Oct 20

A fancy item, a fancy idea

Homemade pocket square achievement badge unlocked:

No one said a thing. No one noticed it was homemade. Given the few people I see, and how focused they are, probably no one noticed. But the color adds a nice touch, and I got spend part of an afternoon making three of these. I’ll have to make a few more. Perhaps next week.

Today, at the office, and this evening, in the television studio. The sports gang produced two sports shows. They’ll be online tomorrow and over the weekend.

On one show they showed off the university’s new golf course. It was due to open this year but, then, you know, Covid. But they are apparently taking reservations from the public right now. And in the program you can see some of our broadcasters play the course. They really bragged about the experience. I guess I’ll have to dust off my sticks.

My clubs are dusty.

The second show was the talk show, and they discussed the best college sports traditions. Things to do, mascots, music, experiences, and so on.

And it brought to mind a good idea for a class on sports culture. Here’s the short version: You feature guests from various other college programs, athletic directors, ambassador types, foundation people. You research the fan experience to get an overview of the atmosphere of the place. And then you go take part in the game day experience, not as a fan, but as an observer of the operation.

Think of it. We go to see the same show every time. The tailgate. The souvenir place. The must-have restaurant or bar. The game, and all the attendant ceremonies before-during-and-after the game. And you go back, again and again. The only thing that changes are the players and the game itself.

You may argue that that is why you spend the money and go and do all of those things, and you’re right! But you also go for the other things, too. The whole experience is part of your personal cultural journey into the collective experience. It’s all a part of the pageantry, brought on when ol’ State U comes to town. Universities put on a great show. The band has to be over here by this time, the other thing starts precisely 10 minutes later and then you’re in your seats for the precisely worded announcement from the PA, it’s all a part of your scheduled program. It’s all a part of the culture. I’ve seen enough, and worked in a few, to know a good show when I see one. And the ones that keep bringing you back those are good shows. And they all feature a “if it ain’t broke” mentality. We like that sameness, that familiarity, that timely link to a timeless time that we’re all trying to cling to.

So what if you did an examination of your own school’s setup? And then did the same with two or three geographically close programs to see how the other guys do it? What a class experience that would be. The guys tonight were talking about this and that, and it’s all a surface-level appreciation. Some of it they have maybe experienced, or only read about or watched on TV. But they don’t know what prompted that song to be a thing, or how it came to be there, and who really deserves the credit.

And, as college sports are grounded in that sameness, the tradition of it all, you need to be able to appreciate those things to know what you’re taking part in. Here’s my forever question: when does something contrived become a tradition? We’d like to think our favorite elements of this sort of pageantry evolved organically, on our own fan terms, but you’re mistaken. They started deliberately from somewhere. The selectivity wasn’t necessarily ours. It’s a great way to see it, and it’s a clever way to sell it to us, as appreciators of the old ways and all that. When does something contrived become a tradition? To answer that you have to ask: does anyone really remember, and do we individually know? And from the program’s standpoint, why is it this way? Because it works and the people want it that way. The entire experience would be thinner if you took away those favored elements. The whole trip is the experience, then, not just the game.

So, from the perspective of students of sociology or anthropology or people who want to go into sports administration or operations, this is a solid idea.

It will never go anywhere.

Anyway, the TV shows they produced tonight should be fun. I’ll put them here when they get them online.

Jul 14

Golfing with Fin

We started an hour earlier this morning than we did two weeks ago. And maybe that helped with the heat for the first two holes. The high was 90. We were riding. And I was sweating. But we had a fine time.

The ground crew kept getting ahead of us. They were mowing and treating the greens and turning on the sprinklers, which was funny:


And then annoying:


And then, finally, oh-so-pleasant.


No, no, I’ll finish this hole out with a three-putt. I don’t mind standing here for a second.

This will come as a shock to no one, but I’m terrible at golf. I enjoy the quiet atmosphere and the pleasant landscaping. And the super, super long course we were playing. I am mystified how I can use the same club on three consecutive swings and get one decent result and two abysmal efforts. I can hit a straight ball, but I can’t aim. I will two- and three-putt everything. I hit the pin twice on puts that rolled out and through today.

And I also got a nice par. I think that’s the same hole I parred last time out.

You remember things like that. But you remember the time with an old friend even more. You file the chuckles away and wonder how you’ve changed and how you haven’t over the years. You wonder why you are still terrible at golf.

You enjoy the surprises life gives you:


Jun 14

Golfing with Fin

My old friend Fin and I went out for a round of golf under the bright summer sun this morning and afternoon. We rode 18 and my clothes still changed colors. I hadn’t realized how much I sweat until I got home. Fortunately the course, which is very nice and super long, is just down the street from our home.

Anyway, here’s Fin pulling off some improbable shot or another:


I had two decent shots today. See that line going toward the pin? That’s my chip from beyond the back side of the green. They’d just sanded them, giving us some excellent lines to read:


We couldn’t play best ball, because we often wind up like this. At least once a hole we are within 10 feet of one another, to the good or bad. I would have thought he’d be much better at this than I am by now. I’m not very good at all. I think he was sand-bagging.


Oh, I played the last four holes or so in my sock-feet because I did this to my old, cheap shoes:


Both shoes, within about a hole of each other. Oddly, I might have played better after I took them off. Something to keep in mind for next time.

Despite the heat I felt much better riding my bike this evening, which was abbreviated to only 14 miles because I got caught out in the rain. Usually I enjoy this, it is funny to me somehow, but today I decided I’d wait it out.

We were in a downpour, though, and I’m standing under the protective awning of a church building, staring at radar and marveling at how this system isn’t moving, it is just content to exist and drip. Then I got a text reminding me of dinner plans with our lovely neighbors. So I had to ride home in the rain.

Raindrops start to sting at around 29 miles per hour, just so you know.

Things to read … because reading never stings.

Just two things today, first your regular drone feature. CNN to study drone use for reporting:

The announcement comes amid widespread interest in newsrooms across the country in what’s been dubbed “drone journalism,” and equally widespread uncertainty about the legality of it. The FAA has severely limited the use of drones for commercial purposes, including newsgathering. It is due to develop new drone rules by September 2015.

“Our hope is that by working cooperatively to share knowledge, we can accelerate the process for CNN and other media organizations to safely integrate this new technology into their coverage plans,” David Vigilante, CNN’s senior vice president for legal, said in a statement. “It’s a natural opportunity to work with our neighbors at Georgia Tech, who have experience and insights into this area.”

The headline to this story is great — Police: 4-Year-Old Girl Foils Babysitter’s Burglary Plot — but the quote from the sheriff is even better.

Jun 12


Golfers, even woeful hacks like me, should never let cobwebs grow on their golf bag. And yet they have. We haven’t played since we moved into the new house, so at least two years. And maybe closer to three. Who can say?

But we have the opportunity next month to play on a course of some fabled significance and we are now working under the impression that a few short rounds between now and then at the local municipal course will improve our game to simply galling.

So we asked a friend of ours — when he met each of us separately, introduced himself by asking if we golfed — to walk nine with us today. He’s probably one of the better duffers in town and, maybe, it’ll rub off on us.


You can pay for golf lessons, but simple instructions go just as far for people like me — the guy who can hit most every stick in his bag, just never on command. I noticed … come to think of it … that he spent more time coaching The Yankee than he did with me. But I did get some nice putting advice. Nicklaus knows I need it.

Now The Yankee …


We’ll, she’s just naturally athletic. Good at everything. Check her out on the seventh hole: