, Andrew Lavigne has released this great piece from the documentary he is making entitled, With Glowing Hearts. It’s great back story that gives a better foundation from how this group came about.

WGHthemovie.ca- Webisode #2 ‘True North Media House’ from Andrew Lavigne on Vimeo.

I’m looking forward to what should be some unique experiences as well as meeting new people, local and from afar, who are anxious to see what the lower mainland will be like over these next few weeks.

How are you spending your Olympics? No matter how you roll, whether you plan to celebrate, protest, or observe, my admonition is to document the people’s history about how the Olympics interacts with our communities like historian Howard Zinn would advise. Perhaps you’re skipping out of school to see some events or explore Vancouver’s hidden gems? Good. Recluse J.D. Salinger woulda wanted you to, but wouldn’t let you know it. [Dave Olson, vancouverobserver.com]

If you are interested in finding out more about True North Media House and maybe even getting on the bus, head over to the website for all the details.

Social Media and the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Photo by Roland Tanglao
Photo credit: Roland Tanglao on Flickr

On Thursday of last week, I had the opportunity to attend a meeting of the minds, if you will, regarding an endeavor that is taking the social media scene in Vancouver and bringing the 2010 Winter Olympics together.

The task, needless to say, is daunting. The plan is in its infant stages, and the melting pots of minds, which there are many of, are heading down territories that are vastly uncharted. Bloggers, podcasters, photographers, video enthusiasts, and anything else you can use to convey a story are looking to see how they can interact with the biggest, global event to hit Vancouver so far this century, possibly ever.

The discussions are only just beginning, but there is a wealth of commitment from people who are interested in being apart of something new and different. The meeting last week had nearly fifty people in attendance, trying to figure out what the current scheme is while also finding out how they can get involved.

Photo by Roland Tanglao
Photo credit: Roland Tanglao on Flickr

To find out more about what was talked about, please check out Raul’s thorough live blog of the night as well as Dave’s informative post at Raincitystudios.com about the next steps and how you can get involved. I hope to write more about my thoughts on this matter in the coming days and weeks.