As it turns out, double- and triple-headers helped me see 14 games in 10 states/DC in 10 days. Bonus games included Bucknell women hosting Marist, Navy women taking on Georgetown, and both Notre Dame-Maryland and Virginia Tech-George Washington in the BB&T Classic.
The All-10-10-10 Team
Game: Harvard at New Hampshire
Venue: Rider University's Alumni Gymnasium
Mascot: Horned Frogs
Walk-Around Mascot: New Hampshire's Wildcat
Fans: Rider University
Graduation Rate: Bucknell and Navy
Pep Band: United States Naval Academy
Cheerleaders: United States Naval Academy
Dance Team: University of Texas at San Antonio
Floor: Delaware State's Memorial Hall Gym
Bed: Charlie & Marie Meseroll's guest room
Drive: Exton, Pa to Hamilton, NY
An End or Beginning?
Many people have asked if I will make this an annual ritual, something I really can’t answer without the advice and consent of Mrs. Pattie McGlinchey. That said, she was one of those who asked, which I interpret as a tentative pre-approval.
I had such a great time, it's likely I'll pursue another basketball adventure, but will probably retire the “10 Games in 10 States in 10 Days” format and use a new approach to pack the most games into a short time.
A Gift in the Window
I’ve been saving this story to protect the anonymity of my benefactor. I won’t say where it occurred.
After some challenges in finding one of the courts, I arrived at game-time and realized I had only $3 in cash, well short of the ticket price. I raced to the ticket window and asked if they accepted credit cards. No dice. I asked where the nearest ATM was, and the gentleman at the window said he didn’t know.
“Are you a member of the faculty?,” he asked. I shook my head. He said, “If you were, you’d get in for free.” After watching me anxiously look around, wondering how to find an ATM, he said, “OK…tonight, you’re faculty” and pushed a free ticket across the counter.
This almost comical generosity is another example of what differentiates mid-major basketball from the big-time programs…imagine that happening at UConn or Maryland.
Road-weary? Yes. Hoop-weary? No way.
When I began my journey, I was a little nervous that by the time it was over, I might have college basketball burn-out. I’m happy to say my love of the game is fully intact and has only been enriched by my experience.
I won’t be attending a basketball game tonight, but will be doing something even better—playing the game myself. I’m about to record two firsts in my basketball career: playing in a church league, and playing in a “35 and over” category. Tonight is the team’s last practice before the season starts next week. My trip caused me to miss all the other ones and I'm looking forward to getting in synch with my new teammates.
What Made it Great
The last 10 days have created a beautiful tapestry of memories... Reuniting with old friends. Exploring new campuses and basketball venues. Meeting my friend Jim Vitali’s sister and father at their restaurant near Scranton. Talking hoops with Bucknell University Hall of Fame coach Charlie Woollum. Strolling beautifully-lit Hamilton, New York. Being invited to join the student section at Sojka Pavilion. Giving Bucknell-George Mason tickets to budget-conscious Bucknell students. Appearing on three half-time shows. Leading cheers in the Verizon Center. Calling in to the Tony Bruno radio show. Meeting a Bucknell grad who went to junior high with my mother. Realizing that another Bucknell couple knew my grandfather, and hearing a great new story about him. Three overtime periods. Enjoying a great Rider game with Marie Meseroll, grandmother of my friend Forrest Chilton. The grateful smiles of the Bucknell women’s basketball team as we supported them on the road. And more.
It's All About the Love
The most frequent question I received about my quest? "Why are you doing this?"
A simple question deserves a simple answer, one that I will borrow from an old inscription on a plaque at the Palestra:
To win the game is great.
To play the game is greater.
But to love the game is the greatest of all.
Game inventor: Dr James Naismith
“BP McThree” nickname: Derrick Kann
Lodging: Tim & Raelene Houck, Wanda McGlinchey, Forrest & Gioia Chilton
Laptop case: Steve & Nicole Nunziata
Food: Nina & Jim Vitali, Tim & Raelene Houck, Mason Eubank, Marie & Charlie Meseroll, Bucknell University, Forrest & Gioia Chilton, Wanda McGlinchey, LTC Geoff Ballou.
Help finding Metro station: Gioia Chilton
Halftime Interview Hosts: Bill Daughtry (Iona), Doug Birdsong (Bucknell), Jason Minnix (UTSA)
Blog design and support: Sean McGlinchey
Pre-game nap: Marie & Charlie Meseroll
Game-day driving: Forrest Chilton (UNI at Bucknell), Wanda & Sean McGlinchey (Bucknell women at Delaware State)
Tickets: Bucknell coaching staff, Iona University, Marie & Charlie Meseroll, Wanda McGlinchey, UTSA.
Love, patience and permission: Pattie, Patrick & William McGlinchey