Saturday, March 21, 2009

Killin' Time in Carolina

(Greensboro, NC) - What a study in contrasts this place is. We had lunch in a chain steak restaurant where it's traditionally popular to eat peanuts out of a bucket and toss the shells onto the floor. Here in Greensboro, we were gently cautioned to throw our shells into a spare bucket because it has been deemed to be some kind of health hazard to drop them at our feet. Yet, here on Tobacco Road it's perfectly okay to smoke away in restaurants. Some things just don't add up.
Meanwhile, back at the hotel, my best efforts to find time on a treadmill in the fitness center went unfulfilled. All the machines were in constant use. The guests, at least, are fitness minded. Waiting for a spot, I parked myself in the elevator lobby and just watched people come and go. Fans of Texas, North Carolina and Duke all passed by. Alarmingly, I saw no one from LSU.
I struck up a conversation with a man who seemed studious and revealed himself to be erudite in matters of sport. He was a Michigan fan who lamented his school's inability to lure LSU football coach Les Miles away to lead the Wolverines. He spoke with a great depth of knowledge about college sports in general. It turns out he's an economics professor who left Michigan recently for the University of Chicago. He made the trip here specifically for the NCAA Tournament.
You generally don't think of your average economics professor as a sports fan, but my new friend Kerwin Charles bridges the cultural gap quite effectively. It's nice to know there is some intellectualism in sports, since most of the time it seems essentially primal.
My conversation with Professor Charles was the highlight of the morning. Things are sure to pick up when the Tigers and the Tar Heels tip off a little later.

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