With the beautiful game in a constant state of change, writing about football has been an interesting pass time over the course of 2020. While I usually aim for larger articles looking to investigate a story, I’ve also decided post the occasional blog post while I seek out other projects. The following is one of those blog posts.
Every now and then, you stumble upon a field or stadium that leaves a mark on you. Sometimes it’s because of what transpires there. Sometimes it’s because of a great design. Sometimes it’s a little bit of both. For me, Ordean Field, housed at Duluth East High School, is one of the those special fields.
Ordean Field is technically made for American Football, but all my memories of it are as a home for the beautiful game. Duluth Football Club, an amateur club I volunteered with for two years, played its 2019 season at Ordean. That year was a tough one for the club in the NPSL, but every game at Ordean was a majestic experience. I saw Duluth FC win, draw, and lose at Ordean. I enjoyed tortas from Oasis del Norte and consisting stand pretzels alike in its stands and met up with good friends and colleagues at its parking lots. For a summer, it was a home.
All of this to say, however, that none of that was the cherry on top that made Ordean Field so special. What made Ordean the best spot in the city was its view. The field was positioned perfectly to give fans a view of the beautiful Lake Superior. For those unaware, Lake Superior is one of the five members of the Great Lakes. It has a surface area of 31,700 sq mi and touches the shores of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario. It is a truly huge body of water and the heart of this city.
Ordean’s view of the water, as shown at the top of the article, is an absolute gem in a city where most fight over the handful of areas where the lake isn’t blocked by trees or buildings. Seeing it coming into and out of games provided a crystal clear palate cleanser regardless of the result that day. Whatever may happen on the pitch, we knew we lived in and represented a beautiful city.
Ordean doesn’t have any of the shiny features of a good stadium. It is, after all, not a stadium. But I think there’s something to love about the more modest grounds you’ll find across the world, the sort of fields used by lower league clubs, or amateur clubs. I’ve been to Allianz Field, Minnesota United’s new stadium. It is a thing of absolute beauty and I feel lucky to have even stepped inside of it. That being said, there’s something different about the simple and straight forward fields of Duluth East High School and Denfeld High School, Duluth FC’s other home. A modest home is part of the character of a modest club.
Take a moment, amid the chaos of top tier football, to appreciate the amateur, non-league, and otherwise simple homes of the beautiful game. I don’t know what awaits me in the many coming decades of life, but I know a few things I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget Denfeld. I’ll never forget Allianz. I’ll never forget Ordean.