Friday, April 4, 2014

Evenin Ma'am

Big D.

Finally got here after an aborted trip last night.  My evening flight was cancelled as Dallas was experiencing weather and Minneapolis had a snowstorm starting.  Was rescheduled for this morning and the snow had come down heavily. Got out around 830 and landed in Dallas around 11.

I am at the National Association of Basketball Coaches meetings.  There are two things I notice immediately.

(1) I am a dwarf. Basketball coaches are often former basketball players.  I feel like I am at a tall man's convention which, essentially, is the case.  I played college basketball although only on the freshman level. This, of course, was many years ago.  Now players are inhaling thinner air.  And they do not shrink when they grow older and become coaches.

(2) I can still be a kid among famous people.  The convention is filled with familiar faces from the sidelines of basketball games.  This is where all those screaming coaches get together to shmooze. All but four of them have been eliminated in the NCAA tournament. The rest are shaking hands with colleagues.  My head was turning like a pinwheel as I stargazed.  Some of them I knew by name, Tubby Smith, Rollie Massimino,  Al Skinner, Bruce Pearl. The majority I could not quickly recall the name but certainly knew from watching so many games.  The Cincinnati coach, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Wichita State, Creighton and dozens more.

Another thought crept in my head as I moved through the crowd and saw some former coaches.  This, like the academic conferences I attend, is a place where out of work coaches were looking to network.

The moment of the day, though, was not the stargazing or meandering through the basketball esoterica at the conference.  It was driving past the grassy knoll and seeing where the president was shot. I had not been to Dallas previously except to change planes in the airport.

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