I look forward to football season every year. I really do. But today I’m feeling especially old. Travel on the road to some places is just tough.
There is no good way to get to Auburn. There were a few points early in the summer I was convinced that driving was the best way to get here. Of course, there were some points in the history of Hawgs Illustrated that I chartered a jet and at some points when I was with Stephens Media that we used the company jet.
In the end, I decided that my photographer (Ben Goff) and myself would fly to Atlanta on Friday in the early afternoon, then stay in a hotel near there on Friday night. Then, relocate to Columbus, Ga., on Saturday mid day. Then, fly back to XNA on Sunday afternoon after completing magazine pages via the Internet on Sunday morning.
Oh, well, the best laid plans …
United sent me through Houston on Friday. We are in a United Express 45 passenger jet about 20 miles from Houston when all at once you could see thunderheads over the metro area. Our jet took a right for 10 minutes and then a left. We clearly were not going to Houston.
About 20 minutes later the pilot in a great James Bond voice announced that our plane had been diverted to Corpus Christi where we’d wait out the storm. That was great. Only problem, when the storm had passed, there was no fuel on the tarmac where we sat. About 3 hours later, a fuel truck appeared. They cut off the jets when there is no fuel. There is no air conditioner with no jets running. Oh, that’s fun in south Texas.
Meanwhile, three flights to Houston left for Atlanta. I was 20 minutes away in Corpus.
Finally, a flight attendant who once worked at KTUL in Tulsa and knew me (although I didn’t remember him) advised me to get on my phone and call the United customer call center. Better to find a late night flight with their help than to wait until I land in Houston and go to the customer service desk with everyone else that was coming in with strange requests with all the diverted flights.
Yes, I got one and landed around midnight at Altanta. Ben had earlier connections (and I’m not sure why or how) out of Atlanta. And made it in ahead of the storm by 10 minutes. He beat me to Atlanta by many hours and waited with the rental car (in my name) as I walked out of the terminal.
So, we got to our hotel about 1 am. Drove to Columbus this morning.
I made it to the stadium without further problems, but I got lost in the Auburn stadium. I’ve been in the Auburn press box about 12 or 13 times in the last 26 years. I took the elevator to what I thought was the press box. It’s no longer the press box. It’s seating for the high rollers. A new press box has been built in the southwest corner of the stadium.
How things are changing. I figure at some point the press box in Fayetteville will be moved. They will sell those seats like they did at Auburn. It’s not really an issue with the way I cover the game. I’ll watch replays and cover the game like always. It’s not an open air press box, so it has air condition, unlike the old box at Jordan-Hare.
Next week we will be in a corner of the stadium at AT&T Stadium. In that press box I find myself watching the game live on the video board hanging in the middle of the field. It’s a better view than with my naked eyes.
Guess what, I’m feeling kind of old now. Things are always changing. I guess it’s just the way of progress.
I know it doesn’t really matter to anyone. It’s just my little chance to vent for 10 minutes. Now, it’s back to work getting ready for the game and wondering how my flights will be tomorrow. Oh, United now has me routed through O’Hare in Chicago. Here is my promise, I’ll drive next time. And, yes, I am old.