*This article is featured in its entirety with pictures and video at SeattleSportsnet.com.
Once upon a time, the Pontiac Silverdome was the home of the NFL’s Detroit Lions and the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
Built in 1975 in the midst of America’s dome frenzy era, the Silverdome was constructed at a cost of $55,000,000 (or roughly $220,000,000 in today’s economy). This past Monday, the 127 acre plot of land along with its dilapidated arena was sold to a Canadian investment firm for $583,000. Yes, that’s thousands of dollars, not millions.
I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re thinking, “How in the hell did I let this opportunity pass me by?” There are literally millions of Americans out there that could have purchased the Silverdome and done whatever they wanted with it. It costs slightly more than the median home price in many cities across the U.S. And frankly, why have a home when you can have a dome?
The Canadian investment firm plans to use the 24-year-old, 80,000-seat venue to host soccer games (good luck with that), but come on. There are so many great things you could do with this place that haven’t even been explored yet. That’s why we’ve come up with this list of 11 things you could do if you owned the Silverdome. Because it’s fun to think big.
11. Host Prize-Cannon Shooting Tournaments
Let’s think about this. Where else are you going to be able to shoot your prize cannon and not have to worry about a) killing an American bald eagle (a felony) with an errant shot or b) losing the prizes you shoot?
Answer: Your very own Silverdome.
Probably the only controlled space that is large enough to contain your obsession with prize cannons, the Silverdome (or whatever the hell you decide to call it; you do own it after all) would make for an ideal location to practice your prize shooting, while also allowing you the freedom to hold competitions.
Set up targets on the surface, in the stands, in the suites, and then get firing. People would flock from miles around to join in. Charge a $20 entry fee, keep half the money for yourself, and give the rest away as the grand prize. Sign me up.
10. Invite Midgets to Jello-Wrestle for Your Amusement in a Kiddie Pool on the 50-Yard Line
Midgets make you laugh. Wrestling makes you laugh. Jello makes you laugh. Kiddie pools make you laugh. Combine all four things and you have unbridled hilarity.
The key here is to keep the midgets focused and make sure they take the event seriously. You can’t let on that this is some sort of gag fight that will ultimately be the subject of a YouTube video that becomes an instant internet sensation.
No, you have to convince these midgets that this is the Superbowl of midget jello wrestling. Maybe provide an incentive for them, too, in the form of a grand prize. Something like stilts or moonboots. Or maybe a 10-gallon hat. There’s nothing funnier than a midget jello wrestler in a 10-gallon hat.
Simple things, simple things.
9. Have Sleepovers on the Astroturf, and Turn the Ceiling Into a Planeterium
Not only could you have enormous camp outs for hundreds of people on fake grass, but you could make it even better by staring at fake stars throughout the night. Think about it. Year-round camp outs for all of your friends, plus all of their friends, plus some people you don’t even know.
Put a gigantic fire pit in the middle of the stadium, roast s’mores, tell campfire stories, drink beer, have a dance party, go crazy. It’s the biggest indoor party on earth, and when it’s all said and done you can all go to bed under the air conditioned comfort of the Silverdome roof.
8. Hold Ferret Races From End Zone to End Zone
In theory, you could do this with any type of animal or rodent and be thoroughly entertained. But why not ferrets?
Ferrets are long, low to the ground, and don’t walk so much as slink. Watching a ferret slink 100 yards in competition with other ferrets sounds like a great time.
Plus, you have to figure that in order to transport the ferrets to and from the arena you’d have to contain them by putting them on a leash. I would pay at least a quarter to see someone walking a ferret on a leash. I’ve seen dogs on leashes and cats on leashes, but never ferrets. That’s new.
7. Play Capture the Flag
There is no better game in the world than Capture the Flag. What a simple-ass game, right?
You take an object, any object, and deem it “the flag.”
You assign your fattest, slowest, most useless teammate to be the protector of said flag.
You draw a line in the middle of your playing field to divide the sides. One team on one side, the other team on the other side. Should you cross onto the opponents side and get tagged, you get sent to jail. On your side, you’re safe. If a teammate is so bold, they can rescue you and your other tagged teammates from prison.
The object of the game is so clear that even a child can understand it: Steal the flag from the fat kid guarding it. Go.
Why don’t we play this game more? How much fun was this game? It was the most fun, that’s how much fun it was.
You know what, I’d bet money that EA Sports or Nintendo is trying right now to come up with a Capture the Flag video game but they can’t do it. You can’t replicate the reality of Capture the Flag. It’s impossible.
And trust me, there would be no better way to play Capture the Flag than in your own enormous dome. Awesome.
6. Have a Saved By The Bell Viewing Party on the JumboTron
I guarantee you that there are at least 80,000 people out there who would love to be a part of the world’s largest Saved By The Bell viewing party. Hell, you might have to sell standing room only tickets or turn people away. This would be huge.
Start from the very beginning by forcing everyone to watch the awkwardly painful middle school episodes that effectively destroy the entire plot line for the ensuing high school (and even college) seasons. First off, the show takes place in Indiana (unlike the high school episodes, which are set in fictional Bayside, Calif.) and is centered around Hayley Mills’ character, Miss Bliss.
Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding are all supporting characters that get retained and given expanded parts when the show switches to its more familiar high school format. Interestingly enough, there is never so much as a hint of explanation as to why three students and a principal would up and leave their lives in the Midwest and move as a unit to California. In this one lousy season, the show was actually entitled Good Morning, Miss Bliss and not SBTB .
But I digress.
From here you navigate your way through the high school years, making sure to watch the Jessie Spano caffeine pill freak-out episode twice, then empty the tissue box for Zack and Kelly’s breakup.
You suffer through the Tori years (where all your favorite characters are seniors for the second year in a row…guess they got held back), take a little vacation with the Malibu Sands episodes, and even include Saved By The Bell: The College Years just for fun. (Absolutely no SBTB: The New Class , however.)
If you want to make this even more enjoyable, you can incorporate a drinking game where everyone takes a shot each time Zack hits on a girl. Double shots when he hits on an ugly girl, like that homeless chick in the Christmas episodes.
5. Make the Silverdome the Permanent Home of a WNBA team
Other things you would definitely not want to do with your dome include:
- Accommodate Antiques Roadshow events.
- House Afghani military training classes.
- Hold a rave.
- Feature Yanni concerts.
- Furnish professional bowling events.
- Stage a Mexican donkey show.
- Entertain the idea of a renaissance fair.
- Allow George Lopez to perform live.
- Provide refuge for hurricane victims.
4. Adopt a UFL Franchise
Now this one I am serious about. The UFL may not be the next big thing, or even on the radar. But it is entertaining.
And frankly, where else can you see so many players who will make you smile because you remember their names from years gone by? Like Quinn Gray. Or Simeon Rice. Or even Tim Rattay. You know you need a little Tim Rattay in your life.
What better market for a UFL team than Detroit? It’s not like their NFL team is worth watching, and at least in the UFL the players will give their all on every single play.
I mean, let’s face it. You’re going to have to pay for the upkeep of your dome in some way (the city of Pontiac lists annual upkeep of the Silverdome at $1.5 million). Might as well earn some petty cash by housing a pro football team.
3. Hold the National Convention of American Moderates
You don’t know about the American Moderates? They’re neither Republican nor Democrat. They embody the majority of voters in the U.S. and could give a rat’s ass about politics. Why? Because most politicians are crooks, and on a grand scale your vote doesn’t really count anyways.
This is how I envision the National Convention of American Moderates going down:
- Everyone arrives at least a half hour late and fights for parking.
- Upon entering your Silverdome, half the people head for the bathroom while the other half head for the concession stands.
- After getting food/taking a dump, everyone ignores the printing on their ticket and heads down to the lower bowl, as close to the front row as possible.
- Beer drinking ensues.
- Pot smoking ensues.
- Dave Chappelle performs.
- A Japanese rodeo takes place, using the cows they turn into Kobe beef as the transportation.
- Everyone plays some Xbox, then takes a nap.
- Everyone wakes up and checks their fantasy teams or watches some Maury Povich on the ‘Tron (that’s what I’m calling the JumboTron now).
- Everyone cheers when Maury announces, “Dominique…you are NOT THE FATHER!” Everyone except the mother, of course, who was actually hoping that this man who flips burgers at McDonald’s would end up being her baby daddy.
- Someone scheduled to speak never shows up so everyone keeps watching Maury instead.
- A couple people go home, but most of the 80,000 attendees end up crashing at your place. They’ll slowly trickle out over the next few days, but you’re cool with that.
2. Put on a stage rendition of The Hangover
Naturally, you will hire all of the original actors to reprise their roles on the stage. But if you can’t afford all the actors, at least get Zach Galifianakis to play Alan. That is absolutely imperative.
Besides that, there are no restrictions. This has to happen. If you own a dome, you need to make this go down. It’d be the greatest event ever.
1. Hijack the Oklahoma City Thunder and Bring Them to Their New Home at Your Dome
How’s it feel to be on the receiving end, bitches?!
Of course, as you’re physically removing the team from their practice facility in Oklahoma, you are forced to fight Clay Bennett in a battle to the death for the right to own what was previously his basketball team. Luckily you came prepared with the sword once carried by the Megazord in the original Power Rangers .
Bennett stops you with a gun in his hand, dressed in full cowboy regalia. He challenges you to 12 paces and you oblige. At six paces you stop, turn around, brandish your sword which is about 30 feet long since it did belong to the Megazord and all and utter a catch-phrase that you’ve spent all day thinking up: “Hey Clay,” you say, “it’s Morphin time.”
Then as your sword lights up with cool mid-'90s special effects illumination, you rip off your shirt to reveal a green-and-gold Gary Payton Sonics jersey underneath, before unleashing complete fury on Bennett as he tries to fire his turn-of-the-century pistol at you.
After that you basically just take the team to your dome and tell them to play there and they have to do what you say because you own them. Pretty anticlimactic, but that’s business.