Wednesday, March 18, 2009

tournament conversation

The sports book at the Flamingo was relatively quiet when I arrived last night. There were a few people sitting in the comfortable easy chairs in the viewing area, but nearly all of what will be coveted perches from which to watch the games were empty. Of course, it was nearly midnight, two days before the tournament and for there to be even one person--as there was-scouring betting sheets at this hour says something.

At Boston's Logan airport I ran into a former student who, with his two co-workers--will be attending the beer distributors convention. They were kind enough to offer me a beverage as we waited for our flight which, interestingly, took off at 7:11, a time I imagine was either fortuitous or more likely deliberately selected to encourage superstitious passengers to fly JetBlue. While the three conventioneers were not going to Las Vegas to watch the games, we began to talk of the tournament. Not for the first time I was startled by how much March Madness pervades our culture. These three knew teams, spreads, and brackets. Each talked about "how they had" this team or that team to advance in their brackets.

Some very rowdy plane riders on the flight. Good natured for the most part, but not likely to feel many bumps along the way. When we landed in Las Vegas, a fellow two rows back from me spotted a crony he had not known was on the flight. After exchanging pleasantries, one asked the other how long he would be staying in las vegas. "Till Monday" he replied. "My liver hurts already."

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