Friday, March 28, 2014

Another game

We moved to Ohio, where my parents are from, when I was five years old. My mother and father divorced, and my two sisters and I went to live with my grandparents in Englewood with my mother. We'd been born in California and had lived near San Diego for all of our brief lives. It's where I got my need for beach, I'm convinced.

The 1941 University of Dayton athletic board
My mother came from a Catholic family in Dayton, which meant that my grandparents had attended Catholic high schools - my grandfather went to Chaminade and my grandmother Julienne, back when they were segregated by gender. Now it's one high school - Chaminade-Julienne. I don't know if my great grandfather, Merle P. Smith, went to Chaminade, but he did go to University of Dayton, from where he graduated in 1925 as class president. He went on to become a professor of English and Journalism at UD. I feel proud of that, knowing that writing runs in our family. But he went beyond that. He was an officer in the alumni association, and he was on the UD athletic board in 1941. A love for sports runs in our family, too.

My grandfather graduated from UD as well, and he had season tickets for UD basketball for many, many years. He used to take us to a few games every year, and those were treasured times. I'd often get to go for my birthday (the only good thing about having an early January birthday. Also, as the oldest child, I feel like I got to go to more games, as there were only four tickets. Sorry, Sandy and Jennifer. :D) The most cherished times were when we'd go to the restaurant above the court before the games where you had to be a member - we felt special when we went up there. Sometimes the women's team would play before the men's and we'd get to watch them through the glass at the restaurant and that was an added bonus. After the games, sometimes we'd stand at the players' entrance and get autographs as the players were leaving the court. It seems funny to me now, but that ink on the programs was priceless then. Going to these games was almost like going to Reds games for us - we didn't distinguish between pro and college because to us they were all men good at sports.

I'm not a big March Madness person. To be honest, I feel like it epitomizes the commercialization of college sports in a way that's unmatched even by the BCS Championship. I mean, there's so much money involved in these kind of events that soon, college athletes will mostly likely be paid to play ball. Don't get me wrong - I used to like it and appreciate the excitement of it all. I just don't personally engage. But I've been watching UD, because it's personal to me. 

I just wanted to mention that.

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