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.