So last night was the beginning of the new baseball season, where the boys of summer huff on their hands and suffer through the spring chill of the first month or so. Of course, most of us in New England are still basking in the historic highlights of last season, when the beloved Sox finally prevailed over the Evil Empire and hoisted the World Series Championship trophy to victory. As exciting as Opening Day always is, it seems almost too soon that the new season is underway. With the new major league tour, the Red Sox are just another team again, albeit this time defending their title. All the magic must be re-conjured. Hopefully, their opening effort against the hated Yankees is not an accurate indication of the campaign that waits. It would be nice to manufacture a Boston baseball dynasty, to compete with the legacy of the Celtics and the newfound prominence of the Patriots.
On the college hoops front, the last two weeks have to have been some of the best NCAA hard court hustle I have ever seen. I guess they don’t call it March Madness for nothing. Last weekend’s West Virginia – Louisville tile and Illinois – Arizona tilts were games for the ages. Both match-ups were the kind of action packed affairs that give you conversation material for the entire week. While this weeks Final Four duels were not as dramatic, each game offered a full half of tightly contested competition before the better side began to pull away for their Monday date. Being an Illinois native and having attended a University in the shadow of Champaign, I cannot help but pull for the first-time Illini contenders. However, after watching both games Saturday night, I think they will more than have their hands full and their run may be drawing to a close. The Tar Heels continue to look stronger with each game in the tourney. Moreover, their strength is inside and Illinois seems determined to take half their shots from beyond the arc. It leaves me with a queasy feeling that the men in orange are going to hear a lot for iron than netting, all the while trying to stop Sean May from becoming the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. We’ll see tomorrow.
As for the recent requests, I plan on penning a review of the infamous Dance 360. I have been getting hammered with student papers as the third quarter has been coming to a close and grades are due in just over a week. I’ll see if I can’t squeeze some of my thoughts into a thourough treatment. Although a preview might be “American Bandstand It is Not.”
Finally, a thought on the pontiff’s passing. Arguably a more important agent in the fall of Communism than any other international figure, he was a monumental man, if there ever has been such a thing. Despite being full of extraordinary contradictions, his leadership of the Catholic Church was inspiring not because he was merely the Pope, but because who he was as Pope. In a time when it is fashionable to downplay religion and certainly take shots at the Church in this country, it is remarkable to me to see the response to man’s death. The grieving seems forthcoming from all directions, regardless of faith. It is impressive that so many have shown respect and paid homage to the man from Poland, no matter what their beliefs.