Monday, March 26, 2007

An Excerpt

With the Final Four upon us I decided to share a few paragraphs from Chapter Four. Hope you enjoy.

"Under a perfect blue sky, crowds of revelers jam Laclede's Landing, St. Louis's cobblestoned version of the French Quarter. There is no want for local color—among the jugglers, street performers on stilts, and music blaring from the DJ booth situated at the main intersection flow streams of Carolina Blue, Louisville red, Michigan State green, and Illinois orange—especially Illinois orange. The Mississippi sluices by in the background but the aura of frivolity in the early spring air floats on a different liquid: beer. This is, after all, the home of Anheuser-Busch.

As I walk among these people, I study their faces. I'm looking for someone in particular. Someone of the right age and type who seems approachable. I'm still on a high from Daytona. I had such a good time with my hosts that I'm now testing a theory that what makes these iconic events stand apart is not just the magnitude of the game, but the company you keep during it.

Ideally, Villanova would have made the Final Four, and I could have hooked up with my old college buddies and finally had the experience we missed 20 years ago. It almost worked out, as Nova made it to the Sweet 16 without their best player before losing by one point to the eventual champions. With Nova out of the mix, so was my old gang. The next best option was to hook up with students from one of the schools that did make it: North Carolina, Michigan State, Louisville and Illinois. I would, in essence, embed myself among them. These people would be my troops. I would share in their joy, call them by their nicknames, high-five them after dunks, hit on their girlfriends..."

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