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Archive for Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Woodling: Shuttle really is the best

October 16, 2007

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In an effort to humanize Kansas University football players, media relations staffers ask them to fill out a form listing their favorite food, book, movie, etc.

Their answers are compiled, then printed in the combo media-recruiting guide as part of the player's personal profile. I'm not sure who reads them, but I do, probably because of the habitual curiosity of a long-toothed Fourth Estater.

One of the questions - remember, the guide is also used for recruiting - is: What do you like best about KU? You can pretty much guess the answers. The campus, the people, the tradition, school spirit, etc.

Except for junior defensive end Russell Brorsen. His answer made me chuckle. What does Brorsen like best about KU? Park and ride. Yeah, that's what he wrote. Park and ride.

Brorsen was referring to the relatively new park-and-ride lot west of the Shenk intramural fields where students can park for free, then ride a bus to campus. As I mentioned, I laughed when I read Brorsen's comment because it seemed so off-the-wall compared to the other replies.

I'm not laughing anymore. After my experience Saturday, I'm a believer in KU park-and-ride, and I must applaud Brorsen's insight, which, in retrospect, I would not have doubted if I had known he has nearly a 4.0 grade-point average in chemistry.

Normally, KU park-and-ride operates only on weekdays, but when the Jayhawks have a home football game, several of the buses in KU's new 28-vehicle fleet are used to shuttle fans from Lot 90 to Memorial Stadium.

Lot 90 - known to us old-timers as the O-Zone, its previous designation - is located across Naismith Drive from Hoglund Ballpark. You wouldn't want to walk to the football stadium from there, but it's a snap on the shuttle buses and a delight when it's raining, as it was Saturday.

Tailgating isn't allowed in Lot 90, but what the heck. You can tailgate in nearby lots and walk to the shuttle bus stop where there is virtually no wait. As soon as a bus fills, it departs, and another one moves in to take its place.

When you're ready to leave the stadium and return to the lot, the format is the same. And you don't have to wait until the game is over. The buses begin leaving the stadium for Lot 90 at halftime.

And here's the best part: The shuttle buses are FREE. Yes, free. I know it's difficult to believe that anything involving Kan$a$ Athletic$ Inc. wouldn't cost so much as a penny, but it's true.

Of course, once you're inside the stadium, the only freebie is the air. I bought a hot dog for $3 and could hardly liberate the meat from the soggy bun. I also bought a fountain drink for $3.50 that contained more belly-wash than I needed. Too bad they don't offer a smaller size.

Portable chair-back seats that hook onto the aluminum planks go for a pricey $4, with part of the tariff ticketed, a sign says, to support KU athletes. Or perhaps KU athletic department salaries.

Regardless, profiteering is inevitable at sporting events, and it certainly doesn't prevent people from attending. Access, in fact, is probably more of a concern. So if you aren't one of those well-heeled big cigars blessed to be able to purchase a close-in parking space, give the shuttle buses a try.

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