Arena accessibility hampers fans

"I want the Smokies to be economically viable, so am hopeful enough fans will be able to get to the games to make the team some money."

Think of it this way, it could be worse, and in a few days it will be.

School will start, putting hundreds more vehicles on downtown so-called throughways. One likes to assume there was a traffic management plan in place before the downtown project was begun, but, it does not seem to have been well thought out – vehicles are blocked from lanes they are apparently allowed to drive in and nobody knows when or where access to downtown is available because there is no signage and the traffic controllers blend in to the basic environment, just for starters.

Having no idea how to get into the Memorial Center even to pass on the weekly magazines I donate to the library I refuse to pay $50 to join, I gave the game Tuesday night a pass and, depending on the street situation, may delay my first game glimpse of the 2013/14 Smoke Eaters until Halloween or thereabouts.

Said Smokies are 1-1 in exhibition to date and have a couple of local kids I expect to shine at the Junior A level this season, but that may not be enough incentive to get me to traverse the Victoria Street maze.

Like many locals, I am averse to long walks on hard surfaces – they cause serious leg pain – and even more averse to negotiating a minefield, or apparent one, without a map and guide person.

I want the Smokies to be economically viable, so am hopeful enough fans will be able to get to the games to make the team some money. I just don’t want to put in the amount of work that seems to be required to be among them, for now.

• Most people, I am sure, are already bored with the topic of Sochi and the Olympic hockey tournament. The ridiculous sight of NHL players practising without pads or skates, because it is all about the money – as are all things Olympic – coupled with nonsensical responses to the hard bigotry of Russian law from some sides and outright support of that bigotry from others has led my attitude from mildly interested on behalf of the less-wealthy athletes looking for a place to shine to one of disdain for the whole enterprise.

The Olympic movement cannot be flushed soon enough to suit me.

There has to be a better way for us to allow committed pursuers of excellence in poorly-remunerated sports to have a moment in the sun.

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