Saturday, April 01, 2006

Peeks of The Valley

March 3rd, second day of trip. 3/2's total cash spent: approximately $40.25. This was good because the mandatory conference shirt had been purchased, so this blog wouldn't be needing any shirt budget for the duration of the St. Louis leg of the trip. PunCity did go to the Gateway Arch in the morning.

Let this blog first say that it seems infinitely easier to get into the city of St. Louis than to get out. While it's probable that going in during the day and leaving at night makes it a lot easier on the entry leg, there's also a bunch of One Way streets that lead into the downtown area, and seemingly far fewer "exiting" One Ways.

The Arch was pretty cool, fairly convenient parking, and the staff and a couple school groups were nice enough to allow this blog to skip in front of them so PunCity could get through quickly. This blog was able to get some decent pictures of the new Busch Stadium from the Arch, which provided a cool vantage point. Looked like they had quite a bit of work to do though, their home opener is against the Brewers 4/10.

Also somewhat cool in the Arch was the tram that carries people to the top. Because of the curve in the structure, a regular elevator doesn't work. So engineers created a system that is part elevator, part escalator, and part rollercoaster. (This blog is paraphrasing the tape they play when you go up). Conveniently enough, the Arch was close to a train that takes you to Savvis Center. Because parking is fairly expensive near the stadium, this blog just figured it'd stay parked at the Arch all day and not have to worry about Savvis parking for the day. This meant PunCity begrudgingly used public transportation, but it turned out alright.

The way St. Louis's Metro works is that you buy a ticket at the vending machines at each station, then have it validated with a time stamp (at some point, this blog wasn't paying attention as to when and where). Some types of tickets come pre-validated, and this blog grabbed a 1-way pass that was of the pre-validated variety, with a timestamp of 10:45 AM. No one checked tickets though, so this blog thought it was a little weird. This site later found out that from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, riding the distance this blog did was free. So that sucked. Public Transportation strikes again, right?

Oh well, big day of basketball on the slate with 4 games to be played and the best 8 teams in the tournament all in action. Picked up a rubber wristband from the outdoor Army National Guard stand, also won a State Farm flashlight keychain. A new stand was up, this one for the Missouri Valley Conference, conducting an economic impact survey. Since this blog's major was Economics, it was kind of cool to be part of some base data, but especially cool was the free MVC pen that they gave this site for taking the survey. It goes well with a Big West Conference pencil this blog won last year.

Indiana State's band, playing in a loss to Wichita State, entertained with some cool songs. "Takin' Care of Business" by BTO, "Vertigo" by U2, and "Another Loser Anthem" by Good Charlotte were some good ones that this blog hadn't heard from a band as yet.

Some additional game notes:

-Wichita State's mascot, Wushock, looks pretty cool. Wichita State fans take full advantage of their team being named the Shockers. The "shocker" hand gesture is used by cheerleaders for the "Lets go Shocks!" cheer, and also appears on independently produced t-shirts. This beyond the fact that multiple WSU fans were seen with the "Shock 'em" foam hands. On a completely unrelated note, WSU's cheerleaders were very good. Probably the best squad of the trip.

-Saw WSU's Karon Bradley, transfer from Marquette, play. He would be the first of 2 Marquette transfers playing in the conference tournaments.

-Savvis Center french fries were very good. Cheeseburger was alright, but mainly because this blog was starving.

-Some good names for cheerleaders: Bradley's team is the "Bravettes," and Evansville's is the "Acettes." Probably the best of all is Missouri State's "Sugar Bears."

-More band reports: Creighton played "Knock On Wood" featuring a cowbell; both Bradley and Creighton played the Black Eyed Peas' "Mass Hysteria." Bradley's band played "Wipeout," but the cool part was that they brought a remote-control shark fin which they had "swim" around the court while it was playing.

-Got a free Army National Guard towel from the stand, plus another MVC pen.

-Randy Mayfield sang the national anthem for session 1, to start off session 2, he sang "God Bless America. He was introduced as "internationally known," which this site is dubious of despite it probably technically being true.

-Evansville's road jerseys (sorry, not the greatest picture) look like the old-school Phoenix Suns jerseys.

-All of the Savvis Center's beer/soda/candy vendors have extremely annoying, ear-piercing calls, but it very rarely failed to get this blog's attention.

-After this blog told a soldier at the Army National Guard stand that PunCity was from Wisconsin, his reply was "What, are you lost?"

-The Southern Illinois dance team was very attractive. SIU's band played "We Will Rock You," at which point the Northern Iowa mascot, TC, did the motions of Dodgeball's Globo Gym Purple Cobras.

-There were 2 one-armed dudes in the building at the same time. Probably the first time this blog has noticed that anywhere.

-A couple fans were using the zoom feature from their digital camera as a binoculars substitute.

-Northern Iowa's band played "Danger Zone," "Enter Sandman," and the song that Packer fans cheer "Go Pack Go" to. The Enter Sandman rendition came with choreography, so that was kinda awesome.

-Near the end of the 4th game of the day, a pair of clean-up crew members came out of the tunnel next to this site's section. Here's their conversation:

Dude #1: "What'd they go? 3 games today?

Dude #2: "4"

Dude #1: "4??!! Fuck, man! Fuck!"

Apparently cleaning 4 games' worth of mess was not an enjoyable prospect.


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