Parking at Perry and other musings

From the Pressbox: Opinion and Insight

The new construction at Perry High School has meant the loss of the north parking lot (7) leaving those attending any event at Perry only the west (1) and Dewey Field (1) lots available for parking. Source: PCSD.

The winter seasons for high school varsity sports will be starting soon, and I am worried about home attendance for Perry basketball and wrestling.

Crowd sizes for the hoopsters were, in a word, miserable last season. In almost every game the visiting crowd outnumbered our own, including the student sections. Having the boys finish 0-20 and the girls 1-20 was certainly a factor, but both teams should be markedly improved this winter.

Wrestling attendance appeared about the same, but now both sports face a season-long obstacle they are not going to be able to overcome — a probable lack of convenient parking.

Construction on the new north-side additions at PHS has closed off half the available parking, and once the ‘front’ lot is filled, overflow will be asked to go to the gravel lot adjacent to Dewey Field. Good luck with that.

I am not the only observer concerned that, once the weather turns cold and/or foul, folks are not going to park so far away for an event. The elderly as well as those trying to horde youngsters might be given reason to pause and reconsider.

How in the world the school is going to accommodate the already overflowing crowds for the mid-January Bluejay wrestling tournament will be a site to see. Disaster looms, methinks.

One possibility is the running of golf carts or similar means of conveyance, but I was — literally — both laughed and scoffed at by several school officials when the idea was broached. There are, of course, good reasons against such a plan, but also others that would support it.

The issue is going to be exacerbated when softball and baseball seasons arrive. Parking is already a bother for both events, and will now be even worse. Sparse home crowds are unlikely to grow if it will require a long hike just to reach the gate, never mind the bleachers.

I have long been flummoxed that the softball and baseball players are not required to park in the west/front lot, leaving the nearby northern spots open for fans. Now those northern lot spots are gone for a season. Uh-oh.

And that means the cagers and wrestlers will now be parking in front of the school, eating up even more available space.

The new construction is a worthwhile project, and one I supported at the poll. The inconvenience is temporary and understandable, but it is going to have an effect — maybe a much larger one than anticipated — and to pretend otherwise serves no good.

Popular indoor events at the high school or performing arts center already face parking issues, as anyone attending one will know. Not all ballgames are going to draw such crowds to begin with, but now scores of spots are gone, adding to the possible problem.

I might have it wrong. It might just all work out. For the sake of the kids, who deserve much better home support than they already receive, I hope I am wrong. Time will tell.

The most recent College Football Playoff poll is out, and to no surprise the top four remain, in order, LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. Alabama is fifth, Oregon and Utah sixth and seventh and Pennsylvania State eighth, with Oklahoma and Minnesota rounding out the top 10.

The devastating loss of Tua Tagovailoa has made a precarious position even more wobbly for Alabama, but don’t count out the Crimson Tide just yet.

The Iron Bowl is always a battle, and the Auburn defense is one of the best in the country. Alabama would need a win, in my opinion, by 10 or more points (the more the merrier) to give the committee something serious to consider.

Why? Because Auburn beat No. 6 Oregon, and No. 7 Utah has a loss to No. 23 USC. The PAC-12 champ Ducks (or Utes) will have to thump the other and hope they are 12-1 to pass Bama.

All of this is predicated on Ohio State winning out, and with LSU beating Georgia for the SEC title. If ALL of that goes Bama’s way, the Tide should roll in. As Crimson as my blood is, I am not expecting it.

That means a boring Jan. 1 bowl game. Yawn. I know the haters hate it, but Bama fans want to play for the title (or at least reach the playoffs) otherwise the season is a wash.

Meanwhile, in Iowa City, the crowd storms the field for beating Minnesota. What? The Gophers have not been relevant since the 1930s and 40s.

I commented on this on facebook and was immediately savaged by Hawkeye partisans. Hey, I wanted Iowa to win. I understand the furry mammals were rated sixth and undefeated and some pig statue was at stake, but come on.

I am not one to dampen college revelry — party like mad, you won! But storming the field only elevates the opponent, only says “you are so good, this is how excited — and surprised! — we are to beat you in our own stadium!”

Had Alabama beaten LSU you can beat your life savings there would have been no storming of Bryant-Denny. It is a matter of Tradition. And Expectation.


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