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Surprise Monday

I received an email from Geoff while I was at work yesterday, inviting me to come attend the College Basketball Experience(CBE). The CBE is an annual tournament that's played in KC. Rather, at least the semifinal, consolation, and championship games are played in KC. The games were at Municipal Auditorium, which before last night, I was scarcely aware even existed. It's a gorgeous arena, and a living relic of another time; soon to be forgotten entirely when the ultramodern Sprint Center opens in a couple months.

Anyway, Matt acquired four free tickets to the event from his employer, and needed people to join him. Geoff, Erp and I were quickly rounded up in name. I rode the bus to work yesterday, and tipoff was at 6:05pm. With my bus leaving work at 5:03pm, that gave me basically no time to make it by tipoff. Geoff generously agreed to pick me up at 63rd and Troost at 5:20pm.

He foolishly took the outbound expressway at 5pm on a weekday, and was soon stuck in parking lot traffic, compounded by a wreck at 55th St. Meanwhile, my bus dropped me off at Troost at about 5:15pm, so I called Geoff to find out where he was. When I did, I realized I didn't want to hang out at a busy intersection, so I started walking north to close the distance Geoff had to make to reach me. I got to about 55th St by the time he spotted me and flashed his brights at me.

We made a beeline for Crown Center, swapped cars, and took my secret attack route into downtown. Air Force kept up with Duke pretty well, but in the end, they just didn't make their shots or get the rebounds. For the second game(between Marquette and Texas Tech), it turned out that another friend named Matt was there too, and informed us of seats in his row coming open. Incidentally, his row was three up from the floor.

When we sat down, we could see Dick Vitale across the court calling the game for ESPN, including his animated facial expressions. We could see Bobby Knight freaking out at his Red Raiders getting completely owned by Marquette. We could see the Marquette players and coaches in great detail. Marquette, by the way, played some of the best basketball I've ever seen in person.

On top of these basketball notables, the first game was coached, of course, by Mike Kry5sjh5aj8kgsdsky of Duke, arguably the most famous current college coach. Also on hand to be honored as the founding members of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, were Bill Russell, Dean Smith, Oscar Robertson, and John Wooden. I of course had no idea who any of these people were, but judging by the looks on the faces of the guys I was with, I assumed that they were some sort of basketball illuminati.

Besides the amazing performance by Marquette, my favorite part of the evening was the halftime appearances by the Kansas City Marching Cobras. I know of nothing to which to compare them, so I will make a sad attempt at describing them. They are a group of inner city youth dressed like a marching band who play drums and dance for, typically, parades in Kansas City. They are really exhilarating to watch, and they performed for both halftimes. They took almost the entire second halftime, leaving perhaps three minutes for the teams to warm up for the second half. The ESPN people appeared to be livid. It was awesome.

After the game, we went over to Tanner's, where I ran into Marisa, and the rest of us ran into Liana and Amber. We had some drinks and appetizers, and called it a night. It was a very unexpected but excellent Monday night.

10:33 AM, Nov 21, 2006

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