That someone would stand in the same long line twice, in the rain, in the span of a two-hour football game, surely says something about the quality of the food. In fact, I’d been hearing rumors about it for some time — the suggestion that the Warriors’ concession was being visited not by just football fans, but by regular Joes off the street.
“Yes, I see people who come [to the game] just to eat,” says Patricia Athy, president of the football boosters club. Presiding over the concession stand is part of her job. Arms folded across her chest against the rain, she squints in the direction of her customers. “The line’s like this even on Thursdays, at the JV game.”
This sentiment is shared by Brinita Wallace, who hustles back and forth across the wet asphalt monitoring a propane deep fryer and a grill fashioned from a 55-gallon drum. “Only love can make you stand out here and do this,” she says, as water mists in the frizz of her pulled-tight hair. “We have the best fish in town.”
As if to illustrate, she stabs a metal spoon into a roiling cauldron of oil and brings out two planks of meat — the lake trout, crispy and carrying an audible heat.
It is obvious, considering the demand, that the Booster Club is doing what it can with its available space. The old cinder block stand (wedged at the top of the bleachers beneath the announcer’s box) must have been built decades ago and seems designed for the hot dog and Jujubes set. Now here are Athy and company tripping over each other to dole out the “Warriors Combo” (fried lake trout, fries and a drink) and the “Green and Gold” (chicken wings, fries), each for $5.
Through the homecoming confusion, and the weather and mass of black umbrellas, it proves impossible to identify anyone who has laid down the $5 admission for the sole purpose of landing some hot wings, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t here. The wings are that good — meaty and full, with a crispy finish, and the fish meal alone can feed a family, nevermind the fries.
Of course if you are feeding off the on-field action, you are going hungry. By the end of the third quarter things are looking bleak for the home team. “Come on Warriors!” a man yells fruitlessly, hands in pockets, as another fumble leaves his boys without possession. It is heartbreaking to think nothing may come of it, standing in your slickers yelling into the rain, but looking down through the bleachers, Styrofoam memories are scattered everywhere — the detritus, at the very least, of a well-fed crowd.
The Warriors went on to lose their Oct. 17 game against the Lee-Davis High School Confederates 22-7.
You have one more chance this season to grab some fried fish or wings and take in some football. The Warriors play Hanover High School at home Nov. 7. Henrico High School is at 302 Azalea Ave.
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