As a follow-up to my piece on 10 Things to Do in Orange County After You Win Pans, here are a few tips you should know about the Bren Events Center that should aid in your experience as a competitor or spectator. The Bren Events Center is a great venue, but it definitely has a few quirks about it that makes it unique.
Long Lines to for Competitor Check-Ins: If you are scheduled to compete early, get there really early. The lines are can get really long and slow, which can create a stressful situation and waste valuable time that can be used to relax, warm up or go over your game plan. If you are scheduled to go at 9:00 AM, be there by 6:30 AM just in case so that you can check-in and start prepping for the big day.
Black Belt Coaches Area: The first level bleachers at the Bren Events Center are folded up to fit the 12 mat spaces. All of the spectators and competitors are limited to watching the matches from the elevated second level. However, IBJJF registered Black Belts are allowed in the mat side coaching area. Last year, my coach was able to renew his Black Belt registration with the IBJJF at the event in order to get access to the Black Belt coaching area prior to his first competitor stepping on the mats. Non-registered coaches and lower belt coaches are limited to the second level that is 20 yards away from the mats where it is much more difficult for the competitors to hear the coaches.
Showers and Locker Rooms: The nice perks of competing at Pans are the locker rooms and showers underneath the bleachers. There are both men’s and women’s locker rooms where you can change and shower instead of trying to change in a smelly public rest room or cramped rest room stall.
Intramural Field Behind the Gym for Warm Ups: The area outside of the competitors bullpen can get pretty crowded. Also the venue’s concourses aren’t ideal for warm-ups. Since So Cal is all but guaranteed to have great, sunny weather, warming up outside is a great option. There is an intramural field called Crawford Field that is roughly the size of two to three football fields behind the venue where you can jog, run sprints, or stretch prior to your weigh-in.
Brazilian BBQ and Acai Bowl Stands: Don’t waste your money or appetite on hot dogs, pretzels, and nachos. There is a large semi-covered area in the venue with a Brazilian BBQ and an Acai Bowl stand. Like most concessions at sporting events, the BBQ and Acai are a bit pricey. BBQ will run $8 to $20 and an Acai Bowl will cost $10.
Also, don’t forget to pick up your t-shirt! Hope these tips help you with your experience at Pans. Good luck and have fun!