Monday, November 19, 2007

Kansas City is Lovely This Time of Year

Finally back after a plane delayed thanks to a computer crash in Dallas. I'm hoping to have a writeup or two on Irish Eyes in the next 24 hours. But a couple notes floating through my head.

SWA's new boarding procedure is good, but the people who camp out 30 minutes before departure have been replaced by the people who, if their number is lower than yours, absolutely have to worm their way in front of you even if you're both standing in the same five-number area.

I got honey roasted peanuts both ways. I used to think those were reserved for the Florida routes. The FA on the flight there refused to take my money for my screwdriver, wishing me "happy holidays" instead.

Never been to KC before, seems like a nice enough town. Traffic accidents make the 10pm news, which is refreshing in a way. The Crowne Point Hyatt is a high quality place.

The event was outstanding. AC knew Collis Jones would be there to introduce him, but didn't know a lot of his teammates were showing up. The look on his face when he saw John Tracy and Jackie Meehan walk in was priceless.

Speaking of which, I give Kevin White a lot of grief on this blog, so I want to make sure to give him kudos for making the trip out to KC on Sunday with John Heisler when he could have bolted down to the USVI's for some sun or been noodling around South Bend after a long day on Saturday and with another long day in Terre Haute for the cross country NCAAs today. Say what you want about him (and I say plenty), but I appreciate him making that kind of effort.

I understand Jim Lynch was in the group as well, but I didn't get a chance to make his acquaintance. Good of him to cross the sports lines that way.

Dick Barnett is an interesting guy. Very focused on education, which is good in this day and age. Quoted poetry both in the presser and at the event. I'd love to see him talk at ND sometime, his speech was engrossing.

Kareem also spoke about the importance of the college experience, and you can tell he doesn't think much of the one-and-done philosophy. He was his typical, understated self.

There were video tributes before the event. Mike Brey's was the only one that didn't sound like it was being read off cue cards. Whoever put together Coach K's certainly skimped on the makeup -- the guy was virtually glistening with some kind of secretion. Never let 'em see you sweat, Mike.

I hung around the ceremony after AC was inducted long enough to listen to Lefty Driesell, who has always been an entertaining character. He was doing fine until about three quarters of the way through his speech, when he told us all he referred to his African American players as "players with good suntans." Air went out of the room a little bit after that. It'll be interesting to see how ESPNU handles that before the broadcast.

AC is the second ND representative in the college hoops HOF, joining former coach George Keogan. ND needs to send the HOF guys a picture of Keogan so they can include it in the interactive history stuff they have there. Next step is to get either KC or Springfield to recognize Adrian. ND, to their credit, is working as hard as they can to make it happen. I'd rather see KC get him first.

If you have some spare good prayers, Frannie Collins could use them. The architect of the "DC Connetion" that brought players like AC and Collis Jones to ND, along with Bob Whitmore, Adrian Dantley, Duck Williams, and the rest, is in poor health these days, and I hope the ND family can keep him in their good thoughts.

Last, but certainly not least, I was the only person there representing any of the ND publications. I got the whole trip done for less than $300, guys, and I don't get paid to do this. Shame on you salaried first-row-in-press-row guys for blowing it off.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope you had time to swing by Gates or Arthur Bryants. They're worth the $300 trip just by themselves.

11/19/2007 08:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EK - I'm a K.C. boy, also Domer class of '79. I was able to attend the induction; I thought it was well done and should be good for K.C. and the new Sprint Center. How about Walton's comments - Kareem only failed to hit 50% in one college game; when he was released from the hospital with a scratched cornea and was 4 of 18 vs Houston!

Also, I'm good friends with Jim Lynch. Yes, he was there and ND has no better emissary - he's not a huge fan of Fat Charlie (speaking of huge, this was maybe his nicest nick-name in Flanner Hall).

If you stayed at the Hyatt, I'm surprised you skated for so little cash. FYI, that's the same Hyatt where the skywalks collapsed and killed 113 people - the lobby looks better without them (the skywalks, not the people!).

Keep up the ND writing, I find it always entertaining and usually provocative. MU '79

11/19/2007 08:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Brian McCarthy said...

El K - I'm an ND grad class of '86 and a longtime Kansas City resident. I attended the induction ceremony as well, on behalf of the ND Club of KC. I didn't get the chance to meet Austin Carr, but I was proud to be there.

Carr was very impressive in his comments, and it was great to see him recognized with many of the greats from his era, especially Alcindor.

I'd like to offer one recollection of Austin Carr, although he played at ND well before my time. In the fall of 1982, Digger (and others) put together a fundraising event that included a basketball game involving former players. Many of the higher profile names who played in the seventies under Phelps participated, including Dantley, Tripucka, Laimbeer and Shumate. The crowd readily identified with these players, as they were current NBA stars.

The pre-game introductions did not break the players out by squad, but ordered them in what essentially was their significance to the program. I remember the last three to be introduced were Tripucka, Dantley and Carr - in that order. As the PA announcer listed off the accomplishments of each player, the crowd roared with the familiar recollection of memorable events such as the final four team of 1978 and the defeat of UCLA in 1974.

But Carr's time frame was a little more distant and most of the crowd had not seen him play. Their initial response to his introduction was more muted. But then, as the PA announcer endlessly listed his remarkable statistical achievements, there were audible expressions of amazement culminating in the largest ovation of the the day.

Carr's expression of excitment and gratitude as he walked to center court remain in my memory. He was no longer the athletic peer of many of the players he was joining on the court, but everyone in the ACC new that once upon a time, he was the best. And for the younger alums, we should all remember that is still true.

- Brian McCarthy

11/21/2007 07:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pleased that AC has made it to the HOF. I had the pleasure of witnessing his junior and senior years. I also made the trip to Dayton to see AC set the NCAA tournament record for points in a tournament game (61). The record would be north of 70 if they had 3 pt field goals at the time.

IMO, AC is the best college basketball player I have seen.

D.W. '73

11/21/2007 04:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re HOF next inductees. How about Kevin O'Shea and Leo Barnhorst? Joe Schaefer '59

11/27/2007 07:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have I missed it or has everyone failed to mention that AC hit all those numbers as an outside shooter in the days before the three-point line?

11/27/2007 09:44:00 PM  

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