The Road to the Road
March is alive with the sound of basketballs. Add the ardent roar of fans and the fervent prayers for wins, and it's a good time all around.
So it was this week in Cincinnati as we chased dreams of Final Four and the No. 1 seed for UC. I admit to not being a huge basketball fan, but even I can get inspired when someone asks me if I want to go to Firstar Center for a game.
Into the closet I dove looking for something black and red -- but wait, is the temperature 70 degrees or is the windchill going to be hovering around 30? Oh, who cares, with all that testosterone in one stadium I'm sure to be warm. Plus even I can muster a few cheers of my own when the players display those pipes of steel adorned with glorious tattoos that shimmer with sweat.
I settled on black pants, black polo and comfortable walking shoes fit for the hike to victory!
Predetermined meeting place was Bart's, just across the bridge by the Newport Aquarium. I've lived here for all of my adult life and still can't figure out the names for bridges unless it's the Suspension Bridge, as in my mind it's clearly our most distinctive. Alas, I fight the 5:00 traffic, have the bridge in my vision and just have to figure out how to hit it. To hell with it, I weave and wind my way back from the 471 bridge and find Bart's.
What a welcome hideaway this place is! A great mix of people at the bar and seated at tables all around. It's complete with a spacious ladies bathroom that's vacant, which is key after the battle of the bridges and traffic on a Friday. Everyone is fired up, drinks in hand and spinning tales of grandeur for the NCAA tourney.
Hey, what is this mess across the street? The Conference USA Tournament, honey. Here we go with the men enlightening me on "The Road to the Road to the Road." I love it when they go into the explanation of how we win here, then we seed there, play a weekend and go on.
Clock ticking 'til tipoff, I vote for walking across the bridge instead of tracking down a shuttle, and indeed it's a gorgeous night. Cincinnati's skyline sparkles, and fans roll in. I even get a bird's eye view of the new Reds stadium, and "Wedge" is an appropriate nickname, I must say! My buddies grab me by the arm and rope me into the fever-pitched swell of the tournament.
But first, a cold one is order. The new longneck plastic bottles that house ice-cold beer are truly a great change since I last bellied up to a sporting event. The other great aspect is that I'm not buying -- as these puppies are expensive. Then again, the guys don't even notice, they're so excited.
We settle into our seats in time to see the Bearcats enter amid flying banners, flipping cheerleaders and blaring band. It looks like a circus to me until the floor clears and the whistle blows. This is when it gets serious. If only we could stir up this kind of interest in education, race relations, economic revival and the cure for cancer. Wow!
The players deliver over and over to the delight of all of us in attendance. I catch myself gazing around at the sea of guys all fired up and vow to tell my girlfriends that this is where we need to be: on the road to the road to the road. This is heaven.
Oh, Why Can We Never Behave?
Last Sunday, a few friends and I dragged our hungover asses down to the Southgate House to see funnyman David Cross. We arrived at 9, thinking we were getting there early and would score a table. Unfortunately, about 700 people got there a little earlier. We found a patch of unoccupied floor and smoky air on the balcony and parked ourselves.
Ultra Baby Fat was the opening band for this unlikely venue appearance for a comic. Their brand of pop music was certainly energetic, but I never really got into them. I was there to laugh.
My knowledge of Cross prior to the show was limited to a small part in the movie Ghost World and a couple Just Shoot Me spots that my friends wouldn't stop talking about. But for those of you with cable, you might know him from his more regular stint on HBO's Mr. Show.
Cross finally took the stage, and he was definitely funny. More notable, however, the audience sucked. Not everyone, of course, but the ones who thought they were supposed to talk back.
During a bit about the uncremated bodies found recently in Georgia, one attendee got offended at his making fun of dead people. "What if it's someone you love?" he offered as his reason why the whole topic should be off limits for jokes. Cross explained, much more nicely than he needed to, that the man was speaking out of emotion where as he as a comic was speaking out of logic. Dissatisfied, the man didn't leave but continued to try to debate the topic with the comic. Asinine.
Later, Cross took a few jabs at President Bush. Age-old fodder: comics make fun of presidents. Again, certain displeased members of the audience proceeded to yell things like "Pussy" and "You do it better." Other members of the audience decided to yell back, and eventually everyone forgot they had put $10 on the table to listen and laugh.
"Let's have a riot over a misunderstanding," Cross quipped at one point after repeatedly asking the audience to let him talk.
We met up with the comic and the band after the show at The Comet. One of the band members mentioned that they'd toured in what they had assumed were much more backwards parts of the country with no problems.
Boycott organizers will be happy to know that if Cincinnati wasn't off this band's list before, it probably is now.