*hit play for added effect*
As some of you know, last season I went to all the home and road games last season. You can read about my travels here. What you’ll notice however is the omission of a report from the OU at Kansas game last season; the final stop on the regular season tour. It was hard to put into writing what happened, so I didn’t. With Road Trip season starting up again this week with me going to Ames and hitting my ninth Big 12 town, I’ve realized I need to finally tell my tale of the weekend the wheels fell off the Schooner Blog.
November 17th, 2017. Right from the start, the Lawrence trip felt different. For the first and only time this season, I was making the drive up solo. My childhood friend Justice went to Kansas and is actually in the same fraternity as me, so we had been planning on this weekend for awhile.
After a long, flat drive through the Flint Hills of Kansas, I finally made it to Lawrence. The town surprised me; I’ve only known Kansas to be flat, but this place was much more hilly, with some streets sitting at 45 degree angles. The town is honestly breathtaking.
However, almost immediately the debauchery started. We had a night out planned, and it honestly all went pretty according to plan, aside from some average coughing from me. We got properly “hydrated”, enjoyed some of Lawrence’s Main Street bars (very, very nice stuff all things considered) and ended the night back home safe with some scalding pizza rolls.
The next morning, everything changed. The cough erupted from a minor inconvenience to a full blown disaster. I woke up in absolute agony, going to the bathroom every ten minutes to cough up. Eventually, it cleared up; after all, this was no time to be sick and there was a full gameday to be had. The game kicked off at 2:30, so time was of the essence to experience all KU had to offer.
Our first stop was a Kansas legend: The Wheel, one of three iconic KU bars known as the Triangle. As the sign in back proclaimed, The Wheel was voted the 3rd best college bar in the nation and it showed. Other iconic bars clean themselves up, advance and develop this sort of attempt at authenticity. Not The Wheel. This is a place that stares time in the face and says “not today”. They still only take cash and space lovingly scarce. Their decor was a beautiful time machine to the glory days of the Big Eight conference, with references to Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado still adorning the walls.
Not every thing however was old and hallowed. Looming over the campus was a massive hotel, The Oriad. This place, spectacularly designed for visiting alumni before basketball games I presume, was incredible. At the top was a rooftop patio that without a doubt was not suited for the frigid and windy weather. The free beer made it more than bearable.
We retreated back to Justice’s house, mere steps from Kansas Memorial Stadium to resume the pregame. After stepping it up a bit, I was sufficiently juiced and ready to handle my self punishment of having to watch Kansas football, cough still present.
Then, we got the call.
I won’t divulge how, but we found ourselves in the place that every college student wants to be for a college football game: the Kansas Field Goal Club. Now, KU obviously doesn’t have a large fan base for football. So what do you do to appease the donors to get them to show up?
Give them unlimited free beer and field level seats.
This was a dream. Being this close to the football game AND free craft beer? What could go wrong?
The game was a great time. However, with the wind hitting me just as hard as the six point beers (actually six point; they were dark), my situation decreased rapidly. The game was perfect; OU slaughtered the hapless Jayhawks. I started to get emotional about actually finishing this wild trip, from Norman to Columbus and all around the Midwest. I teared up a bit. Totally lame, I know. After the game, we made it bad to Justice’s house to recover for the bars…and I go to sleep.
A few hours later, the cough is worse. WAY worse. Some of the worst coughing I’ve ever done in my life. After a few bouts of spitting up blood, Justice decides I need the hospital. I eventually give in, they stick an IV in me and get some prescriptions to fill out in Oklahoma.
Justice drove back with me to Oklahoma; he headed back to his family for Thanksgiving. I was still stick to my stomach from the day before (as I would be the rest of the week), but I felt even worse about how the weekend ended than anything. I still feel bad about it to this day.
Lawrence was a cool town, but I failed to give it justice and it honestly bit at me for a long time. I hate that the journey ended like that. When the Rose Bowl passed, and I made a decision to stay home and save money, I couldn’t stomach to finish writing this. Well, Saturday, the show goes on.
A new journey begins. Let’s hope it ends with a title.