Big, beautiful lump of concrete and plastic

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Off the Beat columnist Paul Kennedy

Column: Off the beat with Paul Kennedy.

What’s your Dunedin “pretty good Plan D”?

Being a wildlife heathen, my plan D has no albatross imagery as they’re just giant seagulls to me but I’m not immune to the beauty of the peninsula.

Exploring different beaches where you can run 45 minutes along picture-perfect sandy vistas without laying eyes on another human one craves sometimes.

Dunedin’s the best “little” city and therein lies some of its beauty – the time Dunedin gives you back.

For many years it took me 3min 23sec to drive to work and eight steps from car to back door.

These “time back” credits measure not in dollars but in the real-life currency of family time and lack of long commute stress.

But the “fairest of all” plan D is a big, beautiful lump of concrete and plastic (Greenies don’t choke on your plant-based steaks) – Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The Glasshouse, Toast rack, Ratepayer noose .. the world’s most southerly professional stadium provides the fine dining fodder of two great life passions – music and sport.

It “hosts with the most” with the angled seating pitch bringing you close to the action, even if the short distance from crowd to playing surface makes streaking more obtainable.

The space-age transparent roof sits 7m above the highest ever rugby kick of 29.4m, lets the sunshine in, keeps rain off your head and is the only stadium in the world to successfully grow grass indoors.

I love how another of Dunedin’s best attributes the youthful vibrance of students – it is incorporated into it, whether studying or gyming on-site, or a mass of dance, drink and fun in “The Zoo” during Highlanders’ games.

No longer does a $150 concert ticket quadruple in cost with Auckland airfares and accommodation added.

No longer do you have to travel north to see friends and family as now they seek out your spare room to come south for stadium events.

No longer do we have to resort to tribute bands.

Sure we’ll never again see scenes like much disliked Aussie cricketer Greg Matthews getting hit with a toilet seat while fielding on the Carisbrook boundary, but worldwide “best stadium” lists now have Forsyth Barr ranking in the company of the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, AT&T Stadium (formerly Cowboys Stadium) in Texas and Wembley in London.

My stadium love ends by saluting the decision-making legends who were the enablers – providing me with a varied diet of world-class events any entertainment nutritionist would recommend.