Monday, November 12, 2018

Salt Lake

Last week the annual National Communication Association meetings were held in Salt Lake City.  This was the second time I'd been to Salt Lake. The first was in 1974 during the obligatory hitch hiking across the country journey that was not uncharacteristic of the 70s.  At that time I blew into Salt Lake at night, and after a spell got picked up by a fellow on a motorcycle who took me to his mother's house where I slept in their family room. A different time but really not uncharacteristic of that era.

Well, forty four years later I arrive in Salt Lake by airplane.  A taxi driver from Pakistan who moved to Utah because, while in Pakistan, he had become a Mormon--took me from the airport to the Radisson.

My cabdriver had pointed out that the place where the Utah Jazz play was right around the corner from my hotel.  I went on line and saw that the Jazz had a home game the next night and, to my happy surprise, the game was against the Boston Celtics.  So I went the next day and bought a ticket for the game.  Academic conference in the day. National Basketball Association at night.

Lots of people wearing Jazz jerseys in the stadium as could be expected. In my section though there were plenty of folks in Celtic garb. I had no Celtic gear but had brought a Patriots wool hat in case the weather in Salt Lake was frigid. It wasn't but to show my allegiance to New England I wore the cap to the game.

The Celtics stunk up the joint but it was fun to attend the game anyway. I sat high up but at mid court and had a very good view of the game. Former Jazz and now Celtic player Gordon Hayward was booed every time he touched the ball. The fans delighted when he missed shots or turned the ball over. A player for the Jazz who had been a Celtic, Jae Crowder, had a terrific game. I recalled during the game that when the Celtics had spoken with excitement about getting Hayward, Crowder felt dissed as the two play the same position. Well, Crowder played as if he wanted to show the Celtics something, and did.  The fans were delighted.

The arena was very modern. Huge screen showing the action in case you wanted to follow on screen as opposed to watching the action live.  Expensive ticket and I had not bought it from a scalper. Way at the top and still an expensive ticket. Who can afford to attend many basketball games?

Some non sports related observations about Salt Lake City.

  • The city is far more racially diverse than I thought it would be.
  • The Salt Palace where our conference was held was as good a venue as any that the National Communication Association has selected for their meetings. Large, accommodating, friendly staff.
  • A restaurant where there was a reception of sorts was quite good.
  • When I first started going to these conferences I was a young guy. Now I am one of the old guys. But I think I am a young guy even though I am an old guy until I see myself in the mirror.
  • The exhibition hall was less populated with vendors than the halls have been in the past.  Used to have forty or fifty book salespersons peddling their products. Now probably twenty at most.
  • For a city of Mormons the hotel bar was hopping on Friday night. 
  • The mountains in the distance are impressive.
  • My uber driver on the way back to the airport told me that a new airport was being built and it would be the ninth biggest airport in the United States when the job was completed.
  • The woman who sold me my ticket could have been a ticket salesperson anywhere in the US.  

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