Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Check This One Off the Bucket List


Our son Ryan graduated from Indiana University in 2006, and lived in Bloomington, IN for 9 years.  In all the time I visited him at his condo there, I never got to a game at Assembly Hall.  It was on my bucket list, since I'm a college basketball fanatic, and have followed Indiana, the Bob Knight saga, and then the ugly years after he left.  I've watched the movie Hoosiers any number of times, and have read the great book Season on the Brink.  Now ranked in the top 5 this year, Ryan said this was the year to go--this team and their coaches are special.  Of course he doesn't live there anymore, so getting tickets, and hotel rooms was a bit of a flail, but worth every minute!

We began our pilgrimage at Nick's English Hut, a place where Ryan lived for most of his years in Bloomington.  We could tell the waitresses missed him--treating him like he was family!
The only time I'd been into Assembly Hall was to watch Ryan graduate, from the nose-bleed section.  This time we had pretty good seats, but the tour was pretty special too.  Basketball in Indiana is like an alternative universe--these people live and breathe it from the cradle.
When Ryan toured IU in 2002 they were going to the Final Four.  This was after Bob Knight was fired.

He's still here, even in some people's hearts 
We got to our seats, and I was like a kid on the edge of my seat; I know these kids' as if they were my own, follow Tom Crean on Twitter, and am generally obsessed.  I love college basketball because the games matter, the kids play hard, and the coaches (for the most part) mold these young men into better young men.  Not everyone will play in the NBA, and places like Indiana put a premium on graduating their players.
As Ryan said, those banners are looking lonely!
Oh, I forgot to say they were playing Iowa who had won 4 of their last 5 and IU had just lost a terrible game to Wisconsin.  Fortunately I was teaching and didn't have to watch that one!
IU won this game, but it wasn't pretty; but a win is a win!  I'll not complain!
John Mellencamp is a fixture at the games, this time without Meg Ryan
Dr. C. and Ryan celebrating a win!
I'll leave you with this video which is called the best time out (under 8) in college basketball.  This was a great trip, I loved being there, and sharing it with Dr. C and Ryan.  Dr. C. had been to a game when Ryan was the basketball columnist for the Indiana Daily Student at IU.  Read this to find out what happened. 

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