Football players or soldiers?

The basketball arena across the parking lot from the National Weather Center (where I work) was packed yesterday. The arena's parking lot and even the fields around it were all full of cars. Around 5pm, the roads were completely congested as nearly 10,000 people tried to leave, all at the same time. This morning's paper carried the explanation, that it was the send-off ceremony for 2400 National Guardsmen, the largest deployment of the Oklahoma guard since the Korean war.

Today, one of my colleagues noticed that the highway south of our office building had been blocked just after lunch. A police car went screaming by, followed by 3 buses. Most likely, the OU football team leaving to play at Iowa State tomorrow.

Just put yourself in the role of the Norman municipal administration. Which of these events would you budget traffic control for? A few buses carrying the football team to an airport 5 miles away at 1pm? Thousands of cars full of out-of-towners trying to leave a basketball arena at rush hour?

Knowing Oklahoma, I'm not surprised that the football team merits special handling. But considering that the patriotism angle also plays well here -- we may not sacrifice much, but we will wear our lapel pins and tell the troops how much they are appreciated -- count me disappointed.

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