Wednesday, January 18, 2012

#BIAHRoadTrip The Diary Part XI: Troy's grumpiness, a night out in Columbia and Henry, our cab driver

5:15 pm Day 14
University Plaza Hotel
Springfield, MO
Total Miles: 2461

Road Trip Part-I
Road Trip Part-II
Road Trip Part-III
Road Trip Part-IV
Road Trip Part-V
Road Trip Part-VI
Road Trip Part-VII
Road Trip Part-VIII
Road Trip Part-IX
Road Trip Part-X

This post is brought to you by the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, MO.

As hard as it is to believe, we made it into Columbia, MO, in one piece.

And so did Troy's car. (We still haven't gone to get it serviced, but it stopped shaking and there are still no lights on.)

One thing the drive from Milwaukee to Columbia taught me, however, was that Troy's completely incapable of functioning when he's tired. No joke, this guy spent the entire first half of the Missouri-Texas A&M game in the media room watching the game on TV and getting work done as a form of protest for not getting a seat at the media table for the game. He barely spent any time in the press conference, instead wandering around the bowels of Mizzou Arena opining to no one in particular about how dumb of a decision he made when picking colleges. After the game, when we got back to the hotel, he spent the entirety of the Baylor-Kansas game grumbling under his breath about ... well, I'm not entirely sure.

Tuesday was no better, and that was after he slept for somewhere around 12 hours. To surmise: he went to get breakfast but "forgot" to get me a cup of coffee, he spent seven straight hours sitting in the corner while facing the wall with his head phones on and didn't emerge from his solitude until the Georgetown-DePaul was about to start.

"No. Georgetown's on. We're not watching Michigan."

That was the first thing he said all day.

Some people just weren't built for the road, I suppose.

The good news is that on Tuesday night, we went out and had a couple beers, some Taco Bell at 2 am and some more Taco Bell at noon on Wednesday. I don't know whether it was the beer or because Troy queria Taco Bell, but he was in an infinitely better mood on Wednesday.

Thank god.

(Troy's Interjection)

I'd like to point out that most of what you've been reading is patently false. I'm not a grump. True, I am overly critical, but Rob fails to understand that he's literally giving me nothing to work with here. His attention to detail is borderline-pathetic. His interpersonal skills are sub-par, and outside of typing about college basketball he has almost no redeeming social qualities.

Seriously, take away his Twitter, and he's nothing more than 225-pounds of wasted human flesh.

I wasn't the only one who didn't get a seat at the media table. Rob didn't either, and he was just as pissed. But he's ussually affraid of voicing his opinion because he thinks people will hold grudges and not take him serious as a journalist. Umm, dude, they won't take you serious as a journalist because you a) look like a slob, b) refuse to upgrade your website design. c) refuse to take a stance on anything.

See Rob is soft. He refuses to take a stance, as a writer or a human being. He's going to live his entire life on the fence. Never saying "Yes" yet never saying "No". It's really starting to get to me. His job as a writer is to elicit opinion yet his own is so soft. I'm not saying it's OK to speak your mind all the time. But in this particular situation (The one in which we drive eight hours to cover a game and are treated like manure and forced to sit in an obstructed view seat with no media capabillites), it's OK to stand up and voice your opinion.

But hey, I guess complaining about it to your parents and girlfriend has the same effect.


Speaking of Taco Bell, the lady behind the counter gave me a free soda because she liked my accent. Here it is:

Thank you, lady behind the counter at Taco Bell. That Dr. Pepper really made my day.

The other notable part about the drive from Columbia to Springfield was this pickup truck we saw:

Why in the world do you need a truck painted camo? I'm not trying to be funny or ironic or snarky or anything. That's a legitimate question. Why do you need your pickup truck to blend in to the woods?


I know that Missouri is in a tough situation right now from a Sports Information standpoint -- their old SID took a job at Houston and they haven't hired a full-time replacement -- but the difficulty we had in actually getting credentials and being able to actually get into the game really killed any desire I have to get back and cover the game.

Full disclosure: we didn't actually have credentials to this game until six days before the game. And if I told you who we actually had to go through to get a response from the school, you would laugh. Hint: its not someone employed by the school. Six emails went unanswered. Five phone calls went unreturned. I know those guys are really, really busy, but the lack of communication was fairly astonishing.

Even if they had emailed us back and said "eff off", I would have been ok with it. That's happened to us before and we figured out a way to get press passes to the games. But to not have any response? To not only be clueless as to whether or not we were going to be able to get into the game but to have no help directing us towards the right person to contact?

That's frustrating.


We were exhausted at this game.

I guzzled about six diet cokes on top of the three coffees I had leaving the La Quinta Inn and Troy was, well, a grump the whole time. If it wasn't for the nachos supreme I ate from the concession stand, I'm not sure I would have made it through the game.

That's what an eight hour drive on three hours of sleep at the end of a six-game-in-six-day stretch will do to you, I guess.

At least I wasn't this guy, though:

The best part about this picture is that it took me about 10 seconds to actually get the picture snapped. And as you can tell from the guy sitting next to Mr. Sleepyhead, I was pretty much busted. But on this trip I've learned how to play off what I'm taking a picture of because, frankly, I don't know if people would be too happy about the fact that I am taking pictures of their license plates.

So after he saw me take the picture, I turned about a quarter of the way around and looked directly at the student section. I held my phone up for about five seconds to make it look like I was taking another picture of the crowd:

Then I took a step towards the court and pretended to take a picture of the stands:

They had no idea. Smooth, Rob. Really smooth.


After the game -- and after watching the Baylor game -- we both pretty much crashed, and the next morning we woke up and literally spent the entire day working. We had a lot of content to catch up on, so Tuesday was a perfect day to have off.

Eventually, once we were all caught up on what we had to get done, we made the decision to head out and see the sites and sounds of Columbia. Per a recommendation, we went to Shiloh Bar and caught the final minutes of Kentucky's blowout win over Arkansas and Florida State's win over Maryland. We were hoping that the bar would be packed with Missouri fans looking to destroy Mike Anderson, but alas, the place was fairly empty.

That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, either. At this point, some peace and quiet with a flat screen TV and a tall, cold glass of beer (I tried out a Kansas City brewery called Boulevard, which makes a delightful IPA. Troy was a fan of their wheat beer as well.) is far from a bad thing. We got to chatting with the bartender (whose name, unfortunately, escapes me right now, which means that he did his job successfully. Andy maybe?) and discovered that he was very, very knowledgeable about not only Missouri's hoops team, but about college basketball in general.

And I'm guessing that the Knob Creek he was pouring us made us sounds like pure geniuses.

After Shiloh Bar shut down, we headed over to this place called Bengal Bar which is your standard, college bar. The beer is cheap, the bathrooms are gross and the place was packed. We lasted about an hour there before finally deciding that we were done being the old creepy guys at a college bar.

It was obvious. And it made me uncomfortable. I think Troy was loving it, though. I'm pretty sure I spotted a fist pump or two in there.

(Troy's interjection)

Rob's idea of going out is sitting at an empty bar, talking to the barkeeper, sipping on bourbon, or gin, or whiskey. Maybe rye, I'm not exactly sure. He absolutely hates packed bars with loud music and attractive women. If he even sees a guy in khaki pants or a button-down shirt, he's outta there. I think it's an inferiority complex.

We literally stumbled upon Bengal Bar. I used my iPhone to find the nearest bar, and it just so happened to be one packed to the brim with college students. I loved it there. It was the perfect bar for somebody who's already 5 or 6 beers deep, which we were. There were attractive women everywhere, I mean everywhere. Ones with southern accents too.

Naturally, Rob was uncomfortable and wanted to leave.

But that's Rob for ya. He so detests the "preppy college douchebag" stereotype that he fails to realize that even if somebody is wearing khakis and a button-down, they might not necessarily be a douchebag. Maybe it's because he feels awkward, like he won't fit in. But think about it, at 1:00am at a dark, loud bar, will anybody really notice? Will anybody even care?

I just don't get it. I couldn't turn around without running into an 8+. We're from the East Coast suburbs. We don't run into women like this on the regular, or hell, ever. Leave your big boy thoughts at your girlfriend's house and let's get hammered.

That being said, his girlfriend is probably happy with his actions/decision that night, which I know for a fact must be first. Rob's known for making poor decisions at the bars.

But for once man, just be a team player.


The best part about our night out in the Columbia was our cab driver. His name was Henry and he was about 70 years old and had spent his entire life in Columbia:

During our rides to and from downtown, we had a couple of pleasant chats with Henry, who is a die hard Missouri fan. And, like our bartender at Shiloh, he's incredibly knowledgeable about the teams he loves. He said he is a big fan of the way this Tiger team plays and that he loves how many of the kids on the team are from the state of Missouri.

He also said that he hates Kansas. And Illinois. A lot.

But he also said that he wants both of the rivalries with those schools to continue. Whenever those teams play, business in the town picks up. More people are at the games or watching the games at a bar, meaning that there are more people out for him to pick up and drop off. That is, in fact, how he makes his living.

It was actually a common theme. The guys at Shiloh Bar said pretty much the same thing -- big games bring in more business, for football and basketball. They were both actually excited about the move to the SEC because they had heard that SEC fans travel very, very well. I hadn't thought much about that fact until these guys mentioned it.

Anyway, we told these guys that we run this website and that we would probably be writing about them. So if you're reading this, thanks for the rides, Henry! And sorry I forgot your name, Andy (?), but you got me drunk. It happens from time to time.

If you are in the Columbia-area I urge you to contact Henry for all you taxi needs


While I'm on the topic of the SEC, this sign was awesome:

These outfits, however, were a bit questionable:

Girls in spandex = awesome. Guys in spandex = too much is visible, bro.


We tried to meet up with Kim English on Tuesday night, but situations out of our control -- and his control -- kept that from happening. Or so he says. I'm pretty sure that he heard about my knowledge of where NBA players went to college and simply got intimidated.

Its cool, Kimmie. You can admit it. I know you got scared.


As frustrating as our trip to Columbia started out, I ended up having a great time there. The atmosphere in the arena was awesome -- the M-I-Z Z-O-U chant is really cool -- and the town has some fun bars.

Right now we are sitting outside the University Plaza Hotel in Springfield, MO, getting ready for tip-off of the Creighton-Missouri State game. Its hard to believe that we've already been on the road for two weeks.

And its even harder to believe that we a) haven't killed anyone, including each other, yet and b) still have 10 days left on the road.

I'd invest in Five Hour Energy stock if I were you.

1 comment:

asher said...

Glad you liked Columbia. It's a great college town. Come back any time!