Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium – Longwood Lancers
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Small Town Baseball in Virginia
Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium is named after Buddy Bolding, the first coach of the Longwood Lancers baseball team. He served as head coach for 35 years; the stadium was named in his honor a few years before his retirement, making him one of very few coaches to lead a team in a stadium named after them (Bill Snyder of Kansas State football currently shares the same honor).
The venue was formerly known as Lancers Stadium, and was most recently renovated in 2008; stadium lights were added a year before that. The Lancers currently compete in the Big South conference.
Food & Beverage 1
The capacity is only 500, so it is not surprising that there is only one concession stand, which is a little disappointing. There is only one main dish (hot dogs, which at least come with chili & onions), in addition to water, PowerAde, soda (Coke products), candy, chips, peanuts, and Cracker Jack. At least they do have Cracker Jack, which some stadiums don’t – that should be a crime! Candy options include Blow Pops, Starburst, and Big League Chew (very apropos). The smaller items sell for $1 each, while hot dogs and drinks cost $2. However, if you happen to be watching your quarters, you may be amused to find that 50 feet away from the concessions stand is a vending machine that sells PowerAde for $1.50 and water for $1.25, so you might want to bring small bills.
Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium is a very small venue, so you certainly won’t feel the level of energy there that you might at a larger venue. That being said, the atmosphere isn’t terrible – the lighting is good, you can get really close to the action, and the fans are friendly. There is a decent amount of school color present, including signage and logos. They also do several promotions thanks to the support of local businesses, for example you can win free bagels and barbecue sandwiches depending on how many points are scored in certain innings, or whether or not the game is a shut-out.
The stadium is located near campus not far from a retail district, which includes a couple of strip malls, a Walmart, and a number of restaurants – mostly fast food joints, but also a Mexican place, an Applebee’s, a Ruby Tuesday’s, and a Buffalo Wild Wings. The latter is probably your best bet for before or after the game, but a couple of the others would suffice as well. If you plan to stay for the weekend, there are only a couple of hotels near the stadium, namely a Days Inn and a Super 8, which are priced a little on the high side for those brands, due to the fact that there aren’t really any other options.
There is not a ton to do in the area, but there is a bike trail and some parks. There is also the Robert Russa Moton Museum, which is a national historic site commemorating the 1951 student-led strike against unequal educational facilities – this strike is notable because it became one of the lawsuits consolidated under Brown vs. Board of Education, the landmark Supreme Court decision that was the beginning of the end for segregated schools in the US. The museum recently underwent a $5.5 million renovation, and is worth a look if you have the opportunity.
The Appomattox Court House national historic park is also a short drive away from Farmville; this site commemorates the end of the Civil War.
Attendance at Lancers games only averages a couple hundred or so. Therefore, given the small capacity, on the best days it only gets about half or two-thirds full. Some of the fans wear Longwood gear, but you will also see some supporting the visiting team. You will also hear a lot of cheering and catcalling during the game, but most of this actually comes from the dugouts, which are so close to the stands you can easily hear the players cheering their fellows (or booing the other guys). One interesting thing to note is that some fans watch the action from the hill overlooking the outfield, which is possible due to how the park is situated; at most venues this doesn’t work because there are fences blocking the view. By the way, Longwood doesn’t sell tickets, so those fans aren’t doing it just to save money – they just happen to like watching from there.
Longwood University is located in the small town of Farmville, VA, which is small enough to easily get around, and easy to get to even though no major roads go through it (just state routes & other one-laners). Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium is right on the main drag, and features a large municipal parking lot directly adjacent to the field – this lot is used for more than just baseball, so there are many more spaces than are needed; parking is therefore easy to find, and is free. The bathrooms are also easy to find – they are located just outside the stands next to concessions, and since the stands are tiny it is a very short walk from your seat to either.
Return on Investment 1
They don’t even sell tickets here, so you can get in for free. Parking is also free, and concessions are dirt cheap. All of that said, the experience at Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium sadly just isn’t that much fun – there just isn’t enough going on to make it interesting – no activities except the game, no mascot antics, no souvenirs to buy, etc. If you happen to be a fan or an alum, or if your team happens to be playing Longwood that day then I could see going, but otherwise I am not sure it is worth it.
I can’t help but give a point for them selling Big League Chew – I remember enjoying this fun treat as a kid, and I couldn’t even begin to suggest where else you can even buy this stuff anymore, so the nostalgia factor definitely deserves mention. Big League Chew is the perfect ballpark treat, second only to Cracker Jack (which Charles Buddy Bolding Stadium also sells).
Not a horrible stadium, just not very big, and the school is not well-funded enough to put in a lot of amenities – the stadium is currently over 20 years old, and the recent renovations have not added much. However, it will cost you next to nothing to attend a game here, so if you are looking for something to do in Farmville on an evening or weekend, this is certainly an option.
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