Parking is an adventure at every football game
Published 9:00 am Thursday, September 8, 2016
I was running a few minutes late to last week’s Vicksburg-Warren Central football game, and greeted by an unusual sight on Army Navy Drive.
Cars. Brake lights. A traffic jam.
I’ve covered sports in Vicksburg for 18 years, and never have I seen as much pregame traffic for a football game at Memorial Stadium as I did last week. Not for a Red Carpet Bowl, a playoff game, or any other Vicksburg-Warren Central game.
Email newsletter signup
Cars crept along toward the stadium in the slim hope of finding a parking spot. Most had given up and parked along the road, as far back as Confederate Avenue and up the hill on Lee Street.
I’m no stranger to parking a fair distance from our local stadiums. People sometimes joke that they should give the press a prime parking spot, but I actually prefer the Clark Griswold approach of parking further back in the lot to escape the postgame traffic jam.
I’ve covered games where I literally had to walk a mile to the stadium. Covering the Alcorn State at Jackson State football game last year, I wound up across from Newell Field and walked uphill — both ways — to Veterans Memorial Stadium. Newell Field sits on the top of one hill and Veterans Stadium atop another.
I once parked at the ATV dealership on Highway 27 to cover a Vicksburg-Warren Central football. I have some favorite spots that are nowhere near our local stadiums, but those are like favorite fishing holes. They’re staying a secret, lest everyone jump on them.
Last Friday’s traffic jam was something new, though. Usually, the farthest you wind up from Memorial Stadium is the City Park softball fields. I wound up on the hill leading to Confederate Avenue, about 50 yards past that. It set a personal record and burned my calves as I trudged to and from the stadium.
It did put a smile on my face, though.
Parking that far out means there’s a big crowd in the stands, and plenty of excitement for the game. It’s an incredible atmosphere, and what sports is about — people coming together over a common experience, win or lose, and having a good time as a community. That’s good for everybody.
I also got a workout and managed to get into and out of the traffic jam in just a few minutes. So, parking problems? What parking problems?
Ernest Bowker is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at email@example.com