Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Memorial Coliseum

Last night the basketball Wildcats played in Memorial Coliseum for the first time since 1976. From what I understand, the place was rocking with the capacity crowd. The coliseum has hosted many events in the 30+ years including all the women's basketball, volleyball and gymnastics competition, so it was interesting to me, to notice that they had erected portable light stands for last nights game.

I have been down along this section of Avenue of Champions before at night and it is quite dark right in front of the building. It also is a little difficult to see along Lexington Av. in front of the Wildcat Lodge and the Craft Center, so I realize the reason for the auxiliary lighting system. The one thing that I cannot understand is why, with the recent emphasis on safety, this area is not better illuminated.

This is all University property and the usual occupants/participants are students. The sports activities are largely female oriented and they let this space remain poorly lit? What are they thinking? There are dorms on the west side of the Coliseum and restaurants and the Euclid Av. corridor on the east, so that anyone coming home after working or partying has to traverse this dark stretch. The rest of Euclid does not appear to be this dimly lit. so why is this area allowed to be?

On a little bit brighter note, I was talking with a colleague the other day and we have had an idea that maybe, just maybe the Wildcats should play one game a year in Memorial, just for the students. Imagine, if you will, how the building would be filled with a crowd as rabid as the eRupption zone. It would remind me of Duke's home court, or the old Allen Fieldhouse, or even when UK used to go to Florida and the fans would be right up next to the court. It could make it a very difficult place to play if you are the opposing team.

I can't say as I can remember my first time in Memorial, but it is just as old as I am. My dad bought season tickets from its opening until they moved his seats to Rupp. They were great seats, second row, opposite the home bench, right behind the cheerleaders. He usually had at least two harsh phrases toward the cheerleaders every game. Wayward ball were commonplace and side outs were only five to ten feet away. I got to attend at least one game a year, each of us kids did up until mom got sick and passed, then we went more frequently. I swear, my dad knew everybody in the building, or so it seemed.

I would like to hear others thoughts and memories on Memorial Coliseum if you would like to share them.

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