Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Final Four Lessons

I am back from San Antonio, and despite UCLA's tragic loss, I had a great time. Thank you to all my friends and family who called, texted, and sent me messages of encouragement. Fortunately, I did not need much cheering up because I learned four quick ways to heal a broken Bruin heart.

1. Come back with fun stories
"But for" my 13 hour delay in Newark and trip to San Antonio, I would not have some great stories to tell. One of my favorites is when we got a ride from Austin to San Antonio from Kevin Love's Uncle and Cousin because our flight came in so late that we had to share a rental car. (Long story, I can explain better individually).

Also, if we were not put on another flight, we would not seen the man sitting behind me get pulled off the plane for acting in a threatening manner towards one of the flight attendants.

2. Surround yourself with fun people
First of all, I felt lucky that we were sitting by really nice people in the Alamodomo dome. The Kansas fans in particular were very nice, even before they beat UNC and Memphis. After UCLA loss, they all told Alex and I that they would have much rather gone to UCLA than any other school in the Final Four and that we should we be proud of our team. The complete opposite of USC games, where the fans are obnoxious and arrogant.

Also, Alex and I got to spend the weekend with two of our UCLA friends--Ryan and Doug--who were also bummed, but did not let it affect the rest of the trip at all. I love fun and positive people. We went thrift store shopping, kayaked, lounged by a pool, visited the Alamo, saw the bats in Austin, and a lot more. By the end of the weekend, I really did forget about the loss.

3. Enjoy the local flavor
Dare I say it-- I actually like Texas. The warm weather (90 degrees!) and open spaces reminded me of being in California. Moreover, I enjoyed doing Texas-ish things such as eating BBQ brisket and beating all the boys (Republicans no-less) at the arcade firing range.

However, there were aspects of Texas that equally humorous and frightening. For example, seeing multiple babies in smoke-filled bars. It was a very Sweet Home Alabama moment.

4. Keep things in perspective
My quick recovery to the UCLA loss was watching UNC implode against Kansas. When UNC was down by 28 points, all we could do was laugh and thank goodness that we were not UNC.

On a larger scale though, I remembered what my dad always tells me when I get riled up after sports losses: It's just a game. I had the good fortune of being able to go to UCLA, having enough money to fly out for a game for the weekend, being able to see a historic Final Four, and going back to my normal life after this loss.

I feel bad, however, for the coaches and players--19 and 20 year old boys who have to deal with an inordinate amount of pressure and who are impacted more directly by the outcome. Thank you for a great season Bruins. You made it further than 99% of the teams
and were great role models to many.

Here are two of my favorite pictures. The rest are on Facebook and will be up on Flickr hopefully by the end of the weekend.

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