Sports have probably never been a more important part of my life. It’s my sole entertainment in these pandemic times of isolation. I’ve gone through most of the movies and documentaries I’ve wanted to watch, waiting for live sports to finally return. Now, there’s almost too much to keep track of every day. My love of sports dates back to childhood and following my local high school team – The Elkhart Blue Blazers. A once dominant team in most every sport was eventually split into two high schools. Throughout the years, there was never a greater nemesis than the Penn Kingsmen in nearby Mishawaka, Indiana. Once I moved away from town, it seemed like every time I checked the scores it was another loss to Penn, particularly in football.
“Once A Blazer – Always a Blazer” is the motto of my generation, disturbed by the recent consolidation of the two Elkhart high schools into one again. They should have never been separated in the first place, but it did start another rivalry between the Memorial Chargers and the Elkhart Blue Blazers. Unfortunately, neither team was very competitive on the state level like Penn. The main problem with unifying the two programs became selecting a name. As a result, the Blazers or Chargers no longer exist, but the new Lions have become a football force. For the first time in 35 years, the final score of Friday night’s football match-up was Elkhart 20 Penn 19, and the team that I will always know as the Blazers are undefeated.
As I write this morning, I’m watching the final day of the Tour de France, reminiscent of our trips to Paris. It too was delayed several months as organizers made adjustments to deal with Coronavirus concerns. Slovenian Tadej Pogacar won it in his rookie debut. Cycling, golf, auto racing, football, and baseball are all now competing with each other for television viewership, with little in the way of live fan support. Plus, last night the Portland Timbers pounded the San Jose Earthquake 6-1 for a MLS victory, after a draw the other night in the same stadium.
So far, 2020 has been a good year for my teams. The Chicago White Sox just claimed their first playoff berth in twelve years. The Cubs will also soon clinch, putting both Chicago teams in the same post-season battle for only the third time since 1906. The White Sox, known that year as the “hitless wonders” upset the powerhouse Cubs in the World Series. Could it happen again in this year of strange surprises? Last Sunday, for example, the Bears, Cubs, and White Sox were all victorious. I bought a new pair of Sox Socks to celebrate their success. My Bears and Cubs socks don’t have holes in them yet.
The Cubs had a five-game winning streak going into last night’s game against the Twins. Sadly, the streak ended badly and the Cubbies allowed the Twins to clinch the fifth spot in this year’s post-season. The Cubs magic number is now four with three games remaining against the White Sox. They could each knock the other out of the top spot in their respective Division races. A week from now the seeds will all be finalized. Could the Sox and Cubs collide for all the marbles again after 114 years?
Chicago baseball has witnessed two no-hitters this year, the only ones in the majors. I bought Topps cards to commemorate these two remarkable achievements from Luis Giolito of the White Sox and Alec Mills of the Cubs. At no other time in history have both Windy City teams had this happen in the same season. It’s just the beginning of what could happen in Sweet Home Chicago this year. Unfortunately, a Cubs-Sox World Series would be held in Arlington, Texas,
The other important development this past week in sports was the BIG 10 conference rethinking the earlier decision to delay Fall football. After much controversy, schedules starting October 24th were finally announced. I.U. will open at Penn State and conclude with Purdue eight weeks later. The ninth game for the Cream & Crimson will either be the BIG Championship or a bonus conference match-up with potential Bowl implications. Let’s hope it’s not the Toilet Bowl – they could easily go 0-9. Basketball will begin November 25th when the Hoosiers were originally planning to play in Maui. It will be a week later in Asheville, as a further indication of the strange twists in sports this year. Will 2020 also be good to both Hoosier teams, despite the delays?
The Lakers are in the driver’s seat for this year’s NBA Championship, with an opening round final four victory over Denver. The Tampa Bay Lightening lost their Stanley Cup Finals opener against the Dallas Stars. I’ll need to follow them as a future Florida resident. The Rays are comfortably in the MLB play-off field, while the Bucs and Tom Brady did not get off to a great start last Sunday. I’ve now lived in enough states to always have a team in contention, but Chicago will forever remain my favorite.
The strain and stress of isolation is beginning to distort my sense of personal privacy. I was always taught to refrain from discussing three controversial subjects in life: Religion, Politics, and Bobby Knight. These were the three most debatable subjects while growing up as a Hoosier. I was warned that each could easily destroy any good friendship and create irreparable alienation from others. Through my daily thoughts, I’m hoping to attract others to my words – not drive them away. With this in mind, I will cautiously step to the edge of the religious cliff and reveal some of my secrets. For those of you ready to stop reading, this is not about Coach Knight!
I know that we all would like to believe that after we die there’s a special place we go where we are rewarded for our goodness. I see it as the retirement party that I never had. A lot of things in life for me did not go as planned, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t turn out for the best. I never imagined that I would work for ten different companies, after my dad spent forty successful years at one. I never would have planned being married twice or moving over 30 times. Portland, Oregon was never on my radar, but Florida always was a Heaven on Earth and where I hope to retire next year.
I attended church and vacation Bible schools while I was growing up in Indiana. I never had any issues with following the basic principals of the Commandments, even to this day. They are good rules to live by, and the common foundation of every religion. However, it was always disturbing to me that every organized group of worshipers seemed to portray a superior attitude in their beliefs. Like clubs, fraternities, and sororities, religious affiliation appears to divide more people rather than it brings together. From my perspective, it’s been a alarming observation that 30% of the world are Christians and 70% are arguably wrong.
Heaven and Hell are the two choices we’re given, yet nobody really wants to go to Hell! Heaven could be really boring, filled with people that can do no wrong or at least never get caught. What would there be to talk about, and what does a two-bedroom condo cost there? Are there travel options to Hell and Back, just for a little variety? I’m not one to make fun of beliefs, but all this preaching about one God and two ways of spending eternity, leave me a bit baffled.
I can see where each of us carries a little bit of our God with us at all times. This enables us to distinguish between “Good and Evil.” I don’t see where “going to church” or following a specific God should be like a Walt Disney World Fast Pass to Heaven. You might not even speak his or hers’ language. I think we’ve already proven that our personal prejudices have made it impossible to live peacefully together on Earth, let alone in some other Eden-like world. Like most everyone else, these are questions that I silently ponder every day of my retirement life.
Every day could be my last, but I’m content with the way I’ve led my life. I know that when I close my eyes for the last time, I don’t expect to be transported to paradise, but I will be briefly reunited with those that I have lost. This is the one reward that I think everyone, regardless of good or bad merits, is entitled to experience. A final rush of remembrance. After that, it may simply be eternal sleep, which at times sounds pretty good after too many years of wondering what might happen next?
I’ll save the heated subject of Bob Knight for another time, after I’ve gauged any negative reaction to these thoughts on the after-life. While there may be a place in my heaven for him, I’ve heard too many Purdue fans say, “he can go to Hell!” I think my first wife might have said that of me, but I don’t think she really meant it at the time. Hopefully, we’re both happier with the way things turned out. Life is not a fairy tale, so not everyone will have a happy ending. I hold no animosity for anyone or anything, and if there is a God, I would be the last one to try to upset them. Just get someone where I go that can win a few basketball games for me!
Will it be March Madness, Badness, Gladness, or Sadness? One sad note is that my Elkhart High School Blazers have played their last basketball game forever, eliminated in the Indiana 4A sectionals. From this point forward, they will be known as the Elkhart Lions. My son’s high school team, #1 ranked Indianapolis Lawrence North, escaped defeat by legendary Indianapolis Crispus Attucks last night to make it to their sectional title game. Their girls team already claimed their first state title last week. Ever since I was a little kid playing with an aluminum foil ball and a bottomless Quaker Oats container, the Indiana high school basketball tournament was always the first sign that spring has finally arrived.
The second sign of spring was if I.U. was still playing basketball and Purdue wasn’t. However, that hasn’t been true for years. The two Hoosier seniors, De’Ron Davis and Devonte Green, have an opportunity today to at least get in the NCAA tournament for the first time in their college careers. Coach Archie Miller has also yet to produce a tourney-worthy team. Purdue has been there every one of those frustrating years, but find themselves in a bubble game today against Rutgers. IU has to beat Wisconsin to officially make their dreams come true. The game starts in a few minutes and will determine my mood for the rest of the day. If they fail, they at least have the BIG tournament next week to try to make the elusive field of 68 for the first time in four years. The IU women made the quarter-finals of the BIG tournament and play Maryland later this afternoon. Purdue has already been eliminated, another positive sign of spring.
With the clocks “Springing Forward” tonight, it’s the start of an ominous week that also includes a full moon, Friday the 13th, conference tournaments, and Selection Sunday. We fly to Phoenix on Thursday for Spring Training games and additional fun in the sun, so regardless we’ll escape from the Portland gray skies and rain. Typically, Friday the 13th has been lucky for me, so I really can’t lose when we see the Sox playing the Cubs, my two favorite teams. I’d then like to see the week end with I.U. men in the NCAA tournament and Purdue on the sidelines – the true beginning of spring.
I needed to get this off my aging chest. Why is it that when a senior has a computer problem it’s assumed that it must be user error? I’m a frequent visitor to Buffalo Wild Wings, hardly a renowned senior hangout. In fact, they don’t even offer a senior discount, but they do have a rewards program. I’m in charge of accumulating points from our once weekly “Leadership Meetings.” The way this works is that our entire order is put through on my account and we split the check equally. All the points then go to one central point – my Buffalo Wild Wings app. We get points for checking-in, ordering food & drinks, and participating in store promotions. At the end of the year, we initially agreed to use all the points to pay for our group holiday luncheon.
I have always refused to clip coupons but for some reason have always loved points. In fact, my wife claims that I love my Marriott points more than her. I also have the Landry restaurant app, along with Outback, Starbucks, and Open Table to further accumulate dining-out credits. There are also the airline mileage programs that operate through an app that I take advantage of using. What’s the point? Points! They get you free stuff with little effort other than sometimes providing a phone number when you order. In most cases, it’s mostly hassle-free and can save a few bucks on a retirement budget.
“Leadership Meetings” of late have not been as regular. One member now lives near the coast, while another has a new job that does not allow lunch flexibility. As a result, our Wild Wing meetings have shifted more to late afternoon to watch basketball games and drink beer. This now happens only every couple weeks, rather than on Fridays like clockwork as they used to be. We had a lot of points sitting in the app bank with no plans for a holiday party and uncertainty on when the next get-together would be. We decided to splurge his past week for the Indiana vs. Purdue game.
I checked in on the app and placed an appetizer order for Ultimate Nachos. The game was not going well so our mood at the table was impatience coupled with frustration. We had close to 15,000 points to use, a majority of which was intended for our dinner order. The company had updated their app so I had trouble both logging-in and placing the order. Keep in mind, I’ve used it hundreds of times through the past couple years. I mention this because what happened next was not a “Senior Moment.” I placed the single order and then noticed that most all the points had disappeared. The app had quadrupled my order. I called the familiar manager over and explained the problem, so he immediately sent an e-mail to the corporate webmaster asking them to reinstate our points. However, it would take some time to correct the problem, so we had no points to use for dinner.
I’d had a few drinks and proceeded to remain calm, but just knew that this was going to be a hassle. The score of the game only added to my anger as I read his e-mail. “A guest of ours accidentally redeemed four ultimate nachos when he meant to redeem one.” Why was it suddenly the old guy’s fault? I didn’t do anything accidentally! In my mind, there was clearly a glitch in their program. Isn’t the customer always right? Instead, I’m now trying to communicate with a computer geek thousands of miles away, while having paid for our meal that was supposed to be free. This morning, I finally got a follow-up e-mail from the webmaster (wingmaster). It was nothing more than canned instructions on how to “log-on’ properly to correct my “log-on” issue. I could in no way blame this on age discrimination or elderly incompetence since there’s no way he could know that I’m retired with a feeble mind. He was just trying to get an e-mail off his desk and blew me off with a form letter, while I’m no closer to getting my points reinstated.
I wonder how long it will be before I get my points back and the associated free meals? I do know that the manager will eventually take care of us, but I’m not sure when we’ll be back for the next Leadership Meeting? Whatever happens, I’m sure it won’t be worth the hassle. In the meantime, I’m still wearing the label of elderly incompetence and hungry for free wings.
Like a true masochist, I’m back in front of the television for another chapter in the “Season on the Stink.” The Season on the Brink was the John Feinstein book about Coach Bob Knight and the 1985-86 I.U. basketball team that lost to Cleveland State in the NCAA Tournament and finished with a 21-8 record. The 2019-2020 version of the team has played some really bad basketball but could still get to that respectable 20-win mark. They’ve been particularly bad on the road, with a trip to Illinois today. Fortunately, my wife and Tally are not here to witness the frustration that is sure to overcome me. Tally will not have to cower in fear as I scream about turnovers, missed lay-ups, poor free throw shooting, and off-balance bricks. I’ve already documented about how much they “stink” this year. (See Post #1237).
It’s been a build-up of tension that began with the dismissal of Coach Bobby Knight 20-years ago. Twenty seems to be the magic number in this sequence of events that began in 2000. It wasn’t until 2020 that he returned to the court. Twenty regular season wins this year would be remarkable considering double losses to a mediocre Purdue team that foiled Knight’s big day. Instead, it was arch-rival Gene Keady that left with a smile on both occasions. There are three games left to get two victories, but today’s game at Illinois is the biggest opportunity to return to tournament glory. The team lacks confidence in a hostile environment, so “winning ugly” is their only chance. Otherwise, it will be another blowout loss, adding to the stink that already prevails.
The Illini are 13-3 at home this year, so our chances are slim. In fact, IU only has 33% chance for victory, while it’s closer to 90% that the visiting Hoosiers will stink up the place and retired Chief Illiniwek will dance on their tournament grave. I’ve sat in only five different BIG venues in my lifetime, including I.U., Michigan, Purdue, Michigan State, and Illinois. Illinois is by far the most hostile, with memories of Eric Gordon’s rude reception after flipping his commitment across the border. He thrived on the controversy and it will take a similar performance from someone like senior Devonte Green to keep us in the ballgame. We can only hope.
it was the most consistent half of basketball that the Hoosiers have played all year. I kept waiting for the wheels to fall off – but they never did! Does this mean that it will all catch up with us the second half? Can struggling coach Archie Miller lead his team to a strong first five minutes out of the locker room, or will they come out flat like they did in West Lafayette a few days ago? Then came the 7-0 Illini run, but IU countered with threes and got to 50 first. The race to get to the key 60-point milestone would determine the winner. Unfortunately, back-to-back turnovers destroyed any chance for Hoosier momentum, failing miserably to get us there first, while giving up one of our devastating 9-0 trademark runs. It was all seven feet of Kofi Cockburn down the stretch, as Trayce Jackson-Davis faded in comparison. Indiana played well and hit back-to-back threes before the broadcast signal went out and the screen turned to black. I had to quickly switch to my phone to watch the final :30 seconds. It came down to free throws and Indiana missing their first two of the game, as Trayce blew the chance to tie. From what I could see on the small screen, IU guard Rob Phinisee somehow muscled-away the rebound but slipped in the process, and Chief Illiniwek & Company put the game away at the charity stripe 67-66.
The only thing that “stunk” today was the outcome, although it was a valiant effort. Indiana has lost heartbreaking one-point games to both highly-ranked Maryland and Illinois, while nipping non-conference foe Notre Dame by a bucket earlier in the year. The other games haven’t really been competitive win or lose, while they are certainly overdue for a last second break. It’s tough to be both bad and unlucky in the same season. Also, TJ-D not only missed the clutch free throws, but also the head-to-head battle with Kofi for BIG Freshman of the Year. Will he come back another year? More importantly, will team fate change as they go into tournament play or does The Chief come back to haunt us on Selection Sunday?
P….U…. is the only way to describe how Indiana played against Purdue last night. I gathered with friends at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the stink-fest, trying to think of it is as just simply another “Leadership Meeting.” I did not want to contemplate a seventh straight loss to the Boilermakers, especially considering they aren’t very good this year. A Hoosier victory would surely save Archie Miller’s job and guarantee an NCAA tourney bid. That seemed too good to be true! I was in fact prepared for an I.U. loss, but the overall effort was an embarrassment. We could not hit the broad side of a stinkin’ barn.
Archie had already secured more years at I.U. with the announcement of another 5 star recruit. I’m still trying to figure out why he was drawn to the program? He made his announcement after attending the Penn State victory where the team showed hope, especially after just ending their road woes with a win at Minnesota. Two straight away wins was just too much to ask! Purdue had already experienced an uncharacteristic double home set-back, adding to the reasons why they would rebound against their in-state rival. And rebound they did 40-37! However, it was the 33% 3-point shooting that caused the biggest I.U. stink!
As expected, Purdue big men double-teamed Trayce Jackson-Davis and held him to 6 points and 4 rebounds. Back-up Brunk stunk once again, and De’Ron Davis didn’t get a single rebound. At the same time, I was having trouble with my Wild Wings app to add to the frustration. It inexplicably quadrupled our nachos order while I.U. fell apart going into halftime and started the second period scoreless for over 6 minutes. I had little appetite when all was said and done. I woke up this morning with a bad taste in my mouth with nightmarish thoughts of the stinking ugly loss. I.U. basketball is becoming a joke, with yet another road game at Illinois to go and two tough home games. To get to the Big Dance, we’ll need to win at least two, even though this is not a team that is worthy of a post-season bonus. In fact, they may not win a tournament game, and face the risk of more stinking embarrassment to end the season.
It’s now day six since the crud first inhabited my body, attacking it with constant hacking fits. It’s the longest sickness I’ve endured in at least the last 20 years, but I should now be on the road to recovery. Running has been my biggest challenge every day since most of my time has been spent on the couch. I’ve cut back on medication and now actually have some brief periods of motivation. Tonight, we will go to a wine tasting with friends, ending a full week of reclusiveness. We might even go to a movie this afternoon?
Today is a working Monday for most of you, but just another day for me. Traffic was heavier this morning, so I could tell that the weekend was over. The only highlight of this “lost” week was two consecutive I.U. basketball victories to put them back in the hunt for an NCAA Tournament bid. I may even gather some friends for a Buffalo Wild Wings “Leadership Meeting” to watch them face Purdue later this week. Is it really possible to lose seven straight games to our in-state rival? The cold beer will help with any potential frustration, since this feels like an absolute must-win situation for either team to salvage any satisfaction out of an up-and-down season.
Another blue sky day, unusual for this time of year in Portland, should make for a pleasant walk to the theater. After this week, rain and the chance for more crud is once again in the forecast. Getting to the sunshine of Phoenix and Tucson cannot come too soon. I’m more than tired of the hacking, sneezing, and sniffling that has gone on in our house this past week or so. I need to dry out my lungs and feel like living again. The violent hack attacks must finally come to a peaceful end. Please pass the Kleenex.
There are 5 games left for Indiana in the BIG this year and a coaching jobs is on the line. It’s Crunch Time! My schizophrenic Hoosiers haven’t figured themselves out yet. Will they be the aggressive Dr. Jekyll that beat Minnesota on the road or the mild-mannered Mr. Hyde that stumbled at home against Michigan? It all comes down to the man–the-middle, the Freshman center with the hyphenated last name, Trayce Jackson-Davis. Oh, and making those free throws.
What has happened to the art of the free throw? In today’s game, the dunk gets all the attention and apparently most of the practice. Two free throws are worth the same as a dunk. Just ask former Hoosier Steve Alford who perfected the discipline and inspired a famous mantra from Indiana fans: “Socks, shorts, 1-2-3 swish”. Before releasing a free throw, Alford reportedly told himself, “Soft over the front edge of the rim,” and some people believed they could see his lips move. He was not as successful as a coach, although many would still like to see him replace Archie Miller, who has failed to get I.U. to the Big Dance in his first three years at the Hoosier helm.
It looks like formidable Dr. Jekyll has showed up to start the Penn State game, but there are two halves to play. All too often, Indiana has hit long scoreless stretches and squandered big leads in the Mr. Hyde mode. Although this game is important, it’s not quite as monumental as next week’s match-up at Purdue. Archie Miller has never beaten the Boilermakers and the loss in Bloomington a few weeks ago was crippling to his future. After yesterday’s Boiler loss to Michigan, Purdue has now lost two consecutive home games, and has failed to win at all since the Indiana game. They’ll be hungry for a Crunch bar when the Hoosiers come to town.
I.U. takes a 13-point lead into the locker room against the Nittany Lions, but have lost their inside game. Devonte Green caught on fire from 3-point range and they’ve forgotten about Trayce Jackson-Davis. He only has nine points to match Devonte’s triple-3. Fouls have been a troublesome issue on both sides and I.U. has only converted on five of eight attempts. Penn State is 8-14, otherwise it would be a much closer game. Please make sure that Mr. Hyde does not make a second half appearance. He allowed the lead to shrink to 8 late in the first half before Devonte countered. It’s still disturbing that a 19-point bulge with two minutes left has now shrunk to 13. Penn State has yet to hit a 3 in only 6 attempts, while other teams have thrived on I.U.’s soft perimeter defense. Adjustments will be made. Will Archie and team be able to counter? Crunch Time is here!
Once again, Archie did not have his team prepared for the second half. It started with a 12-0 Penn State run coupled with that 6-0 run to end the first, as Mr. Hyde unfortunately refused to “hide.” Sadly, it’s a whole new ball game, with only a first half victory! I.U. managed to rebound and win the next two five-minute segments, but stalled just before getting to the critical 60-mark. My theory has always been that in college basketball the first team to 60-points usually wins. The Hoosiers get there first in this one, but the concern is still free throw shooting. A friend of mine coined it “Hack-A-Hoosier,” where the opposing team intentionally fouls to take advantage of the disturbing percentages. Also, Penn State still hasn’t made a three! With a minute left, there are too many concerns, as Mr. Hide steps to the free throw line again. As it turns out, despite 17-27 from the charity stripe, they somehow win both halves and respond strongly to Crunch Time! Double-Double for Jackson-Davis. Go Hoosiers…now beat Purdue!
All was right (or at least Knight) in the world for about 20 minutes yesterday. I was sitting in the Las Vegas Westgate Sports Book sipping on a complimentary vodka and tonic because I was playing video poker and I.U. basketball was on one of the big screens. Even though the Hoosiers lost control of the game after a 12-0 Boilermaker run, I knew something special was about to happen. A friend and former I.U. basketball player, had just posted a picture of himself and Coach Bobby Knight in one of the hospitality rooms inside Cook Hall in Bloomington, Indiana. The legendary General was about to step on the court for the first time in two decades, hopefully cementing a future relationship with the school after all those years of bad blood. It was a tearful moment for me even though Knight had become the public a-hole that we all knew he could be as a coach. He looks fragile after all those years with the mannerisms that my dad displayed in his eighties. He was shaky and unsteady but still had fire in his eyes. I was glad he was back, and I think so was he!
After the glow of halftime wore out, the team failed to respond despite the hype, a week-off to prepare, and a must-win situation. Even Knight’s presence couldn’t fix the Hoosiers. They are in a bad place, in the middle of a schedule drought that mimics the scoreless streaks they display on the floor. Just three weeks ago they were a “lock” for a bid to the NCAA Tournament, even after a home court collapse against Maryland. Today, it’s time to face the reality of another NIT. Archie can’t beat Purdue, so when they meet again in Lafayette, the outcome will probably be even more embarrassing in his fifth attempt to succeed. Even with a poor season, a single Purdue victory can at least save a job.
There are eight games left this season before the BIG tournament that I.U. has never won. The Hoosiers have dropped to the near the basement of the conference, tied with Michigan at 5-7. Michigan has at least won recently. Only Nebraska and Northwestern have no post-season chances, and I.U. doesn’t get to play either one. They do have one more shot at the Wolverines but that’s in Ann Arbor. Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Penn State come to town. I.U. will be lucky to win two of those games and could easily lose all four. In addition, they travel to Minnesota and Illinois. They’ve already lost four straight – how long will this losing streak persist? I’m worried! Penn State, Iowa, Purdue, and Michigan have all started timely winning streaks. Nebraska has lost 8 straight and Northwestern 6, but once again we don’t play either of them, and it took overtime to beat Nebraska at home.
Bob Knight led the Assembly Hall crowd with a chant of “Defense.” We gave up 74 points against Purdue, 68 versus Ohio State, 64 to Penn State, and 77 to Maryland in this four-game slump. That’s certainly not Bob Knight defense! I hope I’m wrong and that Archie gets the win in Lafayette and the NCAA seed to get two of the monkeys off his back. Otherwise, he’ll soon be packing, although I still believe that’s a unnecessary setback that the program simply can’t endure. Let’s start with Iowa and at least get to 20 victories this year. Indiana…I’m all for you – thanks for patching the wounds from 20 years ago, and welcoming Coach Knight back to Assembly Hall.
I’ve been in Vegas at the Westgate Resort and Casino for over 12 hours and haven’t lost a dime. In fact, I’m ahead, even though a bar fountain Diet Pepsi just cost me $8. My wife is still asleep, so I can continue these written ramblings about my retirement life. I’ve used the last two posts to expound on bladder problems and butt-crack to give you an idea of how educational and enlightening my thoughts can sometimes be. Currently, I’m sitting on my butt in a dark hotel room at the computer keyboard, trying not to disturb her. I did, however, get a three-mile run in already and checked-out the Sports Book. The Hoosiers play the Boilermakers in about two hours on the big screen, with the rumored possibility of Bobby Knight in attendance. It will be a good indication of how my luck stands.
It’s the 21st anniversary of my love relationship in the city where we got married nearly 19 years ago. We celebrate the 8th of every month – this being the 252nd. Even though 10 has always been my lucky number, dating back to the playing days of Sherm Lollar, 8 could be even luckier. Our room number ends in an 8, but the digits add up to 10, as I continue to look for signs of good fortune. Even that $8 Diet Pepsi might have meaning, despite my favoritism to Diet Coke that they apparently don’t serve in this hotel. They did, however, give us plenty of great chocolate chip cookies and a case of free water thanks to our personal concierge, Guy. I gave him a $10 tip, sticking to the numbers, and agreed to have lunch with him in a few days. We’ll meet again at the Elvis statue in the lobby where he will certainly try to sell us on something. We already are timeshare owners, so they apparently want our feedback and willing to pay $100 in addition to the free lunch. This is why I can momentarily say that I’m ahead at this point in our week-long stay.
We used Alaska miles for the flights, paid only $300 total for the room, $18 for an Uber, and put-down a $25 refundable deposit to make sure we show up for lunch with Guy. He sent me a friendly text this morning offering to go to Wal-Mart for us if we needed anything. What a Guy! I also just made arrangements and paid the $350 remaining balance for our Grand Canyon tour on Monday. Fortunately, Guy won’t go with us, but I’m sure he would if we asked. All in all, I guess I’m really not winning after all, am I? There’s the cost of tickets for our show reservations that we pre-paid as well as admission tickets for the Titanic, Neon Graveyard, and Tim Burton exhibits. It’s starting to add up, and I’ve barely left the room. So much for a winning moment in Vegas!