I don't know how many of my readers are following the NCAA Div. I basketball tournament ("March Madness") but among the other storylines (most of which are killing my bracket), there's the story of Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the teams that had to play its way into the first round--that's right, before the first round started, they had to beat USC just to get into the field of 64 teams (technically, their play-in was the first round, but it's not the way most of us think about the tournament, I suspect). They demolished USC, 59-46, then put an even worse beating on Georgetown, 74-56, and finally wrecked a lot more brackets by knocking out 3rd-seeded Purdue by an impressive 94-76.
Their coach is one of the youngest in the tournament, and he's not only my age but actually graduated from the same college as I did. We were very close in college, in that his name--Shaka Smart--is extremely close to my name alphabetically. Thus, we probably had mailboxes in the post office adjacent to one another and very likely sat next to one another at graduation. And I saw him play basketball a few times. He probably wouldn't know me from Adam and I doubt we exchanged half a dozen words in four years. And when I said earlier that he's my age, I meant that we actually share a birthday. Weird, huh?
Anyway, it's always nice to see a fellow Kenyon grad make good, even if it does cause me to wonder what I've accomplished since graduation, while he's been steadily climbing the coaching ranks and building a successful division 1 basketball program. Really though, it's pretty neat to see him having success and making a name for himself. Here's wishing him and his players the best of luck during the rest of the tournament--my bracket's thoroughly busted anyway, so I might as well have more opportunities to bore everyone I know by telling them of my tenuous connection to a successful basketball program that they've probably never heard of.