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The woes of McMahon Stadium parking

By Cristina Paolozzi, September 6 2019—

McMahon Stadium has been hosting football games for the Calgary population since 1960. The oldest stadium in the Canadian Football League (CFL), this open space reminds old and new of the thrill of watching people run up and down a really big grassy field. Enchanting. However, McMahon is also used by the students of the University of Calgary as extra parking during the school year. By purchasing a pass from the University’s Parking and Transportation Services, you are eligible for a yearly or semesterly parking spot. Extra parking on campus may be music to many students’ ears, however, this back-to-school season has me in a little bit of a rant-mode. So buckle up for this hot take on McMahon Stadium and the nuisances of parking a kilometre away from the actual campus.   

I’ve used Purgatory as a metaphor for McMahon Stadium many times before, and I don’t think it’s that off of a description. Usually, there are many people — or cars — just wandering aimlessly. They’re probably looking for a parking spot, but could also be searching for a purpose. It can be argued that these are one and the same. If you Google “Purgatory” to try and get a baseline definition, it will let you know that Purgatory is a place for temporary punishment. Alright, maybe I didn’t do all of my readings, maybe I didn’t study as hard for my algebra midterm as I should have, maybe I was too busy riding a Lime scooter along the river because I wanted to feel alive for a second and forget about the crushing weight of my responsibilities. But the experience of trying to park in McMahon, with its bumpy and uneven lots, seems a little excessive. Not to mention the fact that this space isn’t available all the time. If there’s a football game later on in the day, you will be encouraged to leave before five o’clock, which is of course ideal if you have late night courses. 

All of these grievances pale in comparison to the fact that McMahon is one whole kilometre away from the campus. You are required to walk for a good 10 minutes to your next class from the football stadium. And I know exactly how this sounds — some lazy undergrad who can’t walk a couple of minutes down the street is complaining about the convenience of parking at a little bit of a distance. Hark! Tis not mine intention. With the correct circumstances, this is a nightmare. 

Imagine: Mid-January, 12 feet of snow, shady weather conditions — but you dragged yourself out of bed anyway because it’s a hashtag new year new me — you’re turning into McMahon, can’t see any of the yellow lines, everyone is parked like a maniac but I suppose you can’t blame them because its a guessing game all around, you pull up beside someone, teetering precariously, and it finally hits you — it’s freezing. And you have a 10-minute walk in the blistering cold ahead of you. You must prepare. You must stay vigilant. Ahead is a steel bus shelter that promises quick transportation. In light of the new budget cuts to Calgary Transit, this bus may take longer than expected. Will it even come at all? You look down at your phone, realizing you have three minutes before your class starts. So alas, the billowing tundra awaits. 

There is no mistaking the pain and suffering McMahon Stadium instills in me whenever a new school year comes around. It’s a psychological battle, made for individuals with exceptional mental fortitude. I am also a big enough person to let you know that this rant will not enact change, for I will most definitely be parking at McMahon again this year, and therefore must sing these sorrows only to myself.     

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