My email said the media buffet started an hour before the first game here in Louisville and would last for two hours.
Iowa State versus UAB, the first game of the day here at the KFC Yum! Center, was set to start at 12:40, meaning the buffet - that glorious, wonderful buffet -- would be from 11:40-1:40. I had an hour and forty minute drive ahead of me, so I set off at 10 a.m. headed southbound toward the House the Colonel built.
I've never been through Louisville on 65 before without a traffic delay, but I was making great time. Sure enough, however, that came to a screeching halt when I hit Scottsburg and sat in traffic for 30 minutes because someone felt like closing I-65 down to one lane so that eight people could stand and watch a backhoe work in the median.
Nonetheless, I had a two hour window, so I was fine and eventually got through that mess without my road rage completely consuming me. I was free and clear... until I hit Louisville.
I'd like to note, I've never actually spent time in Louisville. Sure, I've driven through it on my way to more exciting destinations like Florida and (to a lesser degree) Atlanta, but I've never actually exited until today.
And after today, I can safely say my goal is to never exit again.
I've covered Purdue in the last five NCAA tournaments, in addition to other events in other cities. I'm not a world traveler, but I feel like I've been around a lot of "sports" cities. And I've gotta say, as far as meeting the demands of its events, Louisville is by far the worst.
I drove around this city for more than an hour looking for parking and almost every single garage was full to the max. Those that weren't full gracious advertised "Monthly" parking available for $75. Thanks, guys. The Yum! Center holds 22-thousand plus, and every single one of those fans must have driven their own car. The streets were full. The garages were full. The lots were full. Heck, the alleys were even full for blocks around the Yum! Center.
At one point, I debated parking in Jeffersonville and walking over. But alas, just when I had given up, I found a lot - I'm not even sure if it's an "open past 6" lot - under a bridge somewhere. I may get mugged tonight, but at least I could still make that buffet. I had 20 minutes left.
I walked as fast as I could through the streets of Louisville and made it to the Yum Center just in time to smell what should have been the media buffet, but I was late. Instead, I got to have a Nutrigrain bar the nice lady dishing out the Coke products offered. Wonderful.
After missing my lunch, I settled in to at least test out the WfFi. Of course, I couldn't find the WiFi password posted anywhere and the only person around was Pat Forde. It may have actually just been a guy that looked like Pat Forde, and by that I mean an average middle-aged white dude, but I wasn't about to ask Pat Forde for the WiFi code. (Update: I found him again and looked at his credential. It was Pat Forde.)
So I wandered in search of the almighty WiFi password (or for a look at Allie LaForce, either would work). I found it, eventually, posted on a desk with a man that acted as if I wasn't the first ... thirtieth person to ask for the code today.
Then, I went back to my computer and logged on. I tried logging on and kept getting an error. And another error. I was Googling on my phone trying to fix the problem and restarting and all of those wonderful things you do when you're too timid to ask the gruff guy manning the WiFi password for help.
An hour later, after watching some of the Iowa State-UAB game, I gave up and asked him for some help. He glared at me, glared at my dirty computer screen, and hit "Connect."
He looked at me like I was a fool. I looked at him like I wanted to throw him and my computer out of a window. We both said nothing.
All I can say, ladies and gentlemen, is the Boilers better win to turn this day around.
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