It’s game day, and the first big decision is upon us: which swag to don! After 30 minutes of trying to decide, we get in the car and drive to Pechanga Arena to see the San Diego Seals take on the Saskatchewan Rush. As we hop out of our car, proudly displaying our Seals jackets, we’re met by hundreds of other fans matching us, eagerly awaiting the game.
We take the steps up to the entrance. After quickly moving through metal detectors and greeters checking tickets, we’re in! This is where the true experience starts. The Sirens Dance Team are lined up to create a tunnel with their pom poms for fans to run through, making us all feel like we’re part of the Seals team. The quick adrenaline rush from that run-through starts the night off on a high note. Now that we’re in, it’s time to find our seats.
As we walk the arena halls, we’re surrounded by a sea of purple, black, and gold. Between fans and vendors, you can’t help but feel the community spirit. A short walk later, we find our seats. We’ve been to plenty of Seals games, but this is the first time we are incredibly close to the field — so close we can see the sweat on the players’ faces.
We’re ready for our next big decision of the night: what to eat. We venture back to the arena hall and see all the vendors smiling from ear to ear as they prepare delicious treats and serve some of San Diego’s local brews. The options are endless, but we decide to go with a watermelon lemonade and mini donuts, made fresh, right before our eyes.
We quickly return to our seats, so we don’t miss a minute of the action — the experience is about to begin. The Sirens Dancers are the first to enter the field. Their glowing faces light up the arena, and they start the night off with their newest dance routine, which captivates the crowd.
Next comes Salty the Seal, the team mascot. Salty rides out in the Belmont Park van to show some love to one of the team’s sponsors. Once he’s on the field, he shows off his martial arts moves by breaking a wooden board and doing a backflip. His energy is contagious as he runs around the arena, Seals flag in hand.
Now that we’ve met the Sirens and Salty, it’s time for the team to make their way to the field. The players run onto the field one by one, highlighted by pillars of flames which make the experience feel larger than life. After all the Seals players are on the field, the opposing team enters — to unwelcoming jeers from the crowd. The entire stadium stands for both the Canadian and American National Anthems, sung by a San Diegan, and then it’s time to begin.
Kicking off with the sounding of the Siren Alarm by a fan, the energy is electrifying. The ball quickly flies by, and we do our best to keep up. We can see the team anticipating each move and hear the coaches prepping for the next play. We’ll never understand how the team stays focused while DJ Mancat plays the best songs to keep the energy going the entire game. When you’re at a Seals game, you feel like you’re at a giant San Diego party.
The players never stop pushing to play the best game they can, and the fans never stop cheering them on. Hearts race as the ball switches teams. We’re so close to the action that we feel like we’re part of the fight that breaks out between the two teams. The adrenaline is racing as we cheer louder for the Seals.
Between each quarter, the Seals’ official arena host, Melissa Mae, puts on fan competitions. Watching two fans try to chug milk faster than the other to win a jersey, we can’t help but cheer them on. Our personal favorite activity is the bread toss. Two plush loaves of bread are sent around the arena, by way of fans, to see which one makes it back to the starting point first. Two fans, one representing each loaf, await their fate as the bread flies from section to section. Whichever loaf makes it to the starting point first correlates to which fan gets drenched in Board & Brew’s secret sauce. The entire crowd rushes to help toss the bread and cheers for their representative. The quirky game is one of many that represent the Seals community.
The beauty of attending a Seals game is that everyone is part of the team. Whether you’re on the field, in the seats, or at a vendor station, you’re playing an equally crucial role in creating the true Seals game experience.
Learn more about Sam & George Weinchez