I've been to Allen Fieldhouse on the campus of the University of Kansas a half dozen times. I've seen about that many games there and none was particularly notable. But every time I've been to the arena -- the focal point of the south sector of the main campus -- it's been a special experience; the venue where I've most keenly felt an organic link to the sporting past.
Oddly, basketball is not what I think of first when I walk through the doors of Allen, so named for legendary coach Dr.
The second most striking feature -- no, it's not the basketball court itself, which is named for Naismith, who was the university's first coach -- are the KU Hall of Fame portraits located in the east lobby, big, bright vibrant things. There's Ryun and
Allen is not a dome, nor a glittering jewel, nor some megaplex named for an investment banker who gave $10 million so he could be remembered in perpetuity. It is a "fieldhouse" in every sense of the word, named for a man who played under Naismith, then coached himself at Kansas for 39 years, sending others such as
Oh, the things that have happened at "the Phog" as it's called, though I prefer Allen Fieldhouse. In Phog's final game against Oklahoma State's
A lot of good stuff that doesn't have cobwebs on it happened in Allen, also -- Manning played some pretty good games there -- but, to me, what Allen Fieldhouse is about is preserving the past. Let's hope that some future Board of Trustees or college president doesn't get the bright idea to start "modernizing" and "expanding" and turning it into some place that would have ol' Phog turning over in his grave. Whatever's wrong with Kansas, it's not Allen Fieldhouse.