Jayhawk fans, you could catch the first game of the David Beaty era on the television. If you live in or around Lawrence though, you should come out to Memorial Stadium. At the beginning of this week you could have gotten tickets on Stub Hub for as low as 7 bucks. (As of this morning they were still as low as $23).
Hell, Coach Beaty spent this week marching his wife and kids around the West Campus neighborhood in 90 degree heat to knock on people's doors and personally invite them to this weekend's game with a pair of free tickets.
"He was a nice Texas gentleman. I thanked him for the tickets, and welcomed him to Lawrence," West Campus neighborhood resident Peter Luckey told me. "Then he (Beaty) said 'here, have a few more.' He tried to give me about eight tickets!"
Come on 'Hawk fans. Your new coach is out there taking the route of Jehovah's Witnesses, politicians, Girl Scouts and little league footballers to drum up your support. We should at least celebrate the fact that we once again have a coach physically healthy enough to walk a few blocks. Don't make the fact that he subjected his teenage daughter to that embarrassing endeavor go for naught.
Don't worry about giving me free tix, Coach. Season tickets are once again in my hand. Snicker all you want, cynics. 99 dollars for seven home contests equates to a little more than 14 bucks a game. That's a damn fine deal considering that once you're in the stadium there is nothing holding you to that cheap seat. Until KU football sniffs respectability, it's a sit anywhere affair!
If you didn't already know it, football Saturdays in Lawrence are glorious. Especially early in the season when the weather is still sunny and warm. I prefer night games, but there's something to be said for not having to wait all day to finally see what this Jayhawkified version of the Air Raid offense finally looks like.
Kansas may be known as a basketball school, but during basketball season there is no pregame partying outside of Allen Field House comparable to what takes place around Memorial Stadium on football Saturdays. Why? One, nobody's doing that in the cold brutality of February. And two, the Field House is on the southern side of the campus where there's absolutely nothing to do around it even if you wanted to. That's not the case with the 100 year old crusty, concrete horseshoe of Memorial Stadium more centrally located in Lawrence. There's Louise's West (7th & Arkansas), Rick's Place (9th & Illinois), and north of the stadium on Illinois, Alabama and Maine Streets, you'll find two blocks of nothing but a huge party with music, people parked in yards and hundreds of freshly purchased Jayhawk jerseys with numbers of players nobody even knows yet.
Before you head into the stadium, hit the south side where you'll find white tents full of departmental tailgate parties going up the hill toward the campanile. Pretend to be a Law or Business student and help yourself to all the free drinks and food you want! Don't have the perpetual baby face to pull that off? Don't worry, there's always a tent for non-traditional students as well. I've done this so many times that I don't even bring money to the stadium anymore.
Once in the stadium, you'll find the huge student section filling with loud and perhaps too intoxicated kids... for the first half at least. Most of the time - even when KU was good, but especially with KU in its current non-competitive form - two thirds of those students leave at halftime, never to return. That's when you can kick back and relax as you watch the rest of the game in what feels like a quiet tennis match atmosphere.
I can't deny I've witnessed a lot of heinous football played in Memorial Stadium, but I can honestly say that I've never had a bad time there.
But don't take it from me. I possess an unhealthy addiction to football and would be there good or bad, rain or shine. Instead, think about your coach. Beaty has been out around town asking you nicely to attend, like a patient parent asks their kid just to try the bitter tasting food before saying they hate it.
Pinch your nose and swallow down the rotting corporeal mess that Beaty is trying to make better. Who knows. You just might find out it's not as bad as you thought it would be.