Thursday, April 8, 2010
Welcome to the Morgue
Despite my worst efforts, I am proud to say I graduated from Furman University in 1997. Although the classes were boring and I tried not to go to them very often, I greatly enjoyed my time there. I do have one bone to pick, though. As a big fan of NCAA basketball there was one thing missing from campus during my term of matriculation: a basketball arena on the campus.
During those years and many before that time our team played their games at Greenville Memorial Auditorium in downtown Greenville. Since I didn't have a car for most of that period and I would have been too drunk to drive one anyway, I was unable to attend any games. Needless to say, I was intrigued and excited to find that, as a part of Furman's plan to simultaneously employ every construction worker in the state,an on-campus facility was being built in time for the 1998 season (better late than never I suppose). Also, my home town team, the College of Charleston - the school where my parents had worked all my life - would be joining Furman's conference that very season.
My excitement lasted about as long as two halves of basketball. The College of Charleston Cougars were not at fault, as they escaped with an easy win (they are roughly 11-2 when visiting Furman since becoming members of the Southern Conference). The problem I had was the new vacant cavern the administration at my alma mater was deigning to call a basketball facility.
Never in my life have I attended a sporting event in a less-suitable place. The crowd is completely taken out of the action by the architect before the opening whistle is even blown.
If you have been to a Furman sporting event you might ask how the zombies we have for fans could be made even less effective. Good question! Trust me, the administration found a way. The seats are set up in tiers that shoot quickly backwards as they go up and so are removed further and further from the action on the floor. By the tenth row you would need a megaphone for anyone participating in the game to hear your vicious catcalls.
The stadium is known as Timmons Arena, but "The Morgue" would be a more appropriate moniker. The great open areas that surround the playing area and the grandstands allows the little bit of noise created by the fans to filter right out of the building. One wonders if the architect was aiming to make the place as quiet as possible. If so, in the words of Borat, "Great success!"
I have long given up on attending games just to see Furman play, but I make a pilgrimage every year to see the College of Charleston game. During this year's game I thought for the first twenty minutes that I was in a library. Only at the very end of a match-up that was very close for the majority of the second half did there appear to be more than five fans in attendance.
Is it too early to tear down Timmons Arena and try again? Why not? Let's get those construction workers employed once more. We can stimulate the economy and vanquish "The Morgue."