Let's just say Vegas is really not my cup of tea. Let's also say I have to travel there frequently anyway--it's the old allergic to cats / cats love you analogy. And I'm talking, I'm not nuts about Vegas on a regular weekday.
So I can only imagine what it was like there this weekend, after hearing the stories that have come out of the NBA All-Star Game. Given my extensive experience with Vegas (rather than with basketball), I couldn't resist comment.
Of all the things I've heard--cabbies robbed, shootings, fights--it's the lines at the airport thing I still really can't comprehend. I heard about lines literally--literally--a mile long, which, if you've ever been through security at the Las Vegas Airport, you know is certainly possible. For those of you who have been spared the pleasure: rather than being broken up into several terminals separated by corridors, like Logan, the Vegas airport squashes all departing passengers into two lines, one on each side of a weirdly sloping main connecting space. You're either an A / B gate or a C / D gate--A, B, C, and D terminals don't separate until you're past security.
Also, since there's nothing but sprawling desert land out there, the airport building expands horizontally, not vertically. Once through security, you have to walk up to half a mile in some cases and then take a monorail to the actual terminal, if you have a high gate number.
Many's the time I've counted down the final seconds to a departing redeye in the smoking lounge at that airport, and so I know this by heart. I also know from bitter experience that you want to get to the Vegas Airport with as much lead time as you can possibly spare, because of the aforementioned architectural quirks.
But there's still something about it in general that doesn't add up to me. Namely...
Let's say you are a public works engineer for a major US city. All-Star games for major sports leagues are planned years and years in advance. Your city, being a lump of neon in the midst of otherwise uninhabitable badlands, exists solely as a venue for such events. And so years and years in advance you get a notice that the NBA All-Star Game is coming to Vegas. You know the amount of people your airport can reasonably handle. What I fail to comprehend is, given the fact that all you do in Vegas is plan and host events, and you know about this years in advance, AND literal rivers of cash are flowing through your city, why you do not:
1) Calculate the number of people your airport can reasonably handle, and restrict both incoming and outgoing flights at peak times for All-Star Game arrivals and departures.
2) Design a new effing airport, oh, 10 to 15 years ago when you should have, that can actually handle the foot traffic from all the airlines it serves working at maximum capacity.
Not. That. I'm. Bitter.
I have to say, though, as someone who dislikes Vegas, I've gotten a big kick this week out of sports-nut Vegas neophytes asking repeatedly, "Who the hell is Danny Gans?"
Nobody knows, man. Nobody knows.
Oh, and if you thought the Vegas experience was fun, guess which infrastructure-rich American City is gearing up for the 2008 NBA All Star Game? Why, none other than New Orleans!
I can't possibly forsee any problems with that. No sirree.
Here ends what will probably amount to the entirety of basketball coverage on this blog, ever.