The football games are over – so let the self-examination begin.
Judging by the accounts of organizers and those who attended, DeKalb made a fine debut as host of the IHSA football state championships this weekend.
There were good-sized crowds that filled in a lot of the available space at the 24,000-seat stadium – rather than looking sparse as the crowd typically does in the University of Illinois’ 60,000-seat Memorial Stadium.
Things were orderly for the most part, and there were no major malfunctions or incidents that upstaged the games themselves.
As with most any endeavor of this scale, there will be things that can be corrected or improved before the games return Nov. 27 and 28, 2015 to Huskie Stadium.
There were some long lines for concessions, and at times they ran out of popular items such as hot dogs.
There also were some periods of long traffic backups to get into the Convocation Center parking lot, and by midday Saturday, the Convocation Center lot was almost full, leaving people with a longer walk to Huskie Stadium than they might have liked.
But nothing on that list rates as more than an inconvenience, something that members of the IHSA Destination DeKalb committee – or whoever will be in charge of coordinating the next effort to hold the games – will have time to discuss and plan to change.
In general, it went very well. There were lots of fans, mostly sunny weather, and some memorable football played on the field (and replayed on the Huskie Stadium video board).
Event organizers will have almost two years to analyze what went right and what could have been better, work improve what they can, and also figure out where to get the funds for the next round of games in 2015.
The two-year time difference could be a blessing or a curse, depending on how they use it. But the ultimate goal should be to keep the games in DeKalb for years to come by refining the approach and making a science of running this event.
It was a great debut, and hopefully 2015 will be even better.