The College World Series is, as the name suggests, the tournament that determines college baseball’s national championship. On the most basic level, it is an exciting event to attend simply because it is a national championship caliber event, the best of the best in college baseball. But speaking as someone who has attended several series’, I can tell you it is so much more.

The College World Series is held every year at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska. The stadium is located right off of Interstate 80 on the 13th Street exit(exit 454) and I can tell you that the large stadium is impossible to miss. The stadium address is 1202 Bert Murphy Drive. Dates vary slightly from year to year, but the Series is generally played at the beginning of June. The weather at this time is almost always perfectly beautiful, warm and sunny. For a dozen days or so, the whole city of Omaha focuses squarely on the College World Series

But the Series wasn’t always held in Omaha. The first Series was held in 1947 at the Western Michigan University campus in Kalamazoo. Two years later it was held in Wichita, Kansas. But the following year of 1950, the College World Series moved to Omaha, Nebraska and it has stayed there ever since.

The College World Series is set up as a double elimination tournament. This way, no matter what happens, each team gets at least two opportunities to play. There has been discussion recently to alter this format in order to make the games easier to schedule. Rosenblatt Stadium has really turned into a world class ballpark from its humble beginnings. The stadium is at or near capacity for each game with more than 24,000 fans packing into Rosenblatt for each championship game.

Ever since 1988, every game of the series has been televised nationally, but there really is no experience like being in the stands for a game. The fans have always impressed me with their unique mix of unfailing loyalty and profound courtesy. The traveling fans are always very lively but no matter what happens on the field, all the College World Series fans are a family. Teams may have rivalries, but the fans never do, and when the game is all said and done, they go outside and party together all the same. But aside from superfans, the stands are thousands of Omaha residents like me. These people seldom have a home team to root for, they simply come to see some great baseball. And it is great baseball. The kids who are playing in the College World Series aren’t there for the money or the fame, they are playing for the love of the game. The players feel lucky just for making it to Omaha and it is apparent by their unrelenting effort and sportsmanlike conduct. These values permeate everything that is associated with the College World Series. From the players to the fans to the locals, there is a feeling of being apart of something special.

The grounds around Rosenblatt Stadium are full of tailgaters and revelers, the atmosphere is like a carnival or non-stop party. But this tailgating experience is like few others you’ll find around the world. A group of recurrent RV visitors have officially founded a village, dubbed “Dingerville.” Dingerville is recognized by the city of Omaha and even has its own popularly elected mayor, Glenarp Allmendinger of Longville, Louisiana. A stroll through Dingerville is a major part of the College World Series experience. People from all over the country converge on this one spot and so all the diverse cultures and foods are mixed up in such a small place. And my can they cook! The inhabitants of Dingerville are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet, they frequently offer complete strangers a sample of their culinary masterpieces. My favorite food in the whole place has to be the Cajon food from the Louisiana fans. If it weren’t for the stadium, one might think a grill and cook-off was what drew the lively crowd. Simply meeting new people from all across the country is a fascinating experience in and of itself.

The games are thrilling. The fanfare and tradition is inspiring. But what really makes the College World Series special is the people. And if you are ever in the Omaha area around June, I highly suggest you come along and join the fun, you might even see me!

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