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Old Sport Shorts: Dan the Man #2508

As an Indiana University basketball loyalist, I rarely offer kudos to other college programs, let alone those in the East. I know that over the course of time, jealousy will prevail, and I will learn to hate the man. However, I wrote about their success with my “Rule of 60” last year, and this year is no different. Dan is the new Bobby, and I don’t mean his dad or brother. He’s the new Robert Montgomery Knight. Since the departure of Knight from the Hoosiers, no team has exemplified the power of 60 any better. Plus, he’s doing it while battling the never more popular three-point shot. 

Last year his Huskies beat San Diego State 76-59 to win it all. This year Purdue was the victim of his defense 75-60. From an offensive standpoint, the 1967-69 UCLA Bruins and their legendary Coach, John Wooden and Hurley’s 2022-24 UConn squads are the only other teams to win back-to-back titles by 15+ points. Knight was never able to join the back-to-back club, although he came close in 1974-1976, joining Wooden with an undefeated National champion. Neither of those coaches played 40-games in one season like UConn.

In that 40-game span this season the Huskie defense held opponents to 60-points or less 17 times, winning each time to finish 37-3, including Indiana 77-57. Of the six NCAA Tourney games that UConn played, 5 were won in this manner, plus two of three in the Big East Tournament. They capped of the season with “Magical” victories over three more BIG teams, 75-58 over Northwestern, Illinois 77-52, and Purdue75-60.

The three games the top-rated Huskies lost were at Kansas 69-65, at Seton Hall 75-60, and at Creighton 86-66. The Pirates, who went on to win the NIT, were the only team to reverse the 60 “magic” on UConn. The BIG East, lived up to being the BIGGEST Conference of all, winning both major post season titles, another fact I hate to admit.

When it comes to the three setbacks, well anyone can have a few bad nights, especially on the road. The first one this year was at Kansas when the Jayhawks got to 60 first at 61-54, just ahead of the final media timeout.  Hurley’s Huskies shot a season-low from the three-point line but made 11 of them to stay in the game. UConn pulled back within two late and had a look at a 3-pointer to take a lead in the final seconds, but it rimmed out and KU was able to ice the game. 

Conference foe, Seton Hall, got to them next in decisive fashion 75-60, performing a little reverse magic. The Huskies finished 22-of-58 (37.9 percent) from the floor and 4-of-21 (19.0 percent) from 3-point range. Conversely, Seton Hall shot 29-of-56 (51.8 percent) from the floor and was 3-of-8 from 3-point range. In the home rematch a few weeks later, “Dan the Man” Hurley got revenge, 91-61.

In the third and final loss, before their 13-game run to the Championship, UConn ran into a Creighton buzzsaw 85-66 in Omaha, their last loss of the season. The Huskies were-out shot 44.1 percent to 54.7 percent, but the game’s key difference came behind the 3-point line – UConn shot 3-of-16 (18.7%) from deep while Creighton finished 14-of-28 (50%).

Congratulations to the Huskies and while I’m being a good sport and handing out accolades to the enemy, I’m also envious of the rival Purdue Boilermakers. Coach Matt Painter rallied the team from last year’s disappointment. However, UConn was just too much, but that doesn’t take away from a great Purdue campaign, while reaching their first NCAA Championship game in 64-years and adding a sweep of the Hoosiers. Until the start of next season, “Boiler Up!”

 

 

 

 

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Retirement is not without Hassles: White Knuckles #2507

Continued from Post #2506

I walked back to the Marriott resort center first thing in the morning, but the rental company had no cars for delivery that day, and suggested I grab a cab to their offices in Palma. The driver took me to the wrong location, so I had to walk the extra blocks in search of the right place where the rental agreements were signed. I had no access to GPS, internet, or Spanish language skills and spent the rest of the morning wandering aimlessly in my BMW SUV. After many wrong turns and fruitless conversations with non-English speakers, I stopped at a CEPSA gas station and got directions. Somehow, I made it back to our Villa. 

Our friends, fortunately, had GPS service and directed us back into Palma to visit the   Catedral-Basílica de Santa María de Mallorca and the Royal Palace of La Almudaina. Parking was a nightmare as I tried to familiarize myself with the BMW and navigate the narrow underground spaces in the crowded garage. After this experience, the men decided to sit in a café drinking cappuccinos at Palau while the women did the tours. We all then walked across the plaza to a sidewalk table at Dalili for pizza, caprese, and gelato. The drive back to the resort was less stressful, but only three of us ate the chicken dinner my “younger” wife prepared while us three septuagenarians napped. 

Our travel companions were under the weather the next morning when we planned to drive to the North coast of the island. My wife and I traveled alone to Cap de Formentor where we battled thousands of cyclists, hundreds of tight curves, narrow roads, and steep drops to get to the top. They apparently come in droves to train for the Tour de France. For me, it was white knuckles from top to bottom, so the spectacular views were not worth it, so I was glad to stop for lunch in Port de Pollenca at the Hotel Miramar. I was relieved to get a break from the stress of the mountainous rollercoaster, while gelato on the beach overlooking the surrounding marina offered a picturesque change of pace. It was then an hour back to the villa and a quick change for dinner. 

Unless it is to warn a driver or avert an accident, horn use is illegal, according to Spain’s highway code. It makes city driving very peaceful unlike the horn-crazy U.S. drivers. The government also offers free public transportation to residents in an effort to reduce traffic congestion. Plus, they love to ding us tourists with parking violations and make it difficult to pay the fines, a boost to the economy. My advice: don’t park in the Blue zones without a permit. It cost us a 45 Euro fine to go to dinner at Quina Brassa in Llucmajor on Placa Espanya. This open plaza is where we met our British friends for dinner, conversation about our Egypt trip together last year, and Herbes de Mallorca, an anise liquor nightcap produced on the island. 

With our friends feeling better in the morning, we once again took the rental car into a relatively less-congested Palma for a Hop- On-Hop-Off tour of the city, with no hopping off. Lunch at Tapas Palma and shoe shopping followed. I watched the giant, dancing Panda strip out of his costume for a smoke. The street venders rolled up their blankets and scattered as the police made an appearance, but quickly set up shop again in once the all-clear was signaled. We retreated back to the villa to pay my parking fine and dine for the final time. A last load of laundry, our two remaining bottles of Mallorca wine, and packing for departure led to a short night’s sleep. 

I was up at three, our final day in Mallorca, preparing for two trips to the airport. Our BMW rental would not handle four adults, six bags, and carry-ons. My wife was my first drop-off with luggage before I headed back for the other two passengers. They helped me find a gas station before their exit at the terminal. I returned the rental car to SIXT after a solo ordeal on the poorly marked, dark, roundabouts, another challenge without language skills. Finally, the four of us were back together for check-in, security, and takeoff on our hour-long Yueling Airlines flight back to Barcelona.

A taxi at the Barcelona airport shuttled us to the Renaissance Fira for our last look at the city. First, however, we needed nourishment, so we turned to the Boldú Bakery and their unique glazed donuts in the shape of a plump little men, choosing caramel, chocolate, and raspberry fillings. Upon arrival at the hotel, we were told that our rooms would not be ready until late afternoon, so we cabbed to the Hop-On-Hop-Off for several hours of cruising the sights. Lunch for me was an authentic Spanish seafood paella, while happy hour took place on the roof of our hotel, 27 floors up, with panoramic views of the city and palm trees. It was then a sad moment of goodbyes to our travel companions as we went our separate ways home in the early morning.

A unique high-tech room at the Renaissance, all white with a curtain surrounding the king and a single on the other side. The nightstand tops were under-lit and bedside switches controlled the window shades. The large tub drained from the center. We entered from an open hallway with a 25-story drop through a heavy glass door. It did not appeal to my fear of heights. 

It only took an hour to get to the airport, through security, and past immigration, so we had two hours to wait for our United flight to Newark. Pans & Company was the only option for breakfast, as if I needed to add more fat to my frame. In total, we’ve been away from home for a full four weeks, and I’ve probably gained ten pounds. It will be good to get back into the home routine, although we have three neighborhood parties to attend and an anniversary to celebrate at the Pink Elephant. 

Barcelona to Newark was the first leg. Watched five movies: The Iron Claw, The League, Last Goal Wins, Anyone but You, and the 38 at the Garden documentary about Jeremy Lin. Security was a mess in Newark, a long wait even in TSA-Pre, following the AirTrain and shuttle bus to finally get to our Terminal then gate. It was a good thing we had plenty of time between flights, especially after a 45-minute mechanical delay once we had already boarded in Barcelona. 

During the final leg to Tampa, I watched the movie, “Priscilla.” A poem of our overall adventure is in the works. My neighbor friend was waiting at the airport and got us home by 10pm to sort through mail and get organized for bed. The Party’s Over! 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Land Legs #2506

Continued from Post #2505

Recovery from surgery has reached eleven weeks. Soon it will be time to get my body back in shape. We skipped the afternoon concert but attended the “Port Talk” presentation about excursion options for the upcoming “White City of Morocco,” Morocco stop. I also sat though a talk regarding, The Natural History of the Western Mediterranean before our dinner at The Chef’s Table. Marc Paul performed a second mind-reading act to close out Tuesday.

Wednesday, Day #18, started with the Morocco tour before embarkment in the early afternoon. The main draws are the Hassan II Mosque and Rick’s Café, “of all the gin joints,” made famous in the 1942 Hollywood production – but in name only because the film was studio produced not in Casablanca. “This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”  Afternoon activities were cut short by a trip to the ship’s doctor after I began to have some balance issues on the walk back. Dehydration may have been the cause, coupled with the stress of losing my bank card. I froze the account as a precaution, but it elevated my blood pressure. As a result, I stayed away from alcohol and rich foods. The confusion of two separate on-hour time changes in one day, coupled with early tours the next day led to an early bedtime. 

We passed through the Straits of Gibraltar, marked by the famous rock, in the middle of the night and arrived in Malaga, Spain, our next port, in the early morning hours. “Does anybody really know what time it is?” Another boring bus ride with a heavily accented tour guide distracted from the beauty of being high above the Mediterranean Ocean, overlooking the Bullfight Arena. I elected not to sit on a park bench next to Pablo Picasso, who was born there. We couldn’t afford one of his paintings so we got magnets instead. The wives stayed in the city for more shopping, while the men returned to our rooms for a nap. After a solo lunch in the World Café, I went to two late-afternoon presentations on the Universe (in the Explorers’ Dome Planetarium) and Pirate History, including arguably the greatest, a woman named Ching Shih. As the Jupiter left Malaga Harbor for Barcelona, dinner in The Restaurant and Showman Tim Able on the piano concluded Day #19. 

Day #20 was our last day at sea. I continue to be plagued with muscle cramps, and woke up disappointed that Indiana State did not win the NIT. A somewhat hobbled one mile walk enabled me to listen to a few more chapters of “Good Bad Girl.” 

I’m also reading “The Edge,” the second part of David Baldacci’s “6:20 Man.” Laundry was the top priority. Lectures included “The Habsburg Empire” and a wildlife recap of our voyage, including “boobies,” vultures, dolphins, butterflies, turtles and whales, none of which I witnessed myself. They don’t hang out in the bars and restaurants aboard where I spent a majority of my time. Some passengers even saw the illusive green flash at sunset. Lunch for us was at The Restaurant. I then took in an afternoon siesta, before the Port Talk presentation, Explorers’ Dome 3-D film, and dinner with the bridge partners. I can’t play with them but can certainly share a meal. The finale of the evening was a toast to the crew and musical performance by the Viking singers. 

The last day aboard ship was filled with two very different guided tours by shuttle and foot, along with packing for Mallorca, so naturally we couldn’t miss a meal. Our morning excursion was identified as “Iconic Barcelona,” highlighted by Gaudi’s famous La Sagrada Familia. It was the second of the two landmarks that I looked forward to seeing in person, after Christ the Redeemer. It took 22 days to finally get here, including our day-long flight plus 21-days at sea. The wait was well worth it, despite not having tickets to see the interior, while the Rio statue was a bit of a letdown because of the overcast weather. We also walked through Old Town, and dined twice, first on the boat, and again on tapas in the Spanish Village. Flamenco dancing capped off a very entertaining evening in Barcelona. We returned to the ship, finished our packing, got a couple hours of sleep, and caught a bus to the airport for the Vueling flight to Mallorca. 

The next thing we knew we were napping on pool chairs, with towels for blankets, waiting for our room at the Son Antem Marriott Vacation Club (MVC) to be readied. It was late afternoon before we finally officially checked in after a cab trip to the Hiper Centro for groceries. My wife cooked our first homemade dinner in over three weeks, and we shared a bottle of wine before a long overdue full night’s sleep. While we dozed, the Iowa women lost the National Championship game to South Carolina, ending Caitlin Clark’s stellar collegiate career without a ring. 

Our location on the island is very remote, surrounded by two 18-hole golf courses. I was beginning to get my land legs. However, we quickly realized there would be little to do without renting a car. I made the arrangements with the help of a MVC interpreter through SIXT. Unfortunately, I got my days mixed up and made the long walk to the resort center to make the correction. I was told that these arrangements would need to be made the next morning when their offices opened, so we cooked burgers on the outdoor grill and hit the hay early, long before the Purdue Boilermakers lost their Championship bid in the middle of our night – six hours difference.

Continued ….

Retirement is not without Hassles: Food Fest #2505

Continued from Post #2504

On day #9 of our Trans-Atlantic adventure, lunch was a hot dog prior to stepping off the boat for a tour of hot, humid Recife – the furthest east point of South America. It has Dutch and Jewish influences but most of the old buildings are under construction or in need of repair. Our tour guide spoke broken English and we somehow got separated from the group, joined another, and prematurely returned to the Viking shuttle bus.  It was frankly a relief to leave Recife. A nap, shower, Indian themed dinner at the Chef’s Table, and a poor ABBA performance sent us to bed early. While we slept, the Viking Jupiter started its voyage across the Atlantic. 

Day #10 also marked my 10th week of recovery. I was craving a cheeseburger from the Pool Grill. Paradise, for me, was sitting on our deck in the sunshine with nothing to see but Sea. Dinner for me was another steak at The Restaurant. Violinist, Jakub Trasak, warmed up with Devil Came Down from Georgia and proceeded to WOW us with his string skills. Day 11 Walking the corridors of the ship has become my latest routine. Nine floors up and nine floors down to the morning lecture, where this morning I played on the phone, ignoring information on selecting the best binoculars for birdwatching. Next on the agenda were the somewhat silly Equator-crossing ceremonies, featuring our cruise director as King Neptune. Lunch at The Restaurant began the numerous birthday salutes to our Decatur friend. The clock moved forward an hour for the 2nd of five times before my wife and I sat in on “The Stars Above Us” presentation in the ship’s unique observatory, one of only three in existence. We enjoyed similar talks on the Viking Orion during our Alaska travels. Birthday cocktails continued at Pap’s in the Explorer Lounge and throughout dinner at our favorite, Manfredi’s. Chocolate cake, along with the rich diet and wine sent me to bed on a sugar high that disturbed my sleep all night long. 

Day #12 began with clock confusion and sore shoulders from incision discomfort. I discovered in the midst of my morning walk that it was an hour later than what our phones indicated. I woke up my wife for her scheduled cooking class, and then struggled with lectures about NATO and Mass Extinctions between walks. Despite my continued weight gain, belly flab, and sour stomach, I somehow still had a lunch appetite. The afternoon called for a walk, a nap, and the documentary, Free Solo. Dinner was in The Restaurant, but just before we enjoyed the guitar and vocals of Paolo Polan and another impressive set of James Taylor hits. 

Day #13 was not unlucky and a Good Friday. “Land Ahoy” loomed ahead and a third time change. I walked, read, ate and drank as usual. Paolo played by the pool and Jakob fiddled around as a night cap. 

A full two weeks on the boat and I literally fell out of bed to start the day. Fortunately, I did nothing more than bump my head on the nightstand. We were docked for the day in Sao Vincente, off the coast of Africa. Busses took us to the peak of the island on twisting,  bone jarring, cobblestone roads. Ponch, the local liquor was served by the beach, almost as a reward, once we rumbled down from the mountain. The guide proudly pointed out their soccer stadium. My wife and I then relaxed on the stern deck as the ship pulled away from the city of Mindelo just before sunset, had a cocktail in the Explorer Lounge as we headed back into Atlantic waters, and wined & dined at The Restaurant, as usual. I did get a brief glimpse of the sun through the powerful on-board solar telescope, but it appeared to be just a red ball in the sky. Mind Reader, Marc Paul, wowed us with his stage act. 

The Easter Bunny apparently couldn’t find us in the Atlantic approaching Morocco, but there was a chocolate treat in our stateroom from the crew. Another time change, the fourth of five, has us all confused. I walked the hallways as the ship rocked, weaving along as if drunk. It’s the final day of March and I managed to reach 90 total miles, after just 28 and 18 respectively in January and February due to surgery. Presentations on Submarines and Weightlessness filled the time between the buffet and more formal Restaurant dinner. Tim Abel performed, Liberace style, on the piano. Good Night. 

April Fool’s Day #16 and we remain just off the coast of Africa approaching the Tropic of Cancer and Canary Islands. Six days on the ship remain, including 2 docked in Barcelona. The rocking and rolling continues as I navigate the narrow corridors. Another load of laundry was in order after a lecture on “Majestic Celestial Ballets” regarding the upcoming Solar Eclipse, an event that we will miss while continuing our travels on this side of the Earth. We did visit the stars later, after dinner, a sparkling blanket on a clear night. The lights of the Canary Islands were in the distance as we passed by. Too much red wine and rich foods made for a miserable night’s sleep. 

Day #17 began with a series of walks. Pauses in between for sips of decaf coffee, a bad habit I’ve picked up on this voyage. It’s certainly not the bad taste in my mouth that is attractive, but the warmth of the cup is comforting. My wife hates both the smell and taste, but the Coke Light is not satisfying. There is a cooking demonstration before lunch and I was running behind this morning, so no lectures to fill my pre-lunch schedule. Yesterday, the movie, “Everything Elsewhere All At Once” filled the bill of sea-day boredom. The scale is not my friend as I persist in trying to get a reading between wave swells that occasionally vary up to fifteen pounds from low to high. Could I have possibly gained that much weight? My gut and expanding waistline both tend to agree.

Continued …

Retirement is not without Hassles: Buenos Aires #2504

Buenos Aires was disappointing. Our guided tour took us through the colorful La Boca market district, home of the Juniors soccer team. We passed monuments along the way and went through a mansion that became a tenement and now museum through the years. In the underground space beneath, we enjoyed empanadas and wine In what was once a sewer tunnel leading to the sea. We also stopped at the church, Metropolitan Cathedral of Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, 17 December 1936, who was born there and served the Catholic community. I will have to settle for Coca-Cola Light or Zero rather than Diet Coke. However, I’m assured of a steady diet of Argentine Cabernets and Malbecs. 

The seaside capital city of Uruguay, Montevideo was much more interesting than downtown Buenos Aires, with lots of trees, stone architecture, and the Carnaval Museum, a tribute to the 40-day festival celebrated annually starting every February. We watched a stage performance representative of this event by costumed vocalists, and of course went by their soccer stadium, home of the “Blue Skies,” fierce rivals of the neighboring Juniors. They call it football, but in our game the foot is sparingly used. This is as far south of the equator as I’ve ever been (-34), and the first time in South America. Before this trip, it was Bora Bora (-16.5) that was my Southernmost point of travel. Valdez, Alaska is my Northernmost (+61) stop.

It’s a rainy Wednesday, after thunderstorms last night, so the slippery Promenade Deck that circles The Jupiter was closed. I’m still restricted from using a treadmill, so I walked the hallways and stairways. I’ve overdone indulged on food and wine, so sleep has been sketchy. Stomach and shoulder aches have me tossing and turning all night. I could drink less, but only time will heal the wounds. 

Two days at sea will deliver us to Rio, with the Christ the Redeemer statue to greet us. I’m in the bar area drinking decaf coffee, the warmth of the cup in my hands the main appeal. I’m curious about the local coffee alternative, yerba mate, made from the leaves of an evergreen tree grown in Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay. It apparently has a bitterness that takes some getting used to but has the buzz-effect of caffeine and other stimulants.

It’s the “Good Ship Lollypop.” We’ve dined lavishly each night at Manfredi’s, The Restaurant, and Chef’s Table. The World Café, a giant buffet, serves every other culinary need – ice cream, cookies, even sushi. Despite the daily walks, I’ll easily add another five pounds to my already flabby frame. It will be at least another month before I can get in the gym. Before turning in on Night #3, there was a Welcome session, with crew introductions and champaign toasts. 

The girls are playing bridge, while I stroll the halls or sit in the lobby listening to “Thunderhead,” my latest book on tape borrowed digitally from the library. At bedtime, I’m reading “First Lie Wins.” With little else to do on Sea Day #4, I did three walks totaling over 4 miles, paid some bills, and got some limited sun on our deck. Tonight will include another steak dinner in The Restaurant and more wine guzzling. 

Day #5 on water started with an attempted walk on the Promenade Deck that surrounds the ship, but wind and sea spray quickly interrupted. I finished my 2-mile jaunt indoors and attended a lecture on Plate Tectonics, explaining the shift of the once enjoined continents of Africa, Europe, and America. I then came back to the room to recharge for a second walk, and a boring lecture on Brazilian history. Dinner was in The Restaurant, while bedtime came early, as the boat approached Rio. 

Another upset stomach had me up and down most of the night. I pulled the drapes back several times in the dark hoping to catch a glimpse of shoreline. My wife woke me up in the midst of a dream, excited to see Christ the Redeemer before it once again ducked behind the clouds. It would be the last we would see of it as rain continued throughout the day. We donned cheap pink ponchos and toured the mosaic patterned streets of downtown Rio. Our guide spoke irritatingly rapidly to the point that I turned her off. The ornate, gold-trimmed Opera House and World-renowned Library were the highlights. The tour bus then drove us to the The Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian, a modern pyramid structure based on Mayan architectural style. Four rectilinear stained glass windows  soar from floor to ceiling. On the way back to the ship we passed by the famous Copacabana Beach shrouded in fog. Guitar music by Paolo by the pool, then dinner at the Chef’s Table, and a dance party to conclude the day. 

A full week at sea and this was the most uneventful day of all. The weather was clear, and it grew too hot to sit out on the deck. I attended an afternoon lecture about the planets, after several miles of walking the hallways. Dinner was at The Restaurant, concluding with chocolate lava cake. 

Three lectures, more walking, and a cheesesteak by the pool were the highlights of Day #8. “Finding ET” and “Whale/Dolphin/Porpoise Watching” were the educational subjects, along with a Port Talk about tomorrow’s Recife excursion. The good news is that I can’t get an accurate scale reading as the boat bobs along, although I can feel the weight gain of too much ice cream, cookies, and cake. Dinner, a bone-in filet, was at Manfredi’s, followed by Southern Cross star gazing, and the uninspiring vocals of Camila Andrade.

Continued …

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Trans-Atlantic #2503

It takes about a mile into my morning walks to work out the stiffness in my left leg. In many ways, it’s like a cramp or charley horse that needs to be worked out. I lean against some of the light poles along the path through our neighborhood, heels flat on the ground, and extend my legs into a hamstring stretch, arching my back to relieve some of pressure on my spine. Massage to my lower back also seems to help, but it remains an uncomfortable experience. 

Laying flat on my back with the back of my  head touching the floor or flattening my spine against the wall will hopefully help my posture. I tend to stoop when I stand or walk, so I need to stay conscious about being erect, forcing me shoulders back. The posture issue is causing the discomfort in my lower back and leg muscles, mildly atrophied during my recent hospital stay. 

Sitting upright and erect are also key, since I now spend more time lounging than standing. Chin up…head back…shoulders straight is my goal, even though my chest aches from the incision scars and my neck is sore from lack of exercise. I need to make more progress. It will be eight weeks in a few days. 

Jax, Tally’s schnauzer boyfriend, was there to greet her for this morning’s reunion at Schnauzerville. She should be content in the four weeks we’re gone on this trip. It’s her home away from home. 

My precocious five-year-old granddaughter got a huge kick about “flying” over the seven Venetian-like bridges in the passenger seat of our golf cart. Although I’ve curbed the speed a bit after surgery, it was still a thrilling rollercoaster ride over the alligator infested canals that wind throughout our Islandwalk Community. She enjoyed a frozen strawberry popsicle to celebrate, draped in a towel to prevent any stains on her pretty dress with heart shapes. She was winning mine today, now that it’s repaired. 

We were in-flight overnight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires, arriving on festive St. Patrick’s Day. The flight was uneventful. My wife slept most of the way so I devoured her two meals and watched “Ferrari,” “The Hunger Games” prequel, and “Everest,” a climbing documentary. We arrived at 9am, getting back the hour just  lost from springing forward. 

We met up with our once Decatur neighbors on the boat, who arrived from their retirement home of Marana, AZ via Miami. We had to go north illogically from Tampa through Atlanta to travel South across the equator on Delta Airlines. An old friend is staying at our house after, driving us the two hours to the airport to avoid a month of parking fees. In mid-April, a neighbor friend will pick us up in Tampa and drive us home. 

I discovered through Facebook that a high school classmate was disembarking the ship just as we were getting on. We were so close to reconnecting in person but will have to settle on messages, posts, and e-mails to exchange pictures as we go our separate ways again. So close – so far, Janey! There is a 55th Elkhart High School reunion in early September, but I’m unable to attend. I’ve yet to learn her plans.

Continued…

Old Sport Shorts: Season Over #2502

The sporadic Hoosiers, after the surprising 5-game conference win streak, found themselves in the Quarterfinal finale of the Big Ten Tournament. The game against Nebraska was tight for the first half of the first half, but the Cornhuskers, led by Keisei Tominaga’s 18-point burst, including a last second swish to end the first half. He finished with four treys and 23-points. 

After this third attempt this campaign to salvage a victory over the talented Huskers, I.U. was done for the season. Nebraska then proceeded to cross over the magic mark 62-40 on a Jamarques Lawrence triple at 12:34, and went on to dominate 93-66. 

The embarrassing 27-point loss is Indiana’s largest margin of defeat to Nebraska in the 29 games the teams have played. Coach Woodson added to the humiliation with ejection, earning  his second technical foul with 5 minutes remaining. He then announced that the team will not accept an NIT invitation and will instead focus on recruiting. 

Indiana ends its tumultuous 2023-2024 season 19-14. Once again, I could not bear to watch the end of this late-night massacre from Minneapolis. CJ Gunn led the Hoosier attack with 17-points, perhaps a prophesy of a better next year with another club following his announcement to transfer, along with Banks. Ware announced he’s turning pro but Reneau,  Mgbako, Leal, Galloway, and Cupps will return. The Hoosiers also recently added both Myles Rice from Washington State, and Bryson Tucker from Bishop O’Connell high, while Jakai Newton returns from the injury that forced him to miss a year. Six scholarships remain. 

Old Sport Shorts Buzzer Beater #2501

The 3rd time was the charm, but it took some Magic. Never has the 60-point mark been more important. The score was tied 59-59 with 24.3 seconds remaining on the clock. Both I.U. and Penn State had opportunities to reach it during the minutes before. The Nittany Lions tied the game at 59 on an Ace Baldwin basket with 1:25 left. He had struggled all night after 23 and 22-point performances in the previous two games and ended up with only 9. After a pair of empty possessions for both teams and a timeout, Malik Reneau missed a runner in the lane with just over six seconds left, but Anthony Leal’s tip-in gave the Hoosiers a two-point lead. Penn State had a final look, but Puff Johnson’s 3-pointer missed to send the Hoosiers to the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals against Nebraska. 

The last game I.U. had lost was against Penn State. They are now on a five-game winning streak. The Hoosiers, without Trey Galloway, came out of the gate defending with tenacity. Free throw shooting kept Penn State in the game, followed by a flurry to start the second half. Mackenzie Mgbako, recently named the Big Ten’s co-freshman of the year, finished with 11, but all but one were in the first half. Kel’el Ware led all scorers with 18, while Reneau added 12. Leal totaled 8, with one three, but none more important than the buzzer beater. With 19 wins, one more may be enough to get them in the NCAA tourney, a lost cause just weeks before. 

 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Hungarian Americans 9B #2500

Continued from #  Post 2497

My first long car ride was a miserable experience, as motion sickness ruined the drive from the airport to our home the day I first arrived in America. We made several “emergency” stops along the way. I can still remember cars and tanks burning on the streets of downtown Pest, so it’s a wonder why I became so attracted to them. I’m not even sure why I was interested in going to the Indianapolis 500 when we lived in Indianapolis, however, that had to have been what further stirred my interest in the sport and the cars on the track. I was naturally curious as to the automobile’s history in Hungary. 

I refer to a Dailynewshungary.com article that begins by explaining, “some original car production in the Hungarian part of Austro-Hungary at the beginning of the 20th century was lost. Most cars and trucks were imported from the Soviet Union and some other countries. Hungary itself produced a small number of heavy trucks (Rába). The country also specialized in the manufacture of buses (Ikarus). The Ganz Works, a long lived Hungarian company, has been manufacturing engines and wagons that are specialized for electric railway equipment.” 

The dump truck that Bela stole for the escape was probably built by Rába. The company was founded by local investor groups in Győr in 1896. 1904 marked the start of production for their first petrol engine powered trucks. Throughout the years, they have become an important provider to Hungarocamion, a publicly operated international trucking firm. As far as cars, the Rába was a Hungarian automobile manufactured from 1912 to 1914. Soon after, the company began to produce its first passenger automobiles: The RÁBA Alpha, along with cars of other licenses, including BenzPanhard, and Austro-Daimler. The diverse company also makes railroad passenger carriages, city tramcars, and agricultural vehicles like Rába tractors. Although they are no longer in the car business, they Rába has grown to be Hungary’s third largest employer.

Here are eight other cars that were designed, built, or assembled by Hungarian people:

  • Few are probably aware that József Galamb, a Hungarian engineer, helped develop the world-famous Ford Model T.

  • According to the magazine Vezess, the very first “truly” Hungarian car was named after its creator, János Csonka back in May of 1905 and tested at the University of Technology and Economics. “Its engine was a four-cylinder, four-stroke water-cooled design with a transmission attached to it.”

  • Hvg reports that the Brokernet Silver Sting was the first domestic racing car to be designed and built entirely in Hungary with the help of Hungarian experts, but only two were made, using Kevlar, titanium, carbon fiber, and composite materials.

  • The Hódmezővásárhely Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing Company is associated with the production of the electric-powered small car named ‘Puli’. The chassis made of fiberglass plastic, won awards but have since disappeared from the roads, as if there were many made to begin with.

  • The roadster Borbála, named after the daughter of the designer, lacked a door and was the star of the 1989 Hungexpo.

  • The 1995 Alma was a convertible with a refurbished Fiat 127 engine. Actually, the only part made in Hungary was the fiberglass body.

  • The Brokernet Silver Sting is powered by a 437-horsepower, 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine that was developed from the Porsche 911 GT3 engine.

  • The Esztergom-made S-CROSS was the grand winner of “Hungarian Car of the Year 2023”.

Hungary has been a part of Formula 1 since 1986 and has seen only one driver race under the red, white, and green colors of their flag. There are very names that come to mind, although there are a number of up-and-coming Magyar men and women in the sport.

Ferenc Szisz was the first Hungarian race car driver and the winner of the first Grand Prix motor racing event on a Renault Grand Prix 90CV on June 26, 1906. More recently, Zsolt Baumgartner, who was born on January 1, 1981 in Debrecen, Hungary has a single point scored in his Formula 1 career. Zsolt began racing competitively at the age of thirteen karting in Hungary in 1994.  

Laszlo Toth who was born on June 2nd, 2000, in Telki Hungary, most recently competed for ARC Bratislava in the 2023 Asian Le Mans Series. In 2022, he drove for Charouz Racing System in the FIA Formula 3 Championship. Toth, like Baumgartner, began karting at age thirteen in 2013. In 2021 the Hungarian joined Campos Racing in Formula 3 and in seventeen attempts failed to score. He had previously competed in the Italian F4 ChampionshipADAC Formula 4 and Formula Renault Eurocup. The prior year, Toth raced for Bhaitech in Formula Renault Eurocup, still not winning but scoring some points along the way.

I’ve been to six Formula One events, Phoenix, Austin and four in Montreal, but never got back to see the Hungarian Grand Prix (Magyar Nagydíj) for the inaugural 1986 race or any subsequent years. This was the first Formula One race to take place behind the Iron Curtain, a major coup by organizer Bernie Ecclestone. The race drew 200,000 spectators despite expensive ticket prices. My cousin, Tibi, a big fan of the sport, could not afford to go. Locals made up only about ten percent of attendees, while the Finns and Germans are the majority of the crowd. The twisty, Hungaroringin Mogyoród near Budapest is the race site.

Ecclestone was also being creative when he took F1 to the flat streets of Phoenix in 1989. I was there on Safeway business and bought a ticket, thinking it was a long way from Phoenixville to Phoenix. It was my first, followed by Austin’s more challenging climbs and turns. A business associate, Joe Gunn, and I then took the “Griswold Hauler” to Montreal and stayed in a bed & breakfast. The following year, he ushered us there in style in his new BMW. The other two years, Jill arranged for tickets through Tony and Peter, the brother owners of La Campagnola Restaurant, one of several they operated. The walls of their pizza place in downtown Shamong were decorated with Formula One lithographs.

The artist turned out to be a friend of theirs, and they let Jill choose from a book of options. The signed, framed print she selected for me was of the 1989 Hungarian Grand Prix with my two favorite F1 drivers, Nigel Mansell passing Ayrton Senna for the win. It proudly hangs in my office. As it also so happened, the brothers were about to open a Canadian restaurant and planned on taking a group of 25 to Montreal for the race. I was able to buy tickets for that Formula One race two consecutive years where they provided VIP transportation and lodging.

Since we moved to Florida, I’ve been to two major tracks, and watched a fellow sports car owner race his Porche on a make-shift airport course. Some neighbors went with me to the St. Pete Indycar Grand Prix two years in a row and we drove the Miata to Sebring for a SCCA event on that famous track in conjunction with the car club. There were just too many Miata’s on the course that chilly day to make it competitive. The streets of St. Petersburg did make for some interesting racing. Mario Andretti drove the pace car and we hooked up with Bitcoin driver Conor Daly, his mother, Beth, and stepfather, Doug Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The only thing we didn’t get to do was ride on Roger Penske’s yacht parked near the finish line.  In the near future, I’d also like to get down to Miami for the FI event. Maybe I’ll win the lottery!

Penske won in St. Pete in 2024, but I was saddled by hip surgery and my neighbor, this book’s ghost writer, was recovering from open heart surgery. The good news is that he had plenty of down time to write. We watched the race together on TV, along with a recorded replay of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Our neighbor’s nephew, Karun Chandhok, was involved in the commentary. Ho…hum, Max Verstappen and Red Bull won again. I guess we could almost say the same thing about Penske’s Josef Newgarden, certainly Roger himself. Conor Daly was not in St. Pete but will drive for Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in Indianapolis, just another race that I’ll have to watch on TV this year. My Indycar favorites, Emerson Fittipaldi and Al Unser, Jr. are now only represented on race day by grandchildren. Let’s face it – I’m getting old.

Due to the nature of the Budapest track, narrow and often dusty because of under-use, the Hungarian Grand Prix is not particularly driver friendly, with sometimes many cars stuck behind each other, unable to pass. Qualifying position and pit strategy are crucial, although the 1989 race saw a bullish performance from Nigel Mansell in the Ferrari, who started from 12th on the grid and passed car after car, finally taking the lead when Ayrton Senna was balked by a slower runner. The circuit was modified slightly in 2003 in an attempt to allow more passing.

In 2020Lewis Hamilton won the Hungarian Grand Prix for an eighth time, equaling Michael Schumaker’s French Grand Prix record for the most times a driver had won the same Grand Prix. Max Verstappen and Red Bull, who has been recently unstoppable, won the 2022 and 2023 editions. I have until 2032 to get there, and maybe take cousin Tibi, after a recent contract extension for the race.  

Historically, back in June of 1936, the very first Grand Prix was held on a 5-kilometre (3.1-mile) track laid out in Népliget, a park in Budapest. “The Mercedes-BenzAuto Union, and the Alfa Romeo-equipped Ferrari teams all sent three cars and the event drew a very large crowd. However, politics and the ensuing war meant the end of Grand Prix motor racing in Hungary for fifty years.”

Grand Prix racing in Hungary also extends to motorcycles, dating back to between 1988 and 1990 when WorldSBK (World Super Bike) came to the Hungaroring with Fred Merkel winning four of the six races. WorldSBK’s planned 2024 visit to Balaton Park, a newly constructed 4.115 km venue with six right-hand corners and 10 left-hand turns, will mean the circuit would become the second Hungarian track the Championship has visited. “In total, three manufacturers – Honda, Kawasaki, and Ducati – claimed victories in Hungary. Will they be able to add to that total, or will Yamaha and BMW become Hungarian winners?”

I’m, of course, partial to Bayerische Motoren Werke. My godfather’s BMW motorcycle was my very first time riding on any set of wheels. I also associate the sweets and ice cream he used to buy me after sitting in the sidecar on our adventures around Budapest. He would take me back to his machine shop and show me around. It was certainly an influence on my love of engines and everything automotive.

 

sides his BMW motorcycle, I personally had a 21-year love affair with my 533i automobile. The brand also achieved great success on the British racing scene, including the “Isle of Man TT Races” where they have a rich winning history dating back to 1939 and Georg “Schorsch” Meier in the saddle of a 255 Kompressor. I learned early on that the correct term for a BMW automobile is “bimmer,” while “beemer” and “beamer” actually only refer to a BMW motorcycle.

According to various sources, MotoGP has just announced a plan to bring motorcycle racing back to Hungary by 2025 at the latest. Dorna Sports and the Hungarian Mobility Development Agency (HUMDA) are working together to certify two venues that could soon host some of the most thrilling racing in the world of motorsports.”

Hungarian Heritage:

Unlike the conditions of 1956 under Communist rule, Hungary today is considered to be a middle power on the global stage. They joined NATO in 1999, becoming a formal ally of the United States, and also agreed to be one of ten new states to join the EU in 2004. The country has a high-income economy, and its citizens enjoy free secondary education and access to universal healthcare. “The Hungarian social security system offers protection from sickness, maternity, old-age, invalidity, occupational disease and injury, accidents at work, survivorship, children’s education, and unemployment. All persons who are gainfully employed and those of equivalent status are insured against all risks.” Being “Hungry in Hungary,” is no longer about food but rather about being competitive and getting ahead.

Because I’m so proud of my heritage, please allow me to list some of the more famous Hungarians, who can call themselves Magyar. In my opinion, “the statue committee” should consider more champions on this list other than just Count Béla Lugosi and Imre Nagy.  Once again, thanks to Wikipedia for help in compiling and dividing this list into categories:

Hungarian Musicians:

Béla Bartók, considered the greatest Hungarian composer of all time.

Eugene Ormandy, renowned conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra who developed the “Philadelphia Sound.”

Franz Lehár, musician and composer most well-known for his opera “The Merry Widow.”

Franz Liszt, renowned pianist and composer of more than 700 compositions including The Hungarian Rhapsody.

Gene Simmons, KISS rock-and-roll icon Simmons later changed his name to Eugene Klein, taking his Hungarian mother’s maiden name.

Alanis Morrisette, vocalist, her Hungarian mother’s family was forced to leave the country after the 1956 revolution.

Michael Balzary, better known as Red Hot Chili Peppers’ guitarist Flea.

Hungarian Performers:

Béla Lugosi, actor who will be forever remembered and identified as Count Dracula.

Harry Houdini (born Erich Weisz), world famous magician, illusionist and escape artist.

Michael Curtiz, Hollywood director of “Casablanca.”

Peter Lorre, character actor best known for his roles in “Casablanca” and “Maltese Falcon.”

Zoltán Latinovits, the male lead in over 50 films and countless stage roles.

Katalin Karády, a leading actress in Hungarian movies made between 1939–1945.

Pál Jávor, the country’s first male movie star.

Mari Törőcsik, stage and film actress, appearing in more than 170 films from 1956 to 2020. 

Imre Soós, Hungarian actor, mostly known for his roles in communist propaganda films during the 1950s. 

 Zsa Zsa, Eva and Magda Gabor, Hollywood actresses and socialites who collectively were married 19 times.

Louis C.K., famous comedian, his father’s ancestry is rooted in Mexico and Hungary.

Peter Falk, Columbo, one of TV’s most recognizable detectives.

 Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, daughter and granddaughter of Jews who escaped Hungary during World War II.

Drew Barrymore, her mother, Ildiko Makó, was born to Hungarian parents in a German refugee camp during WWII.

Tony Curtis, the actor was born Bernard Schwartz

 Hungarian Inventors, Designers, & Scientists:

Béla Berenyl, designer of the Volkswagen Beetle.

David Gestetner, inventor of the Gestetner stencil duplicator or mimeograph machine.

Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb.

Ernő Rubik, creator of the Rubik’s cube.

János Irinyi, inventor of the noiseless match.

Imre Bródy, inventor of the krypton electric bulb.

Laszlo Biro, inventor of the ballpoint pen

Calvin Klein, fashion designer whose father, Leo, was actually born in Hungary to Hungarian and Czechoslovakian immigrants.

Paul Erdős, brilliant Hungarian mathematician whose parents were also mathematicians.

Albert Szent-Györgyi, discovered Vitamin C and won the 1937 Nobel Prize.

Sándor Just and Imre Bródy, created the tungsten lamp.

Hungarian Politicians, Leaders, Monarchs and Kings:

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France of Hungarian descent on his father’s side.

Matthias Corvinus, Matthias the Just, the monarch who wandered among his subjects in disguise, he remains a popular hero of Hungarian and Slovak folk tales.

Louis II, King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia from 1516 to 1526. 

Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen. 

Miklós Horthy, admiral and statesman who served as the regent of the Kingdom of Hungary during the interwar period and most of World War II.

Imre Nagy, communist politician who served as Chairman of the Council of Ministers (de facto Prime Minister) of the Hungarian People’s Republic from 1953 to 1955. 

Gaiseric, also known as Geiseric or Genseric was king of the Vandals and Alans from 428 to 477.

Louis I, also Louis the Great was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1342 and King of Poland from 1370. 

Jadwiga, also known as Hedvig was the first woman to be crowned as monarch of the Kingdom of Poland. 

Árpád, was the head of the confederation of the Magyar tribes at the turn of the 9th and 10th centuries. 

Andrew II, also known as Andrew of Jerusalem, was King of Hungary and Croatia between 1205 and 1235.

Hungarian Olympians:

Hungary first competed in athletics at the inaugural 1896 Olympic Games, with 3 athletes competing in 5 events and winning a silver and two bronze medals. The nation’s first gold medal in the sport came in 1900, with Rudolf Bauer‘s victory in the discus throw.

Hungarian athletes have won a total of 511 medals at the Summer Games and 10 medals at the Winter Games, with fencing being the top medal-producing sport. They also love being in the water and expect to win in competitions like swimming, water polo, kayaking, and canoeing.

Aladár Gerevich, a Hungarian fencer, regarded as “the greatest Olympic swordsman ever”. He won seven gold medals in saber at six different Olympic Games.

Iboyla Csák, winner of the women’s high jump at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Rezső Ignác Boldizsár “Rudolf” Bauer, winner of the gold medal in the men’s discus throw at the 1900 Summer Olympics.

Gyula Kellner, competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens and was one of 17 athletes to start the first ever marathon race. His time was 3:06.35.

Nándor János Dáni, 1896 Olympic runner who won a silver medal.

Dénes Kemény, president of the men’s national water polo team from 1997 to 2012. His teams medaled in 24 of its 29 major tournaments, including three Olympic golds in a row between 2000 and 2008, making him one of the most successful water polo coaches in Olympic history.

Imre Földi, weightlifter, competing at a record five Olympic Games, winning gold in 1972 and silver in 1964 and 1968.

Gyula Zsivótzky, hammer thrower who won a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics, silvers in 1960 and 1964, and finished fifth in 1972. He was also twice elected as Hungarian Sportsman of the Year.

Olga Gyarmati, all-round track and field athlete who competed at three Olympic Games in four different events. Her greatest success was winning the inaugural Olympic Women’s Long Jump competition in London in 1948.

Éva Székely, gold medalist at the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki and silver medalist at the 1956 Summer Olympics.

András Balczó, pentathlete who competed at the 1960, 1968 and 1972 Olympics in the individual and team events, winning three gold and two silver medals.

Alfréd Hajós, first modern Olympic swimming champion and part of the first National European football/soccer team.

Krisztina Egerszegi, first female swimmer to win five individual Olympic gold medals.

Laszlo Papp, first boxer in Olympic history to win 3 consecutive gold medals.

Zsolt Erdei, bronze medalist in the middleweight division at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Bela and Martha Karolyi, gymnastics coaches who have coached Olympic medalists including Nadya Comaneci.

Ekaterina Szabo, born in Romania of Hungarian descent. Winner of 4 Olympic gold and 1 silver medal, member of the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.

Elvis Stojko, 3-time World Figure Skating Champion, 7-time Canadian National Champion and winner of 2 Olympic silver medals.

Mark Spitz, Indiana University and Olympic swimming legend who won 7 gold medals at the 1972 Games in Munich.

Krisztina Egerszegi, youngest athlete ever to win an Olympic gold medal for swimming, 5-time gold medal winner in individual events.

Karch Kiraly, American volleyball player who is the only person ever to have won Olympic medals (both gold) in both indoor and beach volleyball.

Gergely Kiss, water polo player who first came to prominence helping the Hungarian team win gold during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Hungarian athletes have participated in all Winter Olympic Games, but it wasn’t until 2018 in Pyeong Chang, South Korea that the country claimed their first ever gold in the men’s short track speed skating 5000 meter relay. Shaoang Liu followed this achievement with the first ever individual gold for speed skating at 500 meters in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. He also took the bronze at 1000 meters.

The country has participated in all but two Summer Olympic games. The exceptions were Antwerp 1920 because of the war and Los Angeles 1984 due to the boycott.

Other Hungarian Athletes:

These athletes made their mark in different sports, but they all shared Hungarian ancestry:

Ferenc Puskás, footballer and manager, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.

Kornél Dávid, one of two Hungarians to play in the NBA.

Al Hrabosky, known as the “Mad Hungarian”, relief pitcher known for his blazing fastball.

Mickey Hargitay, body builder and actor, a member of Mae West’s stage show and Jayne Mansfield’s ex-husband.

George “Papa Bear” Halas, legendary Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, called the “father of the NFL.”

Larry Csonka, former running back and Super Bowl VIII MVP, currently a television host.

Don Shula, winningest coach in NFL history.

Joe Namath, New York Jets quarterback and Super Bowl MVP, affectionately known as “Broadway Joe.”

Lou “The Toe” Groza, kicker for the Cleveland Browns, Hall of Famer and 6-time All Pro.

Julius Boros, golfing legend and member of the PGA Hall of Fame and World Golf Hall of Fame.

Joseph “Bronco” Horvath, played for 6 NHL teams but is best remembered for his time with the Boston Bruins centering the “Uke Line” with Johnny Bucyk and Vic Stasiuk.

Kincsem, the most successful thoroughbred race horse ever, who won all 54 of her starts.

Ferenc Puskás, considered to be one of the greatest soccer player in history, played 84 games with the Hungarian National Team and scored a world record 83 goals.

Sándor Kocsis, known as the “Man with the Golden Head”, he scored 75 goals in 68 internationals, including a record 7 hat-tricks.

Hungarian Authors and Poets:

Culture Trip’s Adam Barnes identified eight Hungarian titles that “you should read before you die.” These include “The Door” by Magda Szabó, “Fatelessness” by Imre Kertész, “The Paul Street Boys” by Ferenc Molnár, “The Man With The Golden Touch” by Mór Jókai, “The Case Worker” by György Konrád, “Satantango” by László Krasznahorkai, “Journey By Moonlight” by Antal Szerb, and “Embers” by Sándor Márai.

Since many Hungarian writers unfortunately never had their work translated, these authors are recognized to be the new wave of internationally accessible writers:

Mór Jókai, often compared to Charles Dickens by the press.

Antal Szerb, considered to be one of the major Hungarian writers of the 20th century.

Imre Kertész, writer, poet, and journalist.

Sándor Márai, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Magda Szabó, she is the most translated Hungarian author.

Sándor Petőfi, poet and liberal revolutionary. Author of the National Song.

Joseph Székelys, journalist, author, and archivist.

Of all these notable Hungarians, probably the most recognizable name for any of us is Harry Houdini. However, his escapes were nothing compared to my mom and dad.

The End.

Author’s note: This is the short, un-edited version of this story. The book itself will be much more detailed and proofread. Sorry for any errors or omissions in this version. 

 

 

Old Sport Shorts: Stretch Run #2499

Many of us gave up on the men’s season this year. Some of us sought sanity by focusing on the women’s success. Admittedly, there were a couple of games that I turned off the TV and few that I looked forward to even watching. Fortunately, I missed the final Purdue game – in fact, I missed that whole day due to surgery. In the end, I began to expect the worst, but instead got some of the best. WOW – a four-game winning streak down the stretch, crashing two Senior Day parties in the process. It’s more than I honestly expected, but probably not enough to make the Big Dance. To make matters worse we lost our lone incoming recruit in the class of 2024. No McNeeley. No Boogie. No Queen. Zero incoming recruits. But, we still have Coach Woodson. Somehow, almost miraculously, IU met lowly preseason Big Ten expectations by finishing sixth despite a 4-game winning streak.

Even the usually fundamentally sound women fell apart this week in the BIG Tournament, eliminated 69-56 by Michigan. They built what seemed to be an insurmountable 17-point lead in the first half, even without All-Big Ten star Mackenzie Holmes, who didn’t play until late in the fourth quarter due to an injury. The collapse sounded familiar, since we’ve seen it so often with the men this year.  Iowa and Caitlin Clark took the conference title with a comback, overtime win over Nebraska in Minneapolis. 

Meanwhile, in Bloomington there was pure magic when IU regained the lead on Michigan State 60-57 with 5:33 to go. However, Malik Reneau could not finish his plus one on that potential 3-point play, then proceeded to turn it over on the next possession. Xavier Johnson followed with another. It looked like they just couldn’t put the Spartans away, missing frees and threes down the stretch. This has been typical play all season long but Michigan State was equally inept in the miscue department. At the buzzer, the Hoosiers prevailed 65-64 on a Kel’el Ware free throw, despite missing his last five at the line.

At the 13:14 mark in the first half, the Hoosiers amassed a 20-5 lead after a Mackenzie Mgbako 3-pointer, his second of the contest. But Trey Galloway then headed to the bench, never to return to the contest after an apparent knee injury. Near the end of the half, Kel’el Ware, Malik Reneau and Mgbako combined for turnovers on three consecutive possessions, leading to a relatively precarious 34-29 edge at the break. The Spartan dominance contined after halftime, with Tyson Walker (game-high 30 points) leading the way. Kel’el Ware countered with 19 second half points. It was a happy Senior Day ending with Leal and Galloway both announcing another year with the program following the victory.

 

 

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