Daily Archives: Sept. 12, 2013

Memories of a sports writer

From September through late February or early March, I do a lot of driving.

Many of my trips are just up the road to either Manhattan or Lawrence, obviously, since that’s where Kansas State and Kansas play their home games. Can I get a great big “Duh!” for that one?

Anyway, I enjoy these drives although I’m at the age now where I don’t see as well at night. Did I just actually admit that? How old does that sound?

Sorry, got distracted again. The point of this blog is to talk about the drives I make as I continue to toil away for the newspaper.

I almost always rent a car for these trips, so much so that I have a special relationship now with the men and women over at the Enterprise location at Central and Washington. Most of them know me by now, although the turnover in the rental car industry is quite high. And most of them treat me like I’m something of a big shot.

No, they really don’t. They don’t treat me like that at all and I’m not really sure why I tried to make you believe they did. I think it’s a low self esteem thing, quite honestly.

When I rent a car, I always ask for either XM-Sirius radio or a plug in for my iPod. On my best days, I’ll get a car that has both. But sometimes I get one that has neither, and those are the days I despise.

My route to Kansas State is almost always the same, although there are different ways to get to Manhattan. I prefer the Highway 15 route through Abilene. I rarely take the Highway 77 route through, but do sometimes go for the Highway 177 route through Cottonwood Falls. I got married once in Cottonwood Falls. That doesn’t necessarily distinguish Cottonwood Falls; I’ve been married in several cities. But I just thought it was an interesting tidbit.

My current wife, Debbie, to whom I’ve been blissfully married to for almost three years now and will be married to until she comes to her senses, will not find the previous paragraph to be funny at all. But that’s OK. Multiple-marriage humor is a slam dunk.

The options for the drive to Manhattan at least make it interesting. I often think about using other routes for that trip, but find it difficult to switch from the Highway 15 way because I so enjoy the town of Abilene. I stop at the Casey’s General Store there, then proceed on to Interstate 70 and the drive over to Exit 303.

Manhattan traffic is always difficult, but the improvements to the roads outside of that city have made things easier. And by late fall, I understand, those road projects will be finished.

Meanwhile, there’s really only one way to get to Lawrence. Oh, I suppose I could improvise and take the back roads, but I never have. I’m not sure why, because I’m a back roads kind of guy. Instead, I get on the turnpike at the El Dorado exchange and speed up to KU at close to 80 miles per hour. That’s great, because I remember when the speed limit was 55 and it took extra time to get to these places.

I’ve also done a lot of other driving in my newspaper career, especially down to Stillwater and Norman. In fact, I’m headed for OU on Saturday to cover Blake Bell’s start at quarterback for the Sooners, who play at 11 a.m. game against Tulsa.

Getting to Memorial Stadium in Norman is a nightmare, so I’m headed down the night before to spend the night. Then, to beat the traffic, I’ll head over to the stadium around 8 a.m. because I’m nervous about finding my parking spot.

Covering a college football game on Saturday is a mission, really. First there’s the drive, then finding the parking spot, then walking to the press box, then getting set up, then figuring out how to get online, then taking part in the pre-game meal, then figuring out to do with the two hours still left before kickoff.

After the game, there are the interviews downstairs, then the long walk back to the press box, then trying to come up with something to write, then packing up everything, then walking back to the car, then driving home.

Feeling sorry for me yet?

Nah, I didn’t think so. It’s a great job and covering college football games on Saturdays is a lot of fun. I’m fortunate to do what I do. Maybe that’s why I’ve been doing it as long as I have.

Have a great rest of your day, everyone.