The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

New season brings new Barda-Dowling game day procedures

Jack Breakey ’24
Fans on Champion’s Way enter Barda-Dowling Stadium on October 13, 2023, for the matchup against Providence Catholic.

Game day for football at Barda-Dowling Stadium this year isn’t like it once was. The addition of a new Athletic Director, Mr. Phil Segroves, brings new changes to the fan experience, some more noticeable than others.

These additions and changes have improved the game day, and it looks like many fans have been supportive. 

One major change is tickets. All ticket sales are officially now online, and MC will not sell paper tickets anymore. 

“I love the fact we do tickets online now,” said Ms. Rebecca Kniebusch, an MC teacher who works the main gate on game day. 

MC has evolved with the times, as the majority of ticket sales for major events elsewhere are online. From Bruce Springsteen to the Blackhawks, fans can’t go to any large event without paying online.

But these changes have come with some criticism. 

“We have had some pushback from alums who might not be as tech-savvy as others,” said MC Mr. Segroves. “But we have had people stationed at the gates to help these individuals.”

Mr. Segroves also said the switch was based on two things: paperless tickets made the flow of getting into Barda-Downling Stadium much more efficient, and the worry of losing paper tickets went down.

“Everyone has a phone at this point,” said Rhoel Risos ‘26, a regular attendee of football games. “It’s easier to lose your ticket than your phone. It’s made things better, but not taking away much from the experience.”

Paperless tickets might affect the fans, but it’s common for many events to also have this change. But the real change that affects fans is the new security policy and improvements to game day. 

Many fans remember the unfortunate shooting incident after the Week Two game against Morgan Park. So, what is MC’s new safety protocol?

The school’s administration responded rapidly to this and worked with the Chicago Police Department to provide assistance. Mr. Scott Tabernacki, school principal, and Mr. Brendan Conroy, school president, sat down with Chicago police and agreed to two squad cars to block 64th St. from Stoney Island Ave. to  Dorchester Ave. 

This eliminates all inbound traffic onto 64th St. starting in the third quarter of home games. Fans are now required to take Blackstone Ave. to 63rd St., which allows fans to cross over to the parking lot with little risk.

Another addition is that gate personnel will only be allowing clear backpacks or bags to enter. In recent years, many major events have been only accepting clear bags at security checkpoints.

“In so many large area events, it’s got to be a clear bag,” said Ms. Kniebusch, expressing her overwhelming support for this change.

 The men who are the face of MC’s security are the members of the Fathers’ Club.

“The Fathers’ Club has been incredible for all 27 years I have been here,” said Mr. Segroves. 

At any time during game days, there are around 15 to 20 or more members of the Fathers’ Club at the game. From working security to making burgers, the Fathers’ Club is essential for all MC events. 

The Fathers’ Club also sells the majority of the MC merchandise from 100th Season white long sleeves to camouflage baseball caps. They also host the 50/50 raffle, which has become popular in recent years. The Fathers’ Club helps so all fans can have a successful gameday experience.

“Administration wants to keep intact, we want us to have a community feeling here,” said Mr. Segroves. “We want all events at MC to make people feel safe, an environment where people are friendly, and to really enjoy themselves.”

The administration doesn’t have any official plans for the future when it comes to more additions or changes to the fan experience. 

The gameday experience at MC has definitely exploded, especially after the 2022 IHSA 7A State Championship.

As MC wraps up the football regular season, many flock to Barda-Dowling for that Caravan energy, an energy that is renowned in the state of Illinois. But that energy can’t be possible without the men and women who help put the show together.

With all these new changes, Mount Carmel could be on par with a college gameday experience.

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About the Contributor
Jack Breakey ’24
Jack Breakey ’24, Staff Writer
John “Jack” Breakey is a Senior at Mount Carmel High School. Jack resides on the South Side of Chicago in the Morgan Park neighborhood. He also attended grammar school in the neighborhood at St. Cajetan School.  Jack is a member of Caravan Broadcasting Network as their Senior Producer and also a member of the MC Model UN club and a Peer Leader. Outside of school, he’s a member of the Chicago Fire Department Gold Badge Society. For hobbies, Jack enjoys bike riding, watching movies, playing video games, and researching government. One of Jack’s favorite pastimes is listening to music. He is a large fan of rock and roll, especially Bruce Springsteen, Jimmy Buffett, and the genre of bluegrass. This influence came from his father, Thomas Breakey, Mount Carmel class of 1982, and an active Chicago firefighter. His father has been a large inspiration for Jack, who has become a better man because of his father. Jack's dream job is working in international relations or national security. He researches current world events and conflicts while also being a student of history. Who knows? Jack might become the real Jack Ryan one day.