Best of Chapman: Journeying to find the best seat in Wilson Field

Chapman students have a wealth of options to choose from when finding a place to sit and watch a football game at home Wilson Field. Ultimately, The Panther has named Row C, seat no. 7 as the best possible seat. MIA FORTUNADO Staff Photographer

Wilson Field. A lovely, pristine piece of architecture and the home turf of Chaptown’s own Panthers. Yet with over 1,500 seats, the question of the best exact place to sit for a football game is inconclusive.

Until now.

I sat in every single seat in the stadium (again, to emphasize – Every. Single. One.) in order to answer this essential question. Here’s what I’ve learned.

I started on the right of the home side, finding a few good choices. In seats furthest from the field – Row R, seats No. 1 to 22 – a fan is unable to fully see one of the goalposts. However, this isn’t a problem for each row downwards – except in Row G, seat No. 10 to 19 and Row F, seat No. 8 to 14.

The left side of home has some notable seats as well – personal favorites include Row R, seat No. 145 and No. 146, as they provide a bird’s eye view of the stadium and include some added bonus extra legroom.

Ultimately, most chairs were solid options. But was I taken with any of the seats? Sadly, no. Does it help narrow down the honorable title of the best seat in the entire field? Not by a long shot.

Of course, upon first thought, the front row would seem to lend itself to the best spot in the stadium. However, at Wilson Field, many seats in the center and adjacent sections have their views partially obstructed by railings. Can you live with a partially obstructed view? Of course, but we’re talking about the “best seat” here, and as such, we must conduct our search with finite scrutiny.

Everything you’ve read thus far could all be nonsense until you’ve searched deep within your soul to find exactly what you want to get out of attending a football game. Do you want the best view of the field? Do you want to be closer to the sidelines to wave at your friends on the team? Do you want to hear the music and feel the Panther pride?

For instance, Chapman’s pep band, the “Pride of Chapman,” is located on an upper deck, called the Tom & Joan Riach Stadium Terrace, where they play songs in between downs and during timeouts. Thus, if you’re a music fan and want to hear the pep band, Michael Gribble, a junior student in the drum line, recommends sitting on the left side of the field, but not necessarily right next to the band.

“It probably gets a little loud when you get close to us,” Gribble said. “But if you really want that extra pep, you can go all the way up.”

If Gribble didn’t play in the pep band, he said he would sit in the center section, close enough to feel the energy from the band and enjoy the wide view of the field. I decided to test out Gribble’s hypothesis.

There are some solid views from the top-middle. Row R, seat No. 88 gives a good overview of the playing field, as well as a solid view of the scoreboard. Yet as I moved from seat to seat – my hamstrings burning, by the way – I continued to feel absolutely nothing. It was extremely disappointing. I thought about giving up and simply crowning Row R, seat No. 88 the winner, but I knew it wouldn’t sit well with my pride.

Ultimately, I trusted my intuition, deciding to return to my first idea. Row C simply felt like home and was extremely close to the action. As such, I went down the line, trying each seat – until I hit it.

Row C, seat No. 7. Perfection.

You still feel close to the action, but also with a sweeping view of the entire field. There’s the added bonus of having a short railing that you can rest your feet or lean forward on, but is still short enough to see over.

When I started this process, I assumed that there would be no clear answer – that my report would have to be wishy-washy. Yet, I ended up happily surprised, as Row C, seat No. 7 was the answer to my prayers. If you’re heading out to Wilson Field in the future, you know where to sit.