FINAL four

You will not find a lot of sports entries on this blog. I can’t speak for Michele, but my days as a sports fan largely ended with my divorce. My ex, a former sports photographer and reporter, lived and breathed football, basketball and baseball. He was a graduate of Ohio State; my alma mater is Indiana (you remember Bobby Knight). We had a friendly Big Ten rivalry, but after 18 years of having my fall weekends monopolized by football games on TV, I was done with leagues of all kinds.

That’s not saying that sports haven’t played an important role in my own history.

I grew up with the Cincinnati Reds when they were the Big Red Machine. When I still had empty brain cells, I knew each player’s batting average. My high school wasn’t exactly a sports powerhouse, but going to football games was what you did on fall Friday nights. Basketball, too, was de rigueur.

At Indiana University, I skipped the pricier tickets and losing seasons of the gridiron to follow the NCAA champion soccer team. I knew nothing about soccer, but the guys were gorgeous and there were no helmets or padding to obscure the view. Basketball goes without saying: IU won the NIT and the NCAA championship while I was there. That, my friends, was an experience worth rooting for.

I went to the occasional football game when we lived in Dallas (I got a scorching sunburn watching Ohio State play in the Cotton Bowl), and got a second thrilling chance to follow Indiana to an NCAA championship, albeit from a distance. On Cape Cod, we painted the rooms in our new house as we listened to the Patriots slowly built a juggernaut.

Sports in America have changed during my lifetime. Most colleges are now more pro than amateur. Free agency, steroids, sky-high salaries and ticket prices have soured me on most pro teams.

Following the crazy upsets in this year’s NCAA basketball tourney makes me feel a little bit like I’ve gone back in time. Butler has been my team from the start. Though small, it’s a school with a rich basketball history in a largely traditional basketball-crazed state – the closest I can get to IU. I likely won’t watch tonight’s game – it starts too late, and I’ll be at a conference bunking with a colleague. But for a few shining moments, it’s been déjà vu all over again.

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About Mindy

I am divorced, no kids, working full-time in corporate communications. There are never enough hours in my day, mostly because I insist on hygiene, food, exercise and clean dishes. Really, how do women with kids do it?!?
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2 Responses to FINAL four

  1. russiaville says:

    Go Dawgs! The next two days in Indiana will be wild, everyone is cheering for the home teams! Notre Dame women are in the finals on Tuesday night in Indianapolis and Butler men tonight. Matt Howard’s (Butler superstar) home town of Connersville raised $10,000 for his family to attend the finals; he is one of 10 children and his dad is a US Letter Carrier. Basketball in Indiana . . . yep it’s true, we love the sport. Tonight, everyone is a Butler Bulldog.

  2. Mindy says:

    Woof, Russiaville! My memory is notoriously bad, but I will never forget watching IU win a national championship in 1981. Pandemonium! SO much fun — watching Butler takes me back. Wish I were there.

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