During the course of my, ahem, 50+ years, I have had the privilege of visiting some of the great stadiums, places that I had only heard about and seen on TV. I remember walking into Olympic Stadium in Montreal way back in the '70's, and thinking that, even though it was enormous and imposing, it felt very cold.
In later years I found my way to, first, what was then called the Skydome in Toronto, where I got to enjoy watching the look on my 10 year old son's face as he watched his heroes in person. A few years later, MY sports mecca, Fenway Park, where I was struck by the smell of the grass and the closeness of the play.
In 2009 I even got to visit Wrigley Field in Chicago, a baseball fan's dream park, with its friendly patrons, old time atmosphere, and Harry Caray's ghost floating through the stadium.
All of these visits were special, and each one gave me a thrill that I will never forget.
Having said all that, I have never experienced the feeling of awe, with the hair raising on my arms and neck, that I had when I stepped into the Roman Colosseum yesterday. Just imagining this enormous, somewhat intimidating venue filled to the rafters with screaming Romans, while on the floor below gladiators fought to the death, wild animals were hunted, criminals of the state were executed, all for the pleasure and entertainment of the spectators. You wonder if, late at night, ghosts of that era wander the stone walkways.....see, I don't even believe in ghosts and look how I'm talking, the place really grabs your imagination!
I hope that I'll get to visit many more stadiums over the years, but I truly believe that they will all take their place behind this one on my list.