Spring Madness

We started our day as we do many weekend days, with a walk.
Except it wasn’t a weekend, if was Friday!
First day of Spring to boot.

Springtime in Seattle

Springtime in Seattle

It was a beautiful spring day – except that there was limited sun. But the sun of the past weeks means that spring has really arrived.

We took an intentionally hilly route.
The choices were down-up, or up-down-up.
Each of course had many rolling bits as well, but we chose the route with the most vertical.

The walk also took on a certain rhythm. (I had to spell the last word three times before I realized it only had one vowel – sort of.)
The rhythm was drink coffee while walking, stop in a coffee house to use the bathroom, buy a coffee, repeat.
The first coffee was from our own maker, but the lack of parks or grocery stores along the route meant that coffee houses were the most likely venue to have a public bathroom. And the coffee was good. We took turns buying, so we did not exactly go broke. (Starbucks does support bathroom usage for walkers without a purchase, but my cup was empty at that particular stop, so …)

Almost as high as the Needle

Almost as high as the Needle

Our goal for the day was the NCAA Regional Basketball tournament being held at Key Arena.
Friday was the Round 2 games for the South and East Regionals. Held in the Northwest of course.

Key - on our way down

Key – on our way down

It seems it was a year ago that we bought the tickets for Rounds 2 and 3 (on Sunday).
Our family has done a random draw bracket for many years, and attending the games seemed like a logical extension.

Key Arena, after 5+ miles

Key Arena, after 5+ miles

The vertical aspect of our walk continued into the stadium.
Our seats were not bad, but in the next to the top row. (Hence a lack of pictures worth sharing here)

If you want to see the scores, they are available on many different digital sources, and in the hard copy paper for those that still get one to read. I want to talk about the mascots.

The first game was the Northern Iowa Panther vs the Wyoming Cowboy.
This was a close match, but the Panther had a bit more action going. I think the Cowboy’s outsized head limited their versatility.

Next up was the Louisville Cardinal vs. the UC Irvine Anteater.
Just for uniqueness the Anteater started out ahead. The Cardinal held his own, but it was just another red-bird that could have been for one of many Cardinals out there. The Anteater did many jigs, fast fleet feet.

Louisville Cardinal

Louisville Cardinal

Irvine Anteater

Irvine Anteater

The third game paired the Davidson Wildcat against the Iowa Hawkeye. When the teams first appeared I thought the Hawkeye looked a bit weird. But the mascot grew on me as he interacted with everybody within reach. Cajoling, harassing, and never sitting still. On the other side was the mopey Wildcat. Honestly, this mascot mostly wandered around, barely even clapping their hands. Maybe it was the long flight from North Carolina.

Iowa Hawkeye

Iowa Hawkeye

The final game was the North Dakota State Bison vs. the Gonzaga Bulldog. This was essentially a tie. The Bison was closer to our end, so that may be why they seemed to be more engaged. Both had large heads that somewhat limited their mobility.

Overall winner? I give it to the Hawkeye. Loser – definitely the Wildcat.

Continuing on the mascot vein, we lost a dear friend last week.
Wayne Drop was burned up in a house fire. He was there for a cleaning. No word yet on a possible replacement.

RIP Wayne Drop

RIP Wayne Drop

The cheer squads were also worthy of rating, but harder to remember which went with what team. There were several varieties of dancers, flippers and lifters. All had women, and most had men. One had one man who looked like a weightlifter. He would lift a women up, holding her aloft with one hand. And the bands. I like college bands, and we were treated to different tunes and tones.

The set-up was that you entered the arena for two games. After those two, which had about 25 minutes between games, you had to clear out. Entry for the second set of two games required a separate ticket. As it turned out, there was only about one hour between the end of the second game and the time for start of the third. The second game ended about 3:30, and we were more than ready for lunch. Luckily, we knew the area and had pre-planned our location. We tried to get reservations, but they only do reservations for large groups, and it is not usually crowded at 3:30.

At the closing horn for game two we booked down the stairs and out of the arena. There were all sorts of people headed in every direction possible. This is where knowing our destination allowed us to move directly toward our destination. While there were many folks on the sidewalk passing by the door to the Athina Grill, I think we were the first of the basketball crowd to actually open the door and head inside. We ordered, and took our seats at a table. There were two other tables with people who had been there for a while. Carl took the opportunity to use the restroom. He was only gone for a minute, maybe two, but when he came out the restaurant was full and there was a line out the door. So full that we invited others to share our table. This turned out to be fun, and add to the generally fun atmosphere.

Sated on a lamb-burger with feta, and feta fries, we made our way back to the arena for the final 2 games.
The marquee game was the fourth, starring the Gonzaga Bulldogs. There are well supported throughout the Puget Sound region, and because they are a mere 5 hour drive away, the crowd was rather heavily bulldog.

We did stay through the entire four games, but by the half-time of game four we had seen enough basketball to last for a while. There are two more games on Sunday, with the winning teams from Friday making their return appearance. Since Gonzaga has moved on, Sunday tickets should be in short supply. We actually made our decision to give up our Sunday tickets a few weeks ago. I listed them on StubHub, looking to cover our initial cost for all of the tickets (3 games). We sold them last Tuesday, so got to essentially enjoy the Friday games for free. We don’t normally sell tickets for a “profit”, but I think we made a good decision in this case. Got to fully enjoy Friday, and really don’t think we will miss being at the game in person.

Our trek home was limited to a little more than 1 mile. A new bus route for us took us to the southern end of the University District. We did not wait for a bus that would carry us closer, choosing the check out the Friday night life on the Ave instead. As always it was colorful, and not a trek I would want to make every night.

We have had a relatively slow start today. Soccer on the telly, and Skype with the boy.
We have decided that some soccer players sort of resemble dinosaurs.
This came out of nowhere when Ayoze Perez suddenly took on the look of a parasaurolophus.



Carl retorted that Skrtel would be a pachycephalosaurus.




The best part about yesterday?
It’s still only Saturday.

One Response to “Spring Madness”

  1. margiegf Says:

    I’m exhausted reading all of this–oh, my! I like basketball, but in limited doses. I’m always happy when UW does well, but they imploded this year. I’m rooting for Gonzaga now. 🙂

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