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.
"....the monsters arrive."
"They come in a deafening, surging swarm, blasting from lawn to lawn and filling the air with the stench of gasoline and death. I would call them mechanical locusts, descending upon every patch of gold in the neighborhood the way the grasshoppers of old would arrive, in numbers so great they darkened the sky, to lay bare a cornfield in minutes. But that comparison is unfair to locusts.
"Grasshoppers belong here. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers are invaders, the most maddening of all the maddening, environment-destroying tools of the American lawn-care industry."
---The great Margaret Renkl, from Nashville, one of my favorite NYT bylines, Oct. 26, 2021.
(She describes our Long Island enclave to every decibel, every stink.)
"The day after my 80th birthday, which overflowed with good wishes, surprises and Covid-safe celebrations, I awoke feeling fulfilled and thinking that whatever happens going forward, I’m OK with it. My life has been rewarding, my bucket list is empty, my family is thriving, and if everything ends tomorrow, so be it.
"Not that I expect to do anything to hasten my demise. I will continue to exercise regularly, eat healthfully and strive to minimize stress. But I’m also now taking stock of the many common hallmarks of aging and deciding what I need to reconsider."
--Jane E. Brody, my pal in the NYT newsroom, oh, a few years back, in the Personal Health column, Sept. 13, 2021.