My Dribble Blog

It’s been a while now since I’ve experienced much of a sense of focus. I could always jump right to Ritalin. Kidding, but you would be amazed at how many parents dragged brought their children into my office, certain that all they needed to up their GPA, get high marks on their SATs, and to stop going to weekend keggers and spending 27 hours per day plugged in, turned on, tap,tap,tapping on multiple keyboards was- RITALIN!

While we were sitting in the best seats in the house at the championship game of the men’s NCAA, some misguided well-placed parents had parked their two adolescent children in the seats next to ours and I want you to know that this is no exaggeration: I placed a bet with Rich that the 15 year old girl-woman next to me would start a new activity on her phone more often than the total team fouls for both teams (in the vicinity of 38) and I had won that wager by half-time. Her phone had more features than a NASA space station, too. It was a computer, camera, keyboard, game console, PDA, telephone…I don’t think she saw more than 3 minutes of the game.

Just to wrap up on the NCAA tournament thing:

It was four days of great fun, with too much food and drink (for me, that’s anything more than one/day) and schmoozing.

Live collegiate basketball is riotous fun and sitting in the Gators cheering section the last game left me deaf for 24 hours.

At one point in the last game, I turned to the wife of the head of the NCAA and we confided to each other that we were "seeing a lot of famous people, we just didn’t know who they were." This was true. I wouldn’t (didn’t) know L.L. Cool J as he sat right smack in front of me where I could rest my feet on his shoulders. I kept recognizing familiar faces- "Hey! Look! There’s whats-his-face!- but I couldn’t put names with most of them.

I came away with a new respect for the NCAA and college sports. The best activity of the long weekend was Hoop City, where they turned the entire Georgia World Congress Center into an interactive arena of good sportsmanship games and experiences for attendees and local youth alike. The emphasis is on STUDENT athletes and it was a real pleasure to see the energy and fan enthusiasm surrounding student sports. There were a dozen continuously running full court games open anybody could sign up for  and play, there was the DiGiorno Pizza tent where you could eat free pizza, shoot "couch hoop" and watch televised games from both men’s and women’s finals. The U.S. Men’s Champion Wheelchair basketball team was there, both playing exhibition games and offering up a dozen athletic wheelchairs so those of us up on two legs could experience basketball from a different perspective. Dozens of smaller courts hosted youth shootouts, 3 on 3 games and coaching to tikes from 5 on up, where the coaches were professionals and everyone won a prize (although not a Hooters hula hoop beer cozy). One area hosted a Coaches against Cancer shootout and all of the other 22 NCAA sports were represented at play stations, as well, from lacrosse to soccer to baseball. Rich found the virtual golf station and had some fun with that. Virtual gaming was a big hit and so was the booth were you could do a famous sports moment "broadcast" against a blue screen and then have it edited to access on your home computer. Lots and lots of good clean free fun, always with the emphasis on sportsmanship and a healthy mix of academics and sports. I liked that part.

The final game was very exciting, from the time we left the hotel and walked to the arena along streets lined with police: motorcycle, mounted, in cars and on foot. Where do they find that many cops and what does it say, that we need them? The crowd level was not for the faint of heart and I confess we left 2 minutes before the end and watched the final moments of clear defeat for Ohio on various large screen televisions posted about the place. Maybe it’s me or this time of life, but I hit a wall on being smashed in a crowd of 60,000 people in stairwells. We were first in line to buy our neighbor Bill his Gator championship hat at the concession, head back to the hotel and we caught 3 hours of sleep before checking in at the airport where the security lines were backed up to the curb. SO. It was wonderful fun, I’ve been there and done that, and now I understand why Rich passes on SuperBowl tickets after going to so many. On to baseball.
We got home to Florida, Sophie and McCloud were happy to see us and I spent a day napping outside on the porch and then a day catching up on cleaning the nest and watching the Hannibals in theirs. They are doing fine, with three youngsters out of the nest and at their busiest in the early mornings. Feathers and parts everywhere and constant high pitched screeching. Robin Andrea was correct: these are the speeding bullets of the bird world and far too difficult to capture in photographs except when perching. Everything is in bloom here- the Florida version of Spring. The yard is full of monarchs, I filled the humming bird feeder, carefully handled, scored and planted some Coontie seeds sent by a friend and started a dedicated native orchid place along the fence so they can fend more or less for themselves when we return to Chicago in a few weeks.
Here’s Sophie, alert to the fact that we are on the move again and she’ll be left to just meal drivebys from Abby. This morning we are headed back to Ann Arbor for a couple days to take care of old business: see the tax accountant, wrap up banking issues, close out some final business stuff. For me, I’ll have a chance to enjoy some time with BCMA. I’ll be able to eat Chinese with some of my best friends and I suspect that will provide some fix for the restless, unfocused way that I’ve been feeling lately. This winter has been marked by forward progress, lots of activity- and not much sense of being grounded. A chronic complaint around here, yes? I did renew my license (more on that next week), I will have almost a month of quiet, reflective time for beach walks (more on that next week) and I have a post on another one of those "starter people" dilemmas which begs the question of how long do you stay involved in their decision making, especially if it feels like an important issue- and how do you decide that, anyway?
No much in the way of photos, as we’re rushing (again!?) to the airport here at 545 AM, but next week, get ready. I am hosting Good Planets and all week I’ll be soliciting your photos with an eye towards the most beautiful Mother Nature has to offer. There is this giant yellow bloom by the back fence, where incidentally, the bougainvillea is an absolute riot of pink. I need to remember to take a picture of that Easter morning and compare it to the one I took last Easter.Flower

20 responses to “My Dribble Blog

  1. Wow. That sounds like such a wonderful time. You’re the envy of many to be able to experience all that. It is nice to hear the positives of the NCAA.

    Do you take your cats with you on the plane? Enjoy your time in Ann Arbor with your friends, and hurry back.

  2. Vicki, your posts ARE focused. Very focused on how busy you are! You have a lot to say and it’s hard to organize your thoughts when there are so many.

    I laughed at your comment about being close to famous people but not knowing who they are! I’m a big fan of any sport and I’m almost embarrassed to admit this crazy thing I did. During Cal Ripkin’s wrap up of consecutive games, we went to the 2128 game with friends. I was way too busy and scattered that summer and suddenly found myself in the stands at Camden Yards asking my friend, “Who is that short-stop out there, #8?” I felt like such an idiot and my friend still can’t believe I asked that question.

  3. Golly, where’s a bee when you need one?

    Great post about the basketball game, which wasn’t about the game, which was fine because we can get all that we want from the newspaper, but never any of the stuff you write about. Good show.

  4. It does sound like the experience of a lifetime, as in I might only want to do it ONCE. (but it would be very special that one time) I find myself having a more and more difficult time with crowds these days. As for starter people, I’m there with you. Ashley keeps throwing out possible scenarios for graduation, summer school, working for Americorps for a year after graduation and then maybe graduate school…It’s way too many decisions for HER, and certainly for me.

  5. Nyssa has still got a year of college but already is trying to decide and plan ahead and all the possibilities are amazing… so I am just going to sit back and let her decide… she’s 21 and when I turned 21 it was basically a hands off deal with my folks so unless she asks my opinion (which means she wants me to agree with her) then I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

    Take a coat to Michigan…. it is coooooold!

  6. The NCAA Tourney sounds like fun to me and I am sure that mr. kenju would be in Heaven! I would neither recognize, nor care about LL Cool J, but being around that many knowledgeable fans would be great.

    That cat of yours has such gorgeous fur. How can you manage to leave her alone so much?! Have a great time with the BCMA, and eat some General Tso’s for me.

  7. Ooh… if only I were so focused… instead, I’m stymied. I like that word, really. 😀

    Have a lovely weekend–looking forward to next week’s photo display! 😀 (not to mention the tales you have promised!)


  8. If you were here I would wash your feet and break bread and share wine with you. Blessed Maundy Thursday, dear Vicki.

  9. I need to find a Starter-People Mothers’ Support Club locally. I’m thinking, not ritalin, but maybe a good bottle of cabernet.

  10. Glad you survived all the squeaking! I forgot that it was on, so only had the last 15 minutes or so to look for you. Frustratingly, except for the former Miss Sweden, they kept showing the GAME. What were they thinking?!

    Still think you need to investigate Formula One most thoroughly. But don’t forget the ear plugs.

  11. 60,000 people? That’s more than live in our whole county! The crush of crowds is a scary thing. I know I could never handle being around all that noise and human energy. I don’t know how you do it, but you do!

    I’m waiting for just the right pic to send for Good Planets. Your flower pic is a beauty.

  12. Beautiful flower! Happy Easter, Vickie.

    PS- I was about to ask you for a script myself but I guess the odds are against me now 😉

  13. Interesting to see you renewed your license — I am assuming you mean your professional one. I have often wondered these last months if you miss your practice and if you contemplate starting again?

  14. Beautiful photos, Vicki. I am not a big fan of crowds, though I do enjoy people watching. I can get distracted at any sporting event watching the other spectators and….here’s the best part, making up little scenarios about them. There is some mighty racy drama going on those stands! ;~)
    Happy Easter!!

  15. The NCAA sounds fantastic and I am bummed that I’ll probably always be too busy, to poor, and too far away to see it myself. Particularly painful because some parents with money sent their teenage daughter, who couldn’t have cared less. That ticket sure could’ve found a better home.

    Re the starter people: to whom does it feel like an important issue? To you? Or to him/her? In any case, speaking as one who still remembers being a starter person, I’d say you can always offer advice, but don’t be hurt if they don’t take it. As I recall, when I didn’t want my mom’s advice, I didn’t tell her what was going on – therefore, if she knew about it, she was welcome to share her opinion on it.

    Finally, Miss Sophie is just so beautiful. We are about to get a kitten, and I’ve just realized that Sophie is the cat against whom I will judge all candidates.

  16. Vicki – E-mail me asap ! I am dying to hear what you have to say .

  17. Miss Sophie,
    I secretly came to this computer, searching for your lovely face and to my overwhelming joy, found it here. I miss you so, dear heart. Please do not favor those lizards too much and do be careful when cavorting outside. My heart would be crushed if those murderous hawks were to snatch you up to their lofty nest. I would not be there to save you. Sweet dreams and may Abby treat you to many yummy goodies while your mom is away.


  18. Happy Easter, Vicki!

  19. Happy Easter!
    Had my wife been in the Gator fan section, your deafness would not be temporary.
    You must secretly like this constant flitting about, how else could you stand it?

    I was just knicking and planting some coontie myself.
    Now, it’s hurry up and wait.

    Safe voyage to the frozen North.

  20. Happy Easter!

    I swear I thought I left a comment on your last post, but I must have screwed up the word verfication AGAIN.

    I was trying to scam some corporate NCAA tixs from my Dad (big business guy in Hotlanta), but when the Tarheels choked, I decided not to pursue them. My girl, who is a sports fanatic, was all about the NCAA this year. She even had a bracket with the newsroom’s office pool. And she beat the sports editor! She’s psyched!

    Sounds like you’ve been busy. Come back soon!

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