The Norman Transcript

October 20, 2013

Lawrence, Kan. not a bad place to visit

By Clay Horning
The Norman Transcript

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Memorial Stadium isn’t exactly centrally located on Kansas’ campus. At the same time, the entire campus is unto itself like no other in the Big 12.

Though you can see the campus from city streets — much of it may be a few hundred feet above the rest of Lawrence — you can’t begin to see the stadium, which may be at the campus’ lowest point, at the bottom of a mammoth grass hill.

Also, though it seats 50,000, the south end of the stadium is completely open but for a large video board. Also, it’s the only stadium in the conference still surrounded by a track, complete with cutouts for a long-jumping straightaway, a high jump area an a pole-vaulting pit.

But for the extra distance from the field the track creates for fans, it seems like a great place to watch a football game. Winning, however, would help. Aided by a few thousand Sooner fans, the stadium still might have been just two-thirds full for the kick.

Nice place to get married: Looking a little bit like a medieval castle, The Oread is a hotel located on the Kansas campus, there to house visiting VIPs and, maybe, to add another level of coolness to an already cool campus. 

It might be the highest point on campus and includes at least two terraces that rise substantially higher than the east side of Memorial Stadium’s highest point. And, while OU and Kansas were toiling inside the stadium, The Oread appeared to be preparing for an outdoor wedding.

According to Wikipedia, in Greek mythology, an Oread “was a type of nymph that lived in mountains, valleys and ravines.”

Nice entrance: About 20 minutes before the kick, the Kansas band — “The Marching Jayhawks” — charged out of eight different stadium entrances on the south side of the stadium, ran down the steps between bleachers, onto the track and then onto field, in formation. And, once on the field, the band was fairly impressive, too.

They may not be “The Marching Aggie Band” of Texas A&M, but the Marching Jayhawks are an underrated bunch.

Nice players: Kansas doesn’t have that rich a football history, yet some big-time players have come through Lawrence, including two NFL Hall of Fame running backs in Gale Sayers and John Riggins, both of which are enshrined on Kansas’ ring of honor along an interior wall on the north side of Memorial Stadium. 

Also on that ring is Nolan Cromwell, the former NFL All-Pro safety with the Los Angeles Rams, but also the quarterback of the Kansas team that handed the Sooners their lone loss, 23-3 at Owen Field, during the 1975 national championship season.

Clay Horning

Follow me @clayhorning

cfhorning@normantranscript.com