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bsn BSN: With new facilities, Buffaloes announce their arrival

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Jun 8, 2016.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    It’s a Tuesday morning here in Colorado, the early signs of summer setting in with a sky dotted with the occasional cloud and my allergies clearly affecting my driving. There’s one part of this drive, from Denver to Boulder, I never interrupt.

    Seeing the Rocky Mountains, in particular, the Flatirons, rise from the Boulder Valley below never fails to floor me. A view like this one, like former Colorado football head coach Bill McCartney so often sold, can change one’s course in life. It can fundamentally shift how you view the world, your world.

    With regard to how I view the Colorado football program now, not the one run by McCartney or anyone after him before Mike MacIntyre, the view you see above this article has the same effect. It has changed me and the perspective I have on the program I’ve been, once again, tasked to cover.

    Normally, this is where I’d stick a photo gallery for you all to view, featuring just the right angle on the Heisman Trophy in Legacy Hall so that the light reflected off the trophy’s helmet towards the ceiling and not the camera. The indoor practice facility, that’s where I’d walk to midfield and angle my camera just flat enough to catch the entire logo in the frame. Then, I’d obviously show off the exterior, mimicking the campus’ iconic stone.

    But the problem with doing that, is the fact that pictures simply don’t do these facilities justice. I had tried so hard before walking through them myself, pretending I could scale the IPF in my head and imagine it in real life. It doesn’t work. None of the pictures I’ve ever seen of the Champions Center have come close to what I witnessed in person, what so many who have taken a tour have witnessed.

    It is with that in mind that I’ll attempt to document my visit and its significance solely through the written word. If you’re looking for athletic’s facility porn, you’ve come to the wrong place…the right place would be right here.

    Before now, the athletics facilities at Colorado were always a step, or nine, behind competitors. Weight rooms were cramped and the floors of the Dal Ward Athletic Center rattled with each barbell dropped by a player, a reminder that the facility was shared by so many CU athletes, coaches, and administrators—too many.

    In a town—hell—on a campus, known for functionality and efficiency, Colorado athletics did not live up to the billing of its surroundings. The most visible window into the university and the many outstanding, world-class aspects of it, had facilities better suited for a less prestigious, less proud program. Regional media issued columns wondering whether or not the Buffaloes and their administration truly cared about competing for championships, whether they truly cared about their nationwide image. With the school’s move to the Pac-12 Conference, it became clear that no more waiting would be appropriate.

    “The game is out there and it’s either play or get played.” — Omar Little, The Wire

    In the following months and years, the athletic department ramped up their fundraising efforts and the plan for a full-scale facility initiative, in campus, was announced. Those most skeptical of university leadership may have waited until ground was broken, but eventually, the tone of every discussion regarding Colorado athletics began to change.

    As the door opens to Colorado’s indoor practice facility opens, I can’t help but smile. The natural light and size, both of which come across in pictures as mere skeletons of their true selves, take me a moment to actually appreciate. High above, the ceiling creates its own Moon illusion and feels like if you were to jump just high enough, you’d scratch its beams. Not even Andre Roberson could do that, I’m told, though MacIntyre’s punters take their turns aiming for a sky-high ricochet.

    An eight-lane track orbits the hardly-shy-of-120-yards field, reminding everyone that this project wasn’t just about football, no matter how much MacIntyre and his staff have already benefitted from it. This was about revamping a university department that had badly fallen behind the times and showing its supporters, the country, and (most of all) itself that things were going to be different moving forward. From track to soccer and more, the experience and advantage of being a Colorado athlete has dramatically improved thanks to the entire undertaking.

    Just across the track is the new weight room, lined with squat racks and other equipment that, since it isn’t at 24 Hour Fitness—or my living room, let’s be honest here—I’ve never seen or heard of. Through the weight room’s back doors, no more than 50-yards, resides the football locker room.

    When talking about functionality, it doesn’t get much better than that.

    Legacy Hall is, for me, the pinnacle. As a college sports history enthusiast and, you know, human, rooms like these bring me back to days spent on the couch watching college football with my father. Those couches, cognac-leather and plush, are where the game first captured my undying love. They were the couches where I watched the likes of Chris Brown rush for 19 touchdowns in 2002. My connection to Colorado football can be traced back to those couches watching those players, some of which are named in Legacy Hall.

    Trophies line one wall, complete with brief player profiles on the likes of Alfred Williams and Rashaan Salaam next to their achievements. On the far end, a breakdown of program leadership. For those more inclined towards multimedia, an interactive screen allows you to revisit notable games of years gone by, everything from the 1990 Orange Bowl to 62-36 in Folsom Field. On this particular day, the bricks that lie just two steps past the television screen are being replaced, but their significance and placement in Legacy Hall are obvious.

    Walls around every turn are covered in Black and Gold, complete with the CU emblem so iconic in the world of college athletics. I can’t help but notice how many times I see “Colorado Football” written, pictured, or otherwise represented in every room. As my tour continues to twist down various hallways, passing tributes of all kinds to former players and coaches, something becomes clear. For the first time since I began covering Colorado athletics professionally, which would be more than six years ago for those following closely, there seems to be an identity. There seems to be progress, an acknowledgement of the past both good and bad, with a focus on the future. Within it all remains one idea.

    “We are Colorado and we are f****ing here.”

    Maintaining objectivity is a vital part to any successful career in journalism. Remembering that one’s credibility cannot be recovered once lost can help keep most, if not all, of one’s personal leanings out of their professional work. I’m a journalist, I tell myself as I walk out of the Champions Center, twenty feet and through the doors leading to the fan shop, and finally down the stairs to my car sitting in the parking garage. My car keys turn on the ignition but my right hand remains still, unable to put the car in reverse to begin the rest of my day. Things have changed in Boulder, within the athletic department. Things have changed within the fan base, the mood of those most enthusiastic not just hopeful or desperate for the program’s reemergence to national prominence, but ready—prepared, more like.

    I smile, not unlike I did at first sight of the facilities, and tacitly murmur as a Colorado alum–let’s ride.

    William Whelan
    Continue reading...
    Buffalo Brad and BeBe like this.
  2. Shldr2Shldr

    Shldr2Shldr Club Member Club Member

    Jan 21, 2011
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    Great piece Will. What you say is true. Nothing photographed or video taped has been able to capture the new building properly. If you haven't been to see it, you have to. It is truly impressive, it is unique, and it is Colorado. It fits the style, the brand, and the location.

    I hope that it leads us back. I hope the trans-formative attitude doesn't stop with 1 building. I hope it spreads into every athletic facility on campus and every athletic program. Every coach, assistant, athlete, and fan should know that CU isn't stopping.
    BeBe and TDforTD like this.

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