Archive for Friday, August 29, 2008

Mayer: Pay to park? Please!

A space in the lone on-campus, tailgate-friendly lot designated for parking by people outside the Williams Educational Fund - lot 90, east across Naismith Drive from Allen Fieldhouse - will cost $20 this season, up from zero a year ago.

August 29, 2008


You get all agog about a football team and its prospects, then have a jug of Gatorade dumped on your enthusiasm when facing the perils of parking, which so many Kansas fans have to conquer.

With the Jayhawks coming off a 12-1 Orange Bowl season and hopes soaring for 2008, wouldn't it be wonderful if there were simpler ways to get to the stadium and luxuriate?

Gets tougher and costlier every year.

Now once-free vehicle slots are demanding $20 ($40 if your metal monolith devours two niches).

To draw the treasury-boosting crowds KU desires and needs, it takes a good team and recent success. It would be so much more fun if it were simpler to get there. Scrounging around to park, closer than Eudora, can lessen the festivity of gridiron outings.

However, there may not be a school in the country with an ideal parking layout for everyone. The guys who chose Mount Oread as the site for KU never dreamed there would be motorized onslaughts such as we see today.

Just dreaming - wouldn't it be fun to park, casually amble not too far to the stadium and visit with fellow fans? Then do likewise after the game, either celebrating or commiserating?

I envy people who have established a rapport with residents adjacent to the stadium where they can park, enjoy get-togethers before and after, then depart with relative ease. Never thought I'd feel that way, but they have more fun than the park-and-shuttle victims, who've already paid dearly for tickets and now have to add parking lugs.

Think back, if you can, to when Friday nights involved almost-mandatory attendance for Lawrence High games at Haskell Stadium, when the Lions were fashioning things like 47-game win streaks and perpetual state titles. You didn't need a press pass to park fairly close and get out reasonably soon.

When you have easy, free parking access to athletic events, they tend to be a lot more enjoyable, particularly the older you get. KU never has had ideal conditions; things aren't getting any better. Yet most won't gripe as long as the Jayhawks "just win, baby!"

l I wanted to hug every member of the women's U.S. Olympic basketball team as they stood on the gold-medal stand and sang, some tearfully, the national anthem. They were overcome with the occasion, and so was I as they smiled, cried and sang with such immense pride.

Felt the same way about the U.S. gold medal men's volleyball team. Several members began to sing, and the others picked up on it and all finished mouthing "the land of the free and the home of the brave." Yeah, I'm hokey, old-fashioned, but I'm glad to find some company among the modern jocks and halter-tops.

l Sorry if you think it's sacrilegious to criticize swimming giant Michael Phelps, but I thought he showed a glaring lack of grace when 1972 icon Mark Spitz was paying Phelps all those compliments during a dual interview. Phelps seemed almost studiously avoiding a simple, sincere "Thanks, Mark!" Or, "I'm humbled." So self-immersed he missed a great chance to show the kind of class Spitz did.


Jim Williamson 9 years, 9 months ago

Welcome to the world of being competitive, Bill. I know those annual 63-10 drubbings by Nebraska and Texas were fun and all, but some of us are willing to pay to not have quite so much fun. And I'm surprised you didn't mention anything about the 1948 KU team. I usually set the over/under on pre-1960 sports references in your column at 2.5.

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