Everything dies baby that’s a fact
But maybe everything that dies someday comes back
--Atlantic City, Bruce Springsteen
It’s mid-March, the weather is miserable, and the Big East is in the Garden.
This was the best basketball conference that ever was, because it was Big and because it was East – players and fans, bundled up, road salt on their shoes, with a case of the sniffles, playing in the most noted basketball arena in the land.
Ewing of Georgetown. Mullin of St. John’s. Pinckney of Villanova. They all went to the Final Four one year.
We know the names of the defectors who joined football conferences, putting their students out of reasonable driving range for road games, teaching the great lesson of college sports, which is screw loyalty, screw history. Go for the money.
Somehow the Big East stays alive with 10 teams, some of which I could not name -- 10 colleges that cannot afford legions of football players on their campus.
All I know is that St. John’s and Georgetown and Villanova and Providence and Seton Hall are still around.
I smiled at the photo in the Times of Val Ackerman, the new president of the newly-configured league, sitting in an empty league office. It was her statement: The league of Looie’s garish sweaters and Big John’s style statement is still intact.
“They may hate the cultural context they now find themselves teaching in, but they love their work. The Achilles’ heel of schoolteachers, one all too easily exploited by politicians, is that they love their students.”
(One of the best reads in the NYT these days is Margaret Renkl, in Nashville. In her latest post, Renkl describes the dedicated core of “born teachers” – the majority, she submits.)
(From Madeleine Albright in one of her final interviews in February):
“Putin is small and pale,” I wrote, “so cold as to be almost reptilian.” He claimed to understand why the Berlin Wall had to fall but had not expected the whole Soviet Union to collapse. “Putin is embarrassed by what happened to his country and determined to restore its greatness.” – Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, recalling her first meeting with the relatively unknown Vladimir Putin in 2000. – The New York Times, Feb. 23, 2022.