Saturday, March 25, 2006

Back on the road on Thursday, the day we were to meet Jay in Richmond.

I was driving and I chose a route to the west of Richmond that intersected the road the hotel was on. We found the road and the hotel was only about half a block down.

We checked in and got the group rate. We were surprised that the group we were with was The Old Dominion Cheerleaders. Jay had arranged this so we were impressed.

Later the Yale baseball team checked in. They were playing Richmond and lost the next day.

That night Jay came. I was already sick. I was sneezing, coughing, and blowing my nose constantly. I bought Dayquil, Nyquil, and Airbourne and went to bed.

The next day I was no better and stayed in bed all day, sleeping most of the time. I took medicine regularly. I was unable to go to the basketball tournament with Jay.

This is one reason Jay is such a great travel companion. I was able to stay at the hotel and recover with a good conscience. I knew Jay was still having a good time even though he was by himself.

Saturday morning I was much better. Julia, Jay, and I set out to Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond. More than 18,000 Confederate dead are buried there including Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart, and George Pickett. Also, two American presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler.

We dropped Julia off at the hotel and Jay and I went down to the arena for the Colonial Athletic Association basketball tournament. We were wearing Old Dominion shirts that Jay supplied. i spilled a coke on mine and returned it to him later dirty.

Unfortunately, our team lost that day. The tournament is a blur. So many unusual things happened that the outcome of the games were not memorable. UNC-Wilmington, Hofstra, George Mason, and Northeastern won games on Saturday.

The powers-that-be were in hopes that the finals would pit Old Dominion and Virginia Commonwealth in the finals. Both are more local schools with big followings. Unfortunately for them, both schools lost on Saturday in quarterfinal matches.

The basketball games themselves were overshadowed by some things so unusual that I have never before seen them happen at a game.

1. A Northeastern player in the game threw his own shoe into the crowd. He was frustrated at the way the game was going. His team had lost the ball and the players were going down the court to the other goal. Meanwhile he was on the floor under the goal. He sort of threw the shoe with his foot. It went into the stands. It was a friendly group there, fans of another school but one cheering for his team in that matchup. They threw it back to him. Jay said he would have run with it.

2. One mascot decked another. This was not the cheerful pantomine that sometimes happens. The Hofstra cheerleaders were on the floor doing a pyramid when some in the crowd threw rolled up tee shirts at them. The Hofstra mascot took a Virginia Commonwealth sign, held it upside down, and stomped on it.

The Virginia Commonwealth mascot, a ram named Rodney, went across the basketball floor, knocked down a fence, went into the stands, and decked the Hofstra mascot. He was walking back when an official took his arm and escorted him from the floor, never to be seen again.

3. In a semi-final game on Sunday between Hofstra and George Mason, a George Mason player sucker punched a Hofstra player on the court while they were running to the other goal. GMU was losing and I guess he got frustrated. While the Hofstra player rolled on the floor in agony, the referees checked the tapes but did not see what happened.

However, the film crew from a TV station in Wilmington, there to film UNC-Wilmington did get a clear picture of it and it was shown on TV in Richmond that night.

This is the same George Mason University that is now in the Final Four.

We did not stay to see Hofstra and UNC-Wilmington play in the finals on Monday night. UNC-Wilmington won. We did see some of it on TV at the hotel in Tennessee.

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