Written By: Rafi Kohan
The American sports stadium, for all its raucous glory, is an overlooked centerpiece―a veritable temple―of our national culture. A hallowed ground for communal worship, this is where history is made on grass, artificial turf, hardwood, and even ice; where nostalgia flows as freely as ten-dollar beers; where everything thrills, from exploding fireworks to grinning cheerleaders. In The Arena, “an altogether new and riveting sports classic” (Josh Wilker), intrepid sportswriter Rafi Kohan crisscrosses the country, journeying from one beloved monument to the next. As he finagles access to the unexpected corners and hidden corridors of our most frequented fields, he discovers just what makes them tick―and what keeps us coming back time and time again.
Beginning with the “old-timers,” Kohan pays his respects to Chicago’s ivy-laced Wrigley and Green Bay’s lovable Lambeau, which have creakily adjusted to the twenty-first century while maintaining those age-old quirks fans have prized for generations. Juxtaposing these cherished time capsules with mighty new mammoths like Dallas’s shiny AT&T Stadium, Kohan examines the often-punishing realities of how they are built, from architectural ambition to controversial funding and political strong-arming.