Waiting on Tickets
by Jim Alderson, 8/15/02

Everybody have his or her tickets? After a wild and hairy few days that did much to improve TSLís standing with the Athletic Department, as alarmed Hokies who were not among the first to receive their 2002 ducats placed calls to the Ticket Office declaring "I read on TSL that other people have their tickets. Where the @#$% are mine?" and the boys at TechLocker.com prepare t-shirts for sale inscribed with ĎI survived the Ticket Panic of 02í, most seem to be in the hands of their rightful owners. It was an exciting few days.

I am a savvy veteran of the ticket-distribution wars, having gone through many years and decades of ordering Tech football tickets and anxiously awaiting their arrival, regarding their shipment as one of the surer signs that another season was right around the corner. Despite a few uneasy years in which I wondered if indeed they would show in time for the season opener [they used to arrive via the United States Postal Service-what a crap shoot! - often just days before the first game], I always have emerged from these skirmishes with tickets in hand, waving them over my head like an Apache warrior brandishing the scalp of a slain enemy.

They have always shown up. Competent people are paid to deliver the tickets, and while there always is the chance that the entire distribution could be hijacked by a band of renegade Hoos who had hatched a nefarious plot to steal them, perhaps to shred them to provide confetti for the parade down Rugby Road for algroh in the event he ever breaks .500, the safe and successful delivery is what they accomplish.

I understand, however, that there are many Hokies out there who do not have my years and years of successful experience waiting on the tickets, and, considering the increased demand for them these days as well as the considerable expense involved in their purchase, it is understandable that some of the more recent buyers of season tickets would become disturbed upon receiving the news that their prizes were in transit but not yet in hand. Allís well that ends well, however.

This can become an amusing story to relate years from now when ticket distribution will involve purchasing them over the Internet and immediately printing them out ["My cartridge is dry!"] or, after the bugs have been worked out in transporter technology, Tech simply beaming them to the kitchen table ["You morons- they materialized in a wall"]; when our children or grandchildren are griping about some future ticket snafu we can sit back and inform them, "You think thatís something? I can remember back in the Dark Ages when they actually used to deliver them by hand."

My own ticket delivery was rather uneventful, as I received one of the infamous Tracking Numbers and spent a weekend charting their progress every few hours across the Southeastern United States. Shortly after I received the e-mail from Tech informing me that my UPS Tracking Number was 1Z 555 43W 35 0030 200 3, I logged onto the UPS site and discovered that ĎIn Transití meant my tickets were in Little Rock, Arkansas.

I assumed [mistakenly, I am told], that the shipment had originated in Blacksburg, and found that just a bit odd. During my thirty-some years of traveling from Danville to Blacksburg and vice versa, I have become familiar with the various routes that will get me from one place to the other, but have never once taken, or even heard of one that involved Arkansas. Logistics Management is not my strong suit, however, and I could only assume that there was a good reason for them to be in a state that I have made strong efforts over the years to avoid, and have never heard of anyone being from not named Clinton or Clampett.

There they were, however, and checking the UPS site several hours later, I discovered they were still there, and assumed they were behaving as I do when I find myself holed up in an airport for hours: they had headed to the airport bar and were discovering exactly how dry the bartender could make a martini, and perhaps attempting to strike up a conversation with an attractive shipment of womenís ice skating tickets perched on the adjacent bar stool, and probably having no more luck than I.

I discovered after a Sunday morning visitation to the site that they had caught the red eye to the Raleigh-Durham airport and had either reacted as I once did in similar circumstances when the combination of arriving at RDU at 4:45 am and my hard and fast rule of never flying sober had caused me to check into a nearby hotel for some sleep before attempting the trip home, or UPS had an aversion to working on weekends every bit as strong as my own; they would be delivered Monday.

I decided to spend my Monday at my computer, where a strategically-placed window [a real window, made of glass, not a computer one made of electrons] would allow me to keep an eye on the street, and hunkered down to await their arrival. I was there waiting all day, too, except for a brief period of no more than half an hour when maintaining my income required that I journey out. Naturally, that was the exact time UPS chose to attempt delivery, and I returned to discover what looked like a soccer yellow card affixed to my front storm door; you really had to admire such an exquisite sense of timing.

I was informed that delivery would be attempted again the next day, so, not wanting a red card, I determined I would again await their arrival [it really does not take much to convince me to spend a day at the computer, and, unlike many, I am fortunate enough to be in a position to do so]. Early that Tuesday afternoon, I observed through my computer room window [the glass one] pulling up in front of my house, not Jedís ramshackle jalopy, but a shiny big brown truck.

A friendly UPS employee came to my front door bearing tickets, and after a brief conversation in which I informed him that UPS delivery persons were among the more popular in the state these days, I had my tickets for another year, and hopefully, everyone else does, too. It is just about time for them to be put to good use. BTW, considering they came from Arkansas, I am calling my Marshall tickets Jethro.

Jim Alderson, who first made his mark with his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


          

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