Ever since I began following sports in elementary school, the rumor has been impossible to escape.
Allen Fieldhouse is the most impressive college basketball arena in the country.
Whether it was hearing Jay Bilas brag about it on SportsCenter, reading about it in the Kansas City Star or hearing my friends describe it during conversations at sports bars, Allen Fieldhouse has always been hailed as this magical venue that has no equal.
For years I attempted to ignore the claim, convincing myself that it couldn’t be true. But that was just the inner K-State fan in me. Deep down, I’d always secretly wanted to check “attending a game at Allen Fieldhouse” off my sports bucket list – if anything just to see for myself what all of the fuss was about.
Saturday, I had that chance.
KU had a Big 12 match up against Baylor that tipped-off at noon. As we drove down Naismith Drive and pulled up to the arena at 11:30, I could already sense we were in for something special. Scalpers were everywhere selling tickets, policeman directed floods of people across the street and television trucks line the parking lot just to the side of the gym. There doesn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house. Only issue was that it was extremely hot in that arena. Being that it was NBA All-star weekend it was homecoming for several celebrated KU alumni in attendance. Joel Embiid, Nick Collison, and Ben McLemore were all seated behind the KU bench and hardly seemed bothered by the autograph seekers that surrounded them before tip-off.
The introductory video before every home game is exceptional. I have never been a KU basketball or even followed the program that closely but that video gave me chills. The tradition and history behind the program is something I truly never appreciated until I experienced a home game for myself. I can now understand the entitlement of Kansas basketball fans that I once found to be so annoying. I will admit a bit of jealousy. Growing up a Mizzou fan and going to Kansas State gave me moments of greatness but not much as far as a rich basketball history, or at least nothing close to the KU level.
The energy during that game was something special. The noise level was through the roof and had everyone pumped up. The Fieldhouse came alive when the game started and the chanting didn’t stop until the game was over. The incredible thing about Allen Fieldhouse is that it is like that for every single game. I am use to Bramlage Coliseum where only the biggest rivalry games can even try to contend with that Allen Fieldhouse crowd. It is no surprise that opponents have such a difficult time competing in that arena. I can’t imagine there is a more difficult place to play in all of college basketball.
If you’re a basketball fan of any sort, do what you can to attend a game in Allen Fieldhouse. The atmosphere is unmatched, the history is staggering, and it is an overall amazing experience. I will definitely be going back. I was also very impressed with the Lawrence night life, gave me a run for my money. The Outhouse is a fine establishment, I must say. If you see Destini, tell her we say hello!