New Castle News

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January 30, 2014

Tim Kolodziej: A hot, hot ticket on a cold, cold night

NEW CASTLE — How bad do you want it?

I know, I know.

I’ve asked that question dozens of times in this space. And I’m going to ask it again today.

It’s one we all need to hear, whether we’re a young athlete, an entrepreneur or a community leader.

Or, to put it another way: How much are you willing to suffer to achieve your goals?

Yep, I’ve asked THAT question more times than I can count, too.

On Monday night, I was actually forced to answer it.

Here is my story.

“Of course it is.”

That was my reaction as we turned on the radio and heard: “Traffic backed up for miles on the Parkway East toward Oakland and the Squirrel Hill Tunnel.”

We had left nearly three hours earlier than the 7 p.m. tipoff. Yet somehow, at that moment, I realized three hours might be pushing it for the usual one-hour drive.

So we sat. In traffic. For as far as we could see. We looked behind us and the line was even longer.

And we talked. And laughed.

We pointed to landmarks in the Pittsburgh skyline.

I told stories about my adventures in the Steel City “back in the day.”

We even pulled our seats back and rested our heads awhile.

We rejoiced when our car moved a few feet. How’s that for perspective?

Are we there yet?

We moved a few more feet and I could see an electronic sign just ahead. “Estimated time to the exit: 26 minutes.”

The exit was less than a mile away.

How bad do you want it?

How much are you willing to suffer?

The sign lied.

We entered lower Oakland nearly 50 minutes later.

More traffic awaited. Another 30 minutes of inhaling fumes from the truck in front of us.

More sight-seeing.

More red lights and construction signs and broken water mains awaited us, too.

More excitement building for what we would experience at the Petersen Events Center.

We finally climbed Cardiac Hill. Now it was time to park.

We looked left. We looked right. We saw the same thing no matter where we looked.

“Lot filled.”

“Permit only.”

“Staff only.”

Not a square inch of real estate on the University of Pittsburgh campus could accommodate an automobile.

“Any idea where we can park?” I asked a hospital security guard.

“Make a right at the stop sign and just keep driving.”

Of course.

We circled the area for what seemed like 10 more minutes.

But hey, at least we were moving now.

How bad do you want it?

How much are you willing to suffer?

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