Saturday, December 19, 2015


I got out of the house for the first time in a while today.  A friend drove me to the city where my school, Northeastern, was playing against the number 1 team in the nation Michigan State University.

This was a big game for us.  We typically play the likes of James Madison University, William and Mary, and Hofstra.  This year we did in fact play and defeat the University of Miami, but that was an aberration and besides Michigan State is the best team in the country.

Usually you can buy a seat at our arena and then sit anywhere you would like.  Our team does not draw that many fans. This game was sold out. Just packed. I knew someone in the athletic department and because I am, temporarily, disabled was able to get two tickets in the disabilities section despite the fact that there were armies of people who could not get into the game.

For the first ten minutes we hung with Michigan State, but then the talent disparity became very apparent.  Our studs looked like benchwarmers compared to their players.  And in the second half we just looked exhausted, having expended all energy at the start. We tried to press and they went through the defense like we were standing nailed to the floor.

Lots of people sporting Michigan State tee shirts and jerseys in the stands.  Right near us there was a pack of MSU supporters. Our fans outnumbered theirs, but they had a loyal following coming a thousand miles or so to Boston.  A healthy bunch of people (prior to noon) banging them back in the alcohol section of the arena.

The take away for me from the game is the unevenness in talent. Northeastern has some excellent players.  They looked like the JV compared to MSU in the second half.  The players we recruited and thought were finds when they accepted our scholarships would not have been considered by Michigan State.

Probably the same way in all types of work. You think you are an excellent writer, then you read someone who truly is an excellent writer.  I guess the trick is to find a vocation in which you are the MSU of that particular activity.  So, you decide to be a teacher and you are the cat's meow as a teacher. You become a plumber, and nobody can fix pipes like you.  You play the piano and you are among the piano players piano players.

If MSU is not playing in the final four this year, I want to see the players who can defeat them. They are now 12-0.  And boy did they look good.

For me today was a grand contrast to the days that have preceded it.  Just felt so energized and alive at the arena. What a buzz. The choreography of the game. Fans yelling. Cheerleaders screaming whatever they scream.  Coaches exhorting their players. Our athletic director, a great AD and fellow, walking around and shaking hands with alums and well wishers.  Just a joy.

And since I have not been out much in a spell, it was a rude awakening to wait on the corner for my buddy to come by and pick me up after the game.  It felt like Alaska out in Boston today.  I hear it has been warm mostly, but today as the wind whistled through my coat and pickled my gizzards, the tropics seemed particularly attractive.

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