BYU Reporter Drops Honest Review Of Shreveport
This weekend was one of the best weekends for sports in the Shreveport and Bossier City area in a long time. There were two Shreveport Mudbugs hockey games on Thursday and Friday nights, two big wins for the Bugs. On Saturday it was the 2021 Independence Bowl, which featured the highest ranked team to ever play in the bowl, the 13th ranked BYU Cougars. To cap off Saturday night, the undefeated and nationally ranked LSU men's basketball team took on Louisiana Tech in Bossier City.
It really was an amazing weekend for sports in a community that can really use good news, and fun events.
We know that Shreveport isn't a utopia. The city just set a record for murders in a single year, always ranks as one of the most stressed out and underpaid cities in the nation, has one of the worst real estate markets in the country, and ranks as one of the most uneducated cities in the United States.
The people of Shreveport know all of this. But it obviously comes as a shock to someone visiting the city for an event. When you have a big sports weekend like we talked about above, you're likely to have some people visit for the first time.
Adam Gibby is a writer who covers BYU football for Fansided. He came to Shreveport this past weekend to cover the Independence Bowl. Prior to his trip to Shreveport, he wrote an article for Fansided titled "BYU Football: Why the Independence Bowl is fine". Inside that piece, he made the case for why Shreveport wasn't a bad spot for BYU, here's what he said:
"If you are living in Utah, I’m sorry there is no way around this, it is a tough situation. Tickets to Shreveport are expensive and the road trip is well, a road trip. But what about all the fans in the South? This is a game that many Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma fans can get to on a budget. Earlier in the year tickets to the Baylor game were insanely expensive, and Georgia Southern is about as far from Texas as Utah is. Shreveport is a location that many fans who never get to watch BYU will get to go to and get a good experience considering the food, culture and activities in the region are unique."
Now that was BEFORE Mr. Gibby arrived in Shreveport. Once he made his way back home after spending time in the city, he sounded a little different.
To be fair, his BYU team did get upset by UAB in the Indy Bowl, so he probably wasn't in the best of moods. But his review of Shreveport was pretty separated from the gameplay. Here is what Gibby thought of Shreveport after letting his first impression marinate for a few days:
"When I arrived in Shreveport about two hours before kickoff, I was shocked to see how run down the city was. While the hospitality of the people was great, the honest truth and reality was that on my way to the stadium, I saw more businesses for bail bonds and legal services than I did anything else. Every business had their windows barred up and even the local jail appeared to be run down.
When I arrived to the stadium parking lot, the baseball stadium right next to stadium looked like something out of World War Z or I am Legend. Windows broken out, vines growing up the walls and graffiti all over the place.
Again, I’m not trying to bash on Shreveport, but these were my observations. This was not a destination bowl. There was no culture to make the team feel like they were wanted or being celebrated.
This did not feel like the kind of place that the No. 13 ranked team in the country should be at for a bowl game. Rather it very well have been the most run down destination that the Cougars have ever played in."
I still stand by the fact that the idea of Shreveport still having a bowl game is cool. The underdog mentality is something I lean towards in the first place. But the concept of other cities, and ESPN, wanting to rip the bowl from Shreveport and toss another game into Vegas or Los Angeles, makes me want to fight to keep the game here...HAVING A BOWL GAME IN SHREVEPORT IS A MASSIVE MIDDLE FINGER TO THE SPORTS WORLD ELITE.
We don't need another "Jimmy Kimmel Bowl" between two 6-6 teams from power 5 conferences. Give me a bowl game in Shreveport with an angry, hungry team like UAB.
There's no reason to sugarcoat what Shreveport is; a city that looks like a DMZ. It's a city where 60% of the population hates the city, hates happiness, and hates progress. But for the rest of the people in the area, we still want to have fun. There should be events and entertainment here, even if the Shreveport gatekeepers want to fight against it. We know what we are, but that doesn't mean we need to give up.
Let's be as honest as the BYU review, but lets not let it stop us from having fun.