As a decades-long football fan, I was thrilled when I got the chance to attend the Dallas Cowboys vs. San Diego Chargers preseason game with my family at Cowboys Stadium last August. My only concern – aside from hoping we didn’t lose the game – was that we might run into accessibility issues since we were accompanied by my grandfather, who happens to use a wheelchair. I am happy to report that I was thoroughly impressed by the amenities that were available to us at the new stadium, from the parking lot that accommodated wheelchair accessible vans to ramps that made it possible for us to get around easily, even in a crowd.
It makes sense that a stadium known for its innovation, including a retractable roof and unbelievable projection screen, would accommodate all fans regardless of their level of mobility. Nobody should be barred from being a True Blue fan and I’m glad to say my family can proudly support the Cowboys in all their efforts. My grandfather can unfortunately no longer get around by himself, but I felt confident that he would’ve been successful on his own in the past. The prevalence of polite people, automatic doors, and wheelchair-friendly spaces, like the concessions area, put me at ease and led me to talk the stadium up to anyone who would listen. Though we still left a little extra time to make sure we weren’t rushed while navigating around the stadium, our day still went off without a hitch.
No one wants their day or fun outing interrupted by inconvenience and I’m glad we didn’t need to find alternate entrances or navigate curbs in order to gain access to the stadium, which are issues we’ve had to overcome when entering other buildings. Though I can’t personally attest to the ease of using the men’s restroom, my brother assures me there were no issues when it came time for him and my grandfather to take a break. Sometimes I feel like the world isn’t set up any easier for the differently abled and it’s been a source of stress for my family, especially since my grandfather only recently started using a chair. Being able to relax and truly enjoy the game was a boon to our outing, even though we lost to the Chargers.
I’m glad my skepticism about the stadium’s accessibility was unfounded. A lack of convenience at other venues has prevented our family from enjoying an activity as a group. Thankfully, our experience at Cowboys Stadium was nothing but pleasant from start to finish, from people who offered to help us out to accessible seating that still offered a great view of the field. I encountered friendly staff, fans that put my Cowboys pride to shame, and found myself especially thankful that no one treated my grandfather like an invalid simply because he uses a wheelchair. My family will certainly plan a return visit to Cowboys Stadium – and not just because that impressive new screen is the biggest in the world.