Nostalgic warmth can come with a variety of memories.
Both daughters tell us the sound of basketball sneakers on hardwood, the din of the cheering fans and pep bands and the tones of announcers recall their childhood weekends. Usually a chili or stew simmered a delicious appeal into the mood, completing the sensory recording of a winter's afternoon.The girls live elsewhere, but some things don't change.
Even with our address only a mile or so from the Pacific, the magic of a Big Ten Rivalry captivates us. Where I used to have half time or post game chats with dad, or after he passed, with my mom, a real fan to the end, now I'm frequently on with my dear friend Frank, from Falls Church Va.- by way of Indianapolis basketball courts.
Lana and I met at Ball State and we are fans and supporters of our Alma Mater BSU Cardinals-"the fiercest bird in the robin class" as our old friend Dave Letterman says. Still, we have jointly been IU fans, at least as long as our marriage. And I grew up where IU basketball was a religious experience. I've been a fan since I learned to dribble, but I've always had a chunk of heart dedicated to the Butler Bulldogs, because of the legendary Tony Hinkle and some of their incredible small school big achievements and tenacious brand of basketball.
We used to book spring vacation travel plans around the IU, Ball State, or Butler NCAA tourney schedule. Usually it was the IU game we had to catch at an airport, or on a car radio or not fly that day.
I've even spent decades watching John Mellencamp become an old man of rock as he and a succession of beautiful women and/or wives take their special seats in Assembly Hall.
The best places to watch basketball in Indiana are at the new arena at Ball State, the Bankers Life Field House in Indianapolis and the blue print for all great basketball palaces, the Hinkle Field House at Butler University. While IU's Assembly Hall is a terrible venue to see a game, unless you have near the court seats, the spirit, energy and enthusiasm is one of the best to experience.
It's hard for non mid-west or basketball loving people to get this, but there is a soul calming, almost meditative peace in watching Big Ten or NCAA college hoops. A couple of California friends talk about baseball with the same reverence. Something magic about a good game on TV. My dad extended that to golf, and I get that too.
The nostalgic memories of my dad, brothers, mom and later my daughters in that mix of familiar sounds and pleasing aromas are a magic at work.
SPEAKING OF MAGIC
Thanks to my golf loving fraternity brother Brian for finding this incredible video of the week.
See you down the trail.