When it comes to the newpress box at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, I feel like a kid starting his first day of school.
Friday is the big day. That evening, K-State opens the 2013 football season against North Dakota State. But more importantly, I’ll cover my first game from the expansive new press box on the west side of the stadium. It’s a multi-million dollar facility and I’m pretty sure they built it just for me.
Obviously, I have spent a lot of time in press boxes over the years. From small booths that could barely fit a radio play-by-play man and his color analyst to the mammoth.
A press box is important to me. There was a time, especially when I covered high school football, that I rarely went inside a press box because I preferred walking the sideline to get a better feel for the game. Not anymore. I want all the creature comforts that go with the very best college football press facilities.
The old K-State press box was serviceable, but showing its age. And it was perpetually cold in that facility, whether it was 100 degrees or 10 degrees outside. And, as the Wildcats became a nationally-prominent football program and more and more media types wanted passes, it became crowded. There were big games in which you could barely turn around.
I enjoy the press box at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, which was renovated several years back. It’s plenty big with all of the amenities that make those of us in the media happy. Like space, climate control and a better-than-average pre-game spread.
Thanks to K-State’s long run of success under Bill Snyder, though, I’ve spent a lot more time in the K-State press box. I had my parking pass, my front-row seat. I always arrive at least three hours early for a game – don’t ask, it’s just a habit and one I wish I could break – to get a lay of the land, so to speak.
There have been numerous times when I’m the first media person to arrive in a press box, especially now that my friend and colleague Rick Plumlee is no longer covering Kansas athletics. I’m not sure I ever got to a game earlier than Plumlee. I’m not sure anyone ever got to a game earlier than Plumlee. He must have had the keys to Memorial Stadium and Allen Fieldhouse.
I’m early for everything. I don’t think I have ever arrived late for a game or a function. I cross my fingers that I never have car trouble on the way to a game I cover. I think I would panic.
Friday should be fun, providing the Internet works inside K-State’s new press box. The game will produce an extremely tight deadline, which always make me crazy. I’m prone to throwing my drink on the floor when stressed. But I’ll do my best to avoid doing so inside the shiny new press digs in Manhattan. It’s our responsibility to take care of the place.