LSU’s eastern rerun

I was in Buffalo Wild Wings when the NCAA men’s basketball tournament bracket was announced on CBS. However, I have not filled out a bracket for a contest, nor will I do so.

I admit I made an erroneous post about LSU being placed in the East region.

I said this would be the first time LSU would play in the East region since 1988, when the Bayou Bengals lost 66-63 to Georgetown in Hartford when the Hoyas’ Charles Smith banked in a 35-footer at the buzzer. That Georgetown team featured a freshman from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (known as Zaire in 1988) who would make his mark on basketball over the next two decades. His name: Dikembe Mutombo.

I did not realize the Bayou Bengals were in the East region in 2015, their last tournament appearance. That year, LSU lost a close game to North Carolina State in Pittsburgh. The Wolfpack followed that by ousting top seed Villanova, which bounced back just fine, as evidenced by the Wildcats’ national championships in 2016 and ’18.

The “pod” system, where first and second round sites are not tied to a specific region, sometimes makes it very easy to forget which region a team is assigned to. However, I should have done my homework. Not that it’s going to cost me anything, but I have to do better.

That I didn’t know LSU was in the East region four years ago shows my interest in March Madness has waned. A lot. I seriously doubt I’ll be watching at 1140 Thursday when the Bayou Bengals face Yale.

I listened to the end of the LSU-NC State game in 2015 driving around Overland Park. I watched the LSU-Georgetown game of 1988 in my old house in Arabi with Jason Malasovich, who was over to visit.

The Hoyas’ win over LSU was their last of 1987-88. Georgetown was no match for Temple in the second round. The Owls, the top seed in the East in 1988, lost in the East regional final to Duke, a disappointing end, but certainly better than the previous season, when John Chaney’s team entered the second round of the NCAAs 32-3, only to be easily defeated by the #10 seed in the Midwest, LSU.

Duke lost to Kansas in the Final Four at Kansas City’s Kemper Arena. Two nights later, the Jayhawks avenged three losses to Oklahoma, which ousted Arizona in the other semifinal, by defeating the Sooners 83-79 for their first national championship since 1952.

Two very interesting notes came from the LSU-Georgetown game of 1988 in 1989.

While Mutombo and Smith could not carry Georgetown alone in 1987-88, they got a huge assist the next season with the arrival of Alonzo Mourning from Virginia. The Hoyas won their first nine games of 1988-89 to rise to No. 5 in the AP poll, but lost their first game of 1989 to Seton Hall in the Meadowlands.

As it turned out, that was no sin. The Pirates would be one of the two teams left standing at the very end, losing in overtime to Michigan in one of the best championship games since the NCAA men’s tournament began in 1939.

Following the loss to Seton Hall, the Hoyas won their next six and were ranked No. 2 in the AP poll of January 24, 1989.

On January 26, top-ranked Illinois lost at Minnesota. That meant Georgetown would rise to the top of the polls if it won its January 28 game.

The opponent that Saturday was none other than LSU, which was enjoying a much better than expected season, thanks to the prowess of freshman sensation Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf) and the fiery leadership of fifth-year senior Ricky Blanton, who played on LSU’s 1986 Final Four team.

Georgetown came to Louisiana as the return game after the Bayou Bengals played the Hoyas in Washington (actually Landover, Maryland, where the Bullets played at the time), but instead of playing in Baton Rouge, the game was moved to New Orleans and the cavernous Louisiana Superdome.

LSU coach Dale Brown and the entire athletic department attempted to set a new attendance record for a college basketball game, and sure enough, over 68.000 packed the “world’s largest room” on Poydras Street, more than attended the Saints’ season finale one month prior.

Nobody gave LSU a chance, but lo and behold, the Bayou Bengals kept it close. Blanton, who was on the floor in Baton Rouge when Anthony Wilson hit a shot at the buzzer vs. Memphis in the secound round of the 1986 NCAA tournament, played the hero this time, laying it in after Dennis Tracey’s airballed 3-point attempt was tipped to him by Wayne Sims.

LSU, which lost 127-100 to Illinois in Baton Rouge three days before Christmas, won 82-80. The Bayou Bengals stumbled at the end, however, losing three of their last four, including the NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP I discussed in an earlier post.

Georgetown sustained road losses to Pitt and Syracuse after the game in New Orleans, but recovered to win the Big East tournament and earn the top seed in the East region. The Hoyas were sent back to Hartford, this time to face another team whose mascot is the Tigers.

Princeton proceeded to win the heart of every basketball fan who did not root for Georgetown. Coincidentally, that game was 30 years ago tonight.

Pete Carrill’s Tigers used their anachronistic offense, centered around back-door cuts and sets which bled the shot clock (then 45 seconds, 15 seconds longer than today) nearly dry and frustrated teams which wanted to play a more up-tempo offense.

Georgetown was one of those teams that got frustrated.

The Hoyas needed Mourning to block a last-second shot to escape with a 50-49 victory. Georgetown’s luck ran out in the regional final when it lost to Duke, who in turn was routed by Seton Hall in the Final Four at Seattle.

While Princeton lost, the NCAA tournament won. Big time. Watch the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary about this game and you’ll see how.

This game was not televised on CBS, but rather on ESPN, which had a much lower percentage of households in 1989 than it does today. And it was good fortune Princeton-Georgetown was on ESPN, because many first round games were only televised locally in the markets of the participating teams.

For instance, the LSU-Georgetown game in 1988 was only on in Louisiana and the Capital Beltway, although it may have been picked up by markets in Mississippi, Alabama and east Texas. Two years prior, LSU and Purdue played a thrilling double overtime game in the opening round, but if you weren’t in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Indianapolis, South Bend or another town in Louisiana or Indiana, you were out of luck.

When the NCAA negotiated its next TV contract for the men’s basketball tournament, CBS ponied up the cash and made sure every game would be on The Tiffany Network, an arrangement which lasted 20 years (1991-2010).

Today, CBS shares the tournament with three cable networks, and every game is shown start to finish. Plus with streaming, any basketball junkie should know the final score of every NCAA tournament game right away.

St. Patrick’s Day 2019 is over for the Eastern third of the United States. And it is for me, at least on this blog.

Luxury riders

I’m back. Time for that story.

St. Patrick’s Day 1989 was on a Friday. Everyone at Arabi Park Middle School was looking forward to the final bell that day, since it would mean the beginning of one week off, the unofficial spring break, even though it wasn’t called that.

That night would be another of Arabi Park’s dances for the 7th and 8th grade students. Want to talk about awkward? Your intrepid blogger was the poster child for awkwardness. I didn’t have the guts to ask any girl to dance, and I often started crying by the end of the first hour.

Many girls were turned off by that, but I don’t blame them. They were 12 or 13, what were they supposed to do? Fortunately, Rosemarie Renz (now Huguet), who is my longest-standing friend on earth (37 1/2 years), was always nice enough to dance with me once or twice, and eventually, Stacie Dauterive (Seube), the young lady whom I had a crush on at Arabi Park, also danced with me near the end of the night.

Stacie was beautiful then and is now. But she has a wonderful heart. That’s why I really had a crush on her. Her sister, Andree (Addison), has that heart of gold, too.

I can’t say enough great things about Rosemarie. I hurt sometimes that we lost touch after 7th grade when I went to Brother Martin. Part of me wishes I would have stayed at Arabi Park fo the eighth grade and gone to Archbishop Hannah, the Catholic high school in St. Bernard Parish (county) with her.

On St. Patrick’s Day 1989, the APM student council sponsored a raffle. The winner would win a ride to the dance in a limo and would be able to bring five other people with him or her.

Let’s just say I spent as much money on trying to win the raffle as I would buying music credits during a long day at Buffalo Wild Wings. And $20 in 1989 was a lot more than $20 in 2019.

My classmates noticed I was going after the limo ride hard. During an afternoon class, I kidded with Toni LaRocca and Allison Richardson about inviting them to ride if I had won.

My heart weighs very heavy thinking about that right now. Allison Richardson (White) passed away in 2008 from cancer. Toni was extremely close to Allison, as was Stacie and several other girls in my classes at APM, and they are still devastated over a decade later.

If I could press the rewind button, I would certainly have invited Allison and Toni to ride. Rosemarie too.

That last sentence tells you I won the raffle. Shawn O’Neil informed me in the gym during a mini-carnival going on after classes ended.

Shawn never went to dances at Arabi Park. I tried to entice him to come with a spot in the limo, but he wisely said no.

I knew I couldn’t invite Stacie. She was going with Glen Weaver, her boyfriend throughout APM. She met her husband, Jeff, at Andrew Jackson High.

Jason Malasovich was going to ride, of course. It was an all-male crew: Jason, Jared Couture, Brandon Miller, Jack Bastoe, Joe Monaghan, and myself. Jared, Brandon and Jack were in classes with Jason and I, and Joe lived near Jason in another part of Arabi.

We met at Jack’s house since it was the farthest from the school, not too far from the bowling alley in Chalmette. The ride was fun. The dance was a repeat of the past, save for two things.

First, my mother was a chaperone, and Joe danced with her.

Second, I danced with Stacie’s mother, Kathy, who was then a teacher at Carolyn Park Elementary School, about five blocks from my house. She said I should dance with my mother, but I declined.

Confession: if I ever got married, I would be quaking in my boots over dancing with my mother. She is quite aloof and afraid of physical contact. I can name at least 50 people I have hugged more than her in my lifetime. Let’s see: Peggy, Caitlyn, Brenda, Dorinda, Liz, Lisa, Dawn…I’ll stop there for now.

The Dauterive family resided on Badger Drive, only 200 feet from St. Robert Belarmine Catholic Church, whose school I attended from kindergarten through fifth grade. After Katrina, Stacie and Jeff moved in with their sons to 905 Badger Drive, while her parents, Rene and Kathy, moved to Baton Rouge.

Rene owned a very successful plumbing company in St. Bernard Parish while I lived there, and he took care of our house at 224 Jaguar Drive. I’ve joked with Stacie and Andree that I want to bring Rene to Russell so he can fix the American Legion post’s plumbing problems for my parents, as well as those at 1224 North Brooks. Fortunately, there is a fine plumber in Russell, Donnie Boxberger, so we’re covered.

Two schools of thought on my fellow limo riders 30 years later. First, the guys were the right choice, because it avoided any awkwardness I would have had with girls. The other is I should have invited at least Rosemarie, because she and I had been friends for so long and she was always so nice. But Jason and I had been friends before APM as well, so he was a great choice.

I attended one more APM dance in late April. My mother did not allow me to go to the one in May, and rightly so, because I failed to turn in an assignment on time. I was very fortunate I was not forced to go to summer school. I could have been failed for not turning it in on time, but I was allowed to turn it in the following Monday for a D. On June 2, 1989, I was jeered out of Arabi Park twice, first at school, then by a passing school bus as I walked back to 224 Jaguar.

I don’t blame any kids who were unhappy that I was going to Brother Martin. I rubbed it in their faces for the last 3 1/2 months of the 1988-89 school year. I thought I was on another plane because I was going to a school in the New Orleans Catholic League and they weren’t. I was not welcome back on campus during 1989-90.

Sadly, Arabi Park closed in the late 1990s when St. Bernard Parish’s school system consolidated some schools. The shell of the old school stood until Katrina wiped it away.

I lost touch with so many until discovering them on Facebook in 2014, 25 years after I left for the school at 4401 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. I saw Jason last August when he was in town with his lovely family. I hope I will see more Epton (before it’s too late in Foots lingo).

After the dance ended, I got home in time to watch the second half of LSU’s NCAA tournament game vs. UTEP. The Bayou Bengals enjoyed a fine season with All-America freshman Chris Jackson (now Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf), but the Miners had future NBA standouts Tim Hardaway and Antonio Davis, plus the coaching acumen of the legendary Don Haskins, the same Don Haskins who led an all-black Miner team to victory over Adolph Rupp’s all-white Kentucky team in the 1966 championship game.

Many in Louisiana were salivating at the possibility of LSU playing Indiana and the hated Bobby Knight in the second round, but UTEP won 85-74.

If you’re wondering why LSU was playing so close to midnight Central time, here’s the dish.

Prior to 1991, CBS did not televise every tournament game prior to the Elite Eight. In the first and second rounds, CBS would select the games it wanted to show nationally, then the NCAA would put the other games up for bids. The NCAA produced the games and provided the announcers, and games were either televised by ESPN or a local network. In the Sweet 16, CBS selected two games a night, and the other two that night would be on locally in the areas of the participating teams.

In 1991, CBS took over all games, and contests before the Elite Eight were regionally broadcast. It stayed that way through 2010.

In 2011, CBS split the broadcast rights with TBS, TNT and TruTV, meaning every game would be televised nationally.

I’ve got a sinking feeling LSU will be one-and-done 30 years later, thanks to all the scandal surrounding coach Will Wade, who is suspended and may be fired. The field will be revealed at 1700. Not that I’m going to fill out a bracket.

Enjoy what’s left of your St. Patrick’s Day and weekend.

May the luck of the Irish be with you

Top of the afternoon on St. Patrick’s Day 2019. Yes I am wearing green…want proof? See below.

I have a very good story to tell about a St. Patrick’s Day from many, many, many years ago. Coming in the next post! Stay tuned…

Rambling on at March’s midpoint

Yes, I succumbed to my craving for IHOP’s Swedish crepes last night for dinner. I nearly regretted it.

I left Buffalo Wild Wings at 1730 and immediately got my breakfast for dinner. But I admit I got a little greedy…I added an order of the Nutella crepes and hash browns to my Thursday night/Friday morning order.

I ate all the Nutella crepes, the hash browns, and I started on the Swedish. I also finished half a can of Lay’s Stax plus a small bag of popcorn.

I watched two movies and three episodes of Law & Order: SVU before going to bed. I was starting to fade during the episode which aired on NBC, so I’ll probably watch it again before I leave Kansas City.

At 0400, my gluttony caught up with me. Indigestion. Bad.

I managed to get a little more sleep before I woke up for good at 0610. Some Extra Strength Alka Seltzer helped, and I ate my crepes for breakfast.

God I might wear out the iHOP in Hays when I go back west. Or both in Salina when I’m traveling there.

I was able to order wings from Buffalo Wild Wings today. However, the fish sandwich it is offering during Lent was outstanding. Larry had it when I met him yesterday to play trivia and he liked it, so I said what the heck. Excellent. I’m not a huge fan of beer-battered fish, but B-Dubs doesn’t bury the fish in batter like Long John Silver’s.

FYI, LJS gave me the terrible heartburn in Hutchinson during Norton’s game with Royal Valley last Friday. Never again. However, I don’t foresee myself in Hays in a situation where I would need to eat on a Lenten Friday again this year. Either I’ll be in Russell or somewhere which has more options.

Why am I eating LJS? Come on, I lived in Louisiana for almost 29 years. It’s the same as a chef at Morton’s or Ruth’s Chris eating truck stop steak.

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Huddersfield Town is almost out of the Premier League. Fulham will be joining them. The third relegation spot is up for grabs, with Cardiff City, Burnley, Southampton, Crystal Palace, Newcastle, Brighton and Hove Albion, and West Ham not entirely safe.

Liverpool and Manchester City have separated themselves in the title chase. The next four–Tottenham, Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea–are battling for spots in the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues.

Wolverhampton is having a great first season back in the Premier League after being in the Championship for six seasons. Watford is in good form and could finish in the top half. Bournemouth is somehow afloat despite playing in that bandbox stadium. Everton is again a disappointment. No reason it cannot challenge the “Big Six”.

As for Leicester, another mid-table finish is coming down the pike in the East Midlands. It’s been a very hard year at the KP; Leicester’s owner perished in a helicopter crash on the stadium grounds following a match earlier this season, and recently, manager Claude Puel was sacked.

Yes, the expectations for the Foxes have been through the roof since the miracle championship of 2015-16. On the other hand, Leicester doesn’t have the resources nor the deep top-flight tradition of the Big Six. Considering the Foxes were all but relegated at Christmas 2014, to not be in the relegation scrap after Christmas the last two seasons is pretty good.

There will be no new faces in the Premier League for 2019-20. The current top two, Derby County and Sheffield United, have been there before, as are closest pursuers Leeds United, West Bromwich Albion, Middlesbrough and Aston Villa.

Major League Soccer started its season earlier this month. Sporting Kansas City or any other team could lose every game and end with zero points–that’s nearly impossible–but would stay in the top flight. That’s why I don’t watch MLS, among other reasons.

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I wonder if the Vatican knows St. Bonaventure and Saint Louis will play fo rite Atlantic 10 Conference tournament championship tomorrow, with the winner going to the NCAA tournament. Two fine Catholic institutions battling it out, although I am partial to the fellows from Olean, New York. I am still peeved Saint Louis once employed the late Rick Majerus, who, despite being Roman Catholic, opposed the church’s teachings on many issues, including abortion. I’ll leave it at that. Majerus was a heck of a coach, as evidenced by his success at Ball State and Utah, but his personal life was odd to say the least.

St. Bonaventure made the Final Four in 1970, but lost the best player to ever wear the brown and white of the Bonnies (formerly Brown Indians), Bob Lanier, during the East regional. The Bonnies were mortally wounded when they got to College Park for the Final Four, and were no match for Jacksonville and Artis Gilmore. Gilmore’s Dolphins then lost to UCLA, which was in the two-year interregnum between Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton. The Bruins still won titles both years, and would extend their streak to seven before losing to David Thompson, 7-4 Tom Burleson and North Carolina State in the 1974 semis.

There is a debate as to the exact location of St. Bonaventure. I’ve always thought the school was in Olean, but the postal address is St. Bonaventure, New York, and others refer to the borough of Allegeny in Cattaraugus County, New York, southeast of Buffalo. I’ll stick to Olean, since it’s easier to find on a map than the other locales.

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Kentucky blew it. Lost 82-78 to Tennessee, so the Volunteers play Auburn tomorrow in the SEC tournament final. I cannot stand Auburn these days because of a jerk fan from Baton Rouge I knew when I lived there. I am not an Alabama fan in any way, but knowing he’s miserable when the Crimson Tide beat Auburn makes me feel a little better.

Speaking of Alabama, LSU is not a rival of the Crimson Tide. NOT. A. RIVAL. LSU’s rival is now Texas A&M, and that’s that.

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I just played Andy Gibb’s “Everlasting Love” on the jukebox at Buffalo Wild Wings. God, why did you need drugs to make you happy, Andy? If you were still alive today, you and Barry could be touring and raking in $$$$$$ as the new Bee Gees. Instead, poor Barry is all alone. Andy died 31 years ago this month. Maurice and Robin left the realm of the mortal earlier this millennium.

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Okay what have I not discussed? Trump’s emergency declaration? Well, that will have to wait–if I comment on it at all.

Awesomely crepe-y

Eighteen hours ago, I had never tried the Swedish crepes from iHOP.

Now I’m craving them worse than a pregnant lady craves ice cream and pickles.

While I was on the barstool at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek last night, I decided to order pickup from iHOP in Liberty so I could have breakfast in the morning. I figured I’d put them in the fridge in the hotel room then warm them for 90 seconds in the morning.

After getting lost on my way to the restaurant, I decided I couldn’t wait until morning. I tried one.

Wow. I have a new favorite iHOP dish, and one of my favorite restaurant items anywhere, right along with any steak from Outback, the Jumbo Combo pizza from Minsky’s, the Veggie 7 pizza at Old Chicago, the brisket and corn grits at T.J. Ribs in Baton Rouge, the charbroiled oysters at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans and Baton Rouge…you get the idea.

Thank God I got two orders. Breakfast was great. Now I want to go back and get some for late tonight and tomorrow morning.

The best thing about the Swedish crepes is they are meatless, meaning I can eat them on Lenten Fridays. If I happen to go to Columbia next month, I guess I’m going there at some point.

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LSU’s basketball saga is over, at least as far as playing in the SEC tournament. The Bayou Bengals, the SEC regular season champion, lost 76-73 to Florida when the Gators, coached by New Orleans native Mike White, hit a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left.

LSU is a lock for the NCAA tournament, but with so much controversy surrounding Will Wade and the wiretap which revealed his willing to do anything to sign Javonte Smart, the three-time Louisiana high school player of the year from Scotlandville in north Baton Rouge, what can LSU reasonably expect?

I don’t think my alma mater will last past the first weekend. I hope I’m wrong, but I see trouble.

Kansas City is now overrun with Iowa State fans in town for the Big 12 tournament. The Cyclones play Kansas State at 1800, followed by Kansas vs. West Virginia, which finished last during the regular season but is still alive thanks to wins over Oklahoma and regular season co-champion Texas Tech.

Honestly, I only know what’s going on because I’m at Buffalo Wild Wings. If I were back in the basement in Russell, I would probably not watch.

I won’t watch the selection show Sunday. I can wait until the bracket comes out.

I usually don’t watch the NBA, but with the Bucks heading for the top seed in the East, will I have to?

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The Chiefs are big news this week with the start of the NFL’s business year. Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Eric Berry are gone. Tyrann “Honey Badger” Matthieu is in. Kansas City needs to restructure its defense, but right now, it looks like it will try to win every game 41-38 with Mahomes.

The Saints let Mark Ingram go to the Ravens via free agency. It looks like the Cardinals will draft Kyler Murray first overall after drafting Josh Rosen last year. Great idea, Arizona, to let Murray get beaten up behind an offensive line which is worse than a sieve.

The Cardinals have had a horrendous offensive line since Dan Dierdorf was in his heyday, and that’s when your intrepid blogger was in diapers. Arizona is doing this back-assward, but I can’t help it.

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Swedish crepes at iHOP. Gotta have them again.

Business at Pump 5!

The wind has been HOWLING across Kansas and neighboring states the last two days. A fierce low pressure system brought a blizzard to Colorado and high winds and rain to Kansas. The barometric pressure in Russell at one point yesterday dropped to 977 millibars (28.77 inches), the lowest ever recorded at the Russell airport. That’s lower than most Category 1 hurricanes.

That pressure is nowhere near as low as it is in the center of tornadoes. I believe the pressure in the center of the EF5 monster which struck Greensburg in 2007 was 840-850 millibars. That’s going to cause a hell of a lot of destruction.

I drove to Kansas City this morning and arrived just after 1000. Right now, it’s 4 Celsius (40 Fahrenheit), but the wind and mist makes it feel much colder than a calm day when it’s minus-15 Celsius (8 F).

I stopped for gas at QuikTrip in Parkville. I pulled up to a pump on the back row, behind a van from A.B. May one of the two major HVAC installers in Kansas City. Ironically, a van from his competition, Bob Hamilton Heating and Plumbing, was at a pump to the left.

I was not happy the A.B. May van was parked in front of a red pump, which is for non-ethanol gas. Not all QuikTrip locations have them, and those that have them have only four pumps at most dedicated to non-ethanol. The ones I have noticed with them are State Line and I-435, Parkville, Riverside, I-435 and Parvin Road, and Blue Springs on Highway 7.

In October, I boiled over when I noticed two cars parked in front of non-ethanol pumps on State Line Road, yet the motorists were using the black pumps for the gas with 10% ethanol.

It happened again today with the van from A.B. May, as well as two other motorists. But the A.B. May van really got under my skin.

After pumping my gas, I pulled up to the parking lot in front of the store. When I got out, I noticed there was a man inside the van. He was texting away.

I went into the store and used the restroom. That took 10 minutes, and the A.B. May van was STILL in front of the pump!

You know how some companies have a number to call on the back of the van to report bad driving? I’m tempted to call that number. I’m also tempted to call A.B. May’s main number.

Look, if you have pressing business to conduct while you’re at a gas station, pull up to the front or side of the store and do it. Don’t block the gas pumps.

If this were a station in a crowded part of a big city, it might be a problem because there might be a line for gas. The old Exxon at Lee Circle in New Orleans comes to mind. That place was ALWAYS busy prior to Katrina.

Fortunately, it was not a busy time and Parkville’s QuikTrip is not in a crowded area. It also has a lot of pumps. One of my favorite stops on the circuit.

Otherwise so far so good in Kansas City. Fourth laser hair treatment on my body went well, checked into the hotel, trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek, where I saw one of my favorite bartenders, Tina, for the first time since December 2017. I’m very happy she recognized me.

Mood-altering Monday

My life is over. I got some horrendous news just before 1700. Horrendous. Will make my life a living hell.

Good night.

The least wonderful time of the year

Today is one of the worst days of the year. I could learn that I am coming into millions upon millions of dollars and today would still be terrible.

Why? Daylight savings time took effect in the United States.

I hate DST. HATE IT. Cannot stand it being sunny outside so late into the evening.

This idea that DST saves energy is a bunch of crap. (I promised I would try to stop using nasty language; therefore, I’m not using the word I would like.) If there is energy savings in DST, it is so minuscule one needs an electron microscope to find them.

Tomorrow morning, children in Russell and other communities across Kansas will be going to school in the dark. Why? Just to satisfy stupid Congressmen and Congresswomen who thought this was a great idea in 2005? To satisfy George W. Bush, who signed the stupid bill into law? To satisfy tens of millions misguided Americans who think DST is the bee’s knees, many of whom want full-year DST?

Driving home from Salina after an June evening of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings is horrible. The sun is blinding all the way to Ellsworth, much the same way I often fight the sunrise between Salina and Topeka when I leave for Kansas City early in the morning.

There is a bill in the Kansas legislature which would end DST in the Sunflower State. GOOD. I hope it passes. I hope Governor Laura Kelly signs the bill if it passes, because DST is a raging fraud. If Johnson County is one hour behind the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro in the summer, SO WHAT? The television schedules are not going to change. Government offices and stores could adjust.

Kansas’ time zones are already out of whack. More counties should be on Mountain time than four (Sherman, Wallace, Greeley, Hamilton) which border Colorado. I’ll explain in another post.

Arizona, save for the northeastern corner of the state which is part of the Navajo nation, does not observe DST. In case you’re from Planet Lovetron or some other far away galaxy, Arizona is only slightly less hot than the surface of the sun in the summer. Imagine if the sun were staying up past 2200 on June nights. It would be 45 Celsius (113 Fahernheit) at 2200. Try sleeping with the sun beating down on you.

Some idiot legislators in Florida want to put the state on year-round DST. If that were to happen, most of the state, save for the western panhandle, would be ONE HOUR AHEAD of Eastern time during the summer. This would mean the absurdity of prime time not starting until 2100 in four major media markets: Jacksonville, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Miami and Orlando. Due to Florida’s low latitude, sunrise and sunset times might not be that outrageous, like they are in Colby, Kansas, but still would be way too late.

Florida doesn’t need DST, especially in areas south of Orlando. The length of sunshine per day is less and less the farther south you venture, to the point where it’s negligible in Key West.

Besides, that proposal violates the laws of the United States, which do not allow a state to use year-round DST. A state may exempt itself from DST and use standard time year-round, which is also the case in Hawaii in addition to most of Arizona, but not the other way around.

Enough ranting about DST. Thanks to that, it’s still two hours from full light, and I have to drive from Wichita to Russell. Nice.

What’s in a name?

The girls basketball team of Schlagle High in Kansas City took third place today at the Kansas State High School Activites Association’s state tournament in Emporia.

Schlagle’s nickname is the Stallions. An alliterative nickname, not uncommon for schools in the KCK school district. You also have the Harmon Hawks, Sumne rSabres and Washington Wildcats.

However, why is the GIRLS team from Schlagle nicknamed the Stallions?

A stallion can never, ever be female.

How hard would it be for Schlagle to nickname its female teams the Mares or Fillies?

Iola uses Fillies as the nickname for its girls teams, while using Mustangs for the boys. Not hard.

I understand Schlagle would like to keep the alliteration, but the school is doing its students a huge disservice by using an anatomically incorrect nickname. It’s a school. They are supposed to be educating. And educating people that stallions can be female isn’t right.

Schlagle isn’t the only school in Kansas that leaves me scratching my head over its choice of (a) mascot, (b) colors and/or (c) name.

Exhibit #2: the Catholic high school in the city where I have spent three of the past four days.

Hutchinson Trinity is nicknamed the Celtics. Good nickname for a Catholic school.

Yet Trinity has a terrible color scheme, red and white.

What? Red and white when you’re nicknamed the Celtics? Come on. Green. GREEN. So what if you’re copying the Boston NBA franchise? Green and white scream Celtics. Red and white do not.

The public high school in Hutchinson got it right with Salthawks. Whenever you say Salthawks in Kansas, you know it’s Hutch High. Same with Ringnecks and Hill City. Any school can be Tigers, Eagles, Bears, Lions, Wildcats, Broncos or Trojans. It takes creativity to figure out a unique nickname.

Now, on to the actual name of some schools.

Wednesday evening, I was listening to Thunder Ridge’s girls basketball game against South Central.

I don’t know how the folks in Agra and Kensington came up with Thunder Ridge when they consolidated school districts in 2008, but it is a unique name and a name you would recognize right away if you follow high schools in Kansas enough.

However, South Central? Where the heck is that? It could be anywhere.

For the record, South Central is in Coldwater, the county seat and largest town in Comanche County along the Kansas-Oklahoma state line.

There was a time when there were two high schools in Comanche County, one in Coldwater and the other in Protection. However, the high school in Protection, despite being placed on the National Register of Historical Sites, closed more than a decade ago and is now serving as the middle school for the school district in Comanche County.

Why does USD 300 not call the high school “Comanche County High School”? People could easily look on a map and find Comanche County and where Coldwater is located. However, South Central is very nebulous. Nobody who attends school in Comanche County right now went while Protection High was still open. It’s time to make the change.

If Russell High School were not located in the city of Russell, I would hope it would be called Russell County, because it is the only remaining high school in Russell County.

Another thing I don’t get is why almost all school districts in Kansas are loath to name high schools after people. Kansas City is an exception.

Wichita has eight public high schools, nearly all of which take in a direction on the compass. The original Wichita High is now Wichita East. There’s also North, South, West, Northwest, Southeast and Northeast. The other is Wichita Heights, named for the neighborhood in the northern part of the city.

Olathe has five directional high schools. So does Shawnee Mission. The original Salina High changed its name to Salina Central when Salina South opened in 1971.

Strangely, the original Topeka High did not add a direction when Topeka West opened. Highland Park is named after the neighborhood.

I’m sorry I’m boring you with semantics. Just had to get it off my chest.

To console or not to console

The last day of Kansas’ high school basketball season is upon us. However, it’s all sideshows and consolation games until 1600, when the girls championship games start at six (five too many) sites. The boys games will start at 1815.

I have never been a fan of third place games. Never will be a fan. In Louisiana, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association does not require losers in the semifinals to come back. Kansas, along with Missouri and several other states, do.

The NCAA had a third place game in its men’s tournament from 1946 through 1981. It’s amazing it took 35 years for the NCAA to realize the teams which lost their national semifinals were in no mood to stick around at least 36 more hours to play a meaningless game. The last third place game, Virginia vs. LSU in 1981, was played the same day President Reagan was shot in Washington by John Hinckley Jr. There was serious consideration given to cancelling both the third place and championship (Indiana vs. North Carolina) games, but in the end, the games were played.

If the NCAA had been smart about it, it would have told Virginia and LSU to head for the airport and go home, because the third place game would be cancelled and not played. Then Indiana-North Carolina could be put on hold and postponed to the following day if need be. In the end, it worked out okay, because the president made it through surgery and served two full terms.

To its credit, UCLA won the only third place game it played under John Wooden, defeating Kansas in 1974 after a heartbreaking double overtime loss to North Carolina State, which defeated Marquette for the championship. Two years later, Gene Bartow coached the Bruins to victory in the consolation game against previously undefeated Rutgers. UCLA lost in that year’s semis to Indiana, which completed the last undefeated season in NCAA Division I men’s basketball by defeating Michigan.

I have never heard of a team forfeiting a third place game in Kansas, but I would applaud any coaches who would. It might force the KSHSAA to reassess the worth of third place games.

Basketball isn’t the only sport with a third place game in Kansas. ‘

Volleyball has them, but they go on at the same time as the championship match, which doesn’t add time. I think that’s a big mistake; I would like to see the championship matches played on a center court after completion of the semifinals in both classifications at a site.

Softball usually plays simultaneously on different diamonds. The biggest problems are baseball and soccer, where games can and often do go longer than regulation. Baseball is particularly troubling, since most teams have very few pitchers available due to pitch count limits.

If it were up to me, I would award each team which loses in the semifinals a plaque and medals immediately after that game, and that’s it. If the final day were only two championship games, the KSHSAA could make more money by charging two admissions and spacing the games out by four hours, playing one game at 1300 and one at 1700, alternating between boys and girls early/late each year.

If I were forced to coach in a third place game, I would play the seniors who are graduating and the players who rarely played varsity. The players on the end of the bench have worked just as hard as the starters all season. They deserve the opportunity to shine, if only for one day.

For the varsity starters who were returning the next season, I would play them, but not as much. I would explain it to them as gently as I could. Hopefully they would understand.

I remember Osborne’s girls playing in back-to-back third place games in 2007 and ’08. The Bulldogs won in the former year, and looked impressive in doing so. The next year, their hearts didn’t seem to be into it as much, and they lost.

I’m interested to see how Norton and Nemaha Central handle this. There is a trophy at stake. I don’t want a foul fest, and I don’t want a blowout.

LSU’s men’s basketball program is under serious fire for a wiretapped phone call involving coach Will Wade and the recruitment of Javonte Smart, a Baton Rouge native who is a starting guard on this year’s team. Wade is suspended indefinitely, and Smart will not play tonight vs. Vanderbilt. If the Bayou Bengals win, and they should, since the Commodores are 0-17 in the SEC, LSU will win at least a share of the conference championship and be the number one seed for the SEC tournament. Boy what bad timing, but if Wade indeed committed NCAA violations, he has to man up and pay the piper.

College basketball is corrupt. Yet people keep watching. I’m seriously considering taking a pass on this year’s NCAA tournament. I know I’m not filling out a bracket, that’s for sure.