Well, I never did find that blasted unicorn last week. But, MAN, did the Tide Roll in. And out. And over us. They went through us without much hesitation. In other words, they put a whuppin on us. I am sure there are many more teams on their schedule that are going to take one from Alabama this year. Their fans were great and from all appearances, our fans served as pretty good hosts. I just wish the football team had not been so neighborly.
We did spend a lot of time on planning the logistics on getting people into and then back out of the stadium and covering for the loss of 2500 parking spaces due to rain. We had about 60 buses and drivers that we rounded up from local bus companies. Early Saturday morning we went to their barns and briefed the drivers on their individual routes, provided them with maps on where they would pick up and drop off, pre-game and post-game protocols. We even had little slips of paper printed out with the bus number/route number and information on how to get back to the parking lots across town after the game. The slips were handed out to people as they got off the bus near the stadium. All in all, we worked a good plan.
If you ever find yourself in this position, you will have limited time to develop your response. If you have to do it once, assume that the future will bring at least a second time. Our “second” time came about 23 months after the first. The police may try to change your plan once it has been set in motion. That can ruin an otherwise good day.
I got my first such call at 0810 on game day telling us they were changing up a couple of the bus routes. Why they had not raised the objection 48 hours earlier when we provided the information in writing to them, I don’t know. Why they did not object when we were in our planning meetings I will never be able to fathom. But someone always panics at the crack of dawn on D-Day and that is always a critical time. Suddenly, we had grave concerns on our drivers ability to follow an alternate route in a town with which they were not familiar. The little notes we had provided people on at least one route were suddenly incorrect.
There are so many things that you can do if you sit down and work it out before the Tide rolls in. There is probably a complete book to be written on the subject.
Finally, trust your transportation gut instinct. You are probably more correct than the cops. Any of you out there still packing and wearing the badge, don’t take this as a swipe at you all. I am a graduate of the Pennsylvania State Police Academy in Hershey, PA and darn proud of it and the time I spent on the street. It is just that your training and experience does not delve into this area as it is more than mere traffic control.
Now we have a week off as we travel to Philadelphia to play Temple. Hopefully, that won’t be the source for another blog.
Doug Holmes, CAPP — Hail to the Lion.