Some luck with March Madness
Today is St. Patrick's Day. As luck would have it, for the first time in weeks, I've had the time and the space for a column. Is that the luck of the Irish? I don't know.
I don't know, because I've got a lot of catching up to do. Please forgive me if I ramble, because that's what's going to happen, I'm afraid. Call it March Madness. Everyone else does.
Speaking of March Madness, it starts in its full blown glory today with the NCAA tournament. Have the tourney openers fallen on St. Patty's Day before? I'm guessing probably, but I don't remember it.
Luck of the Irish again? I know most people like to sluff off to watch the opening rounds at work. A lot of people like to sluff off for St. Patrick's Day, too. So, maybe the coincidence is worthy of note. Guess there will be a whole lot of sluffing off going on today.
As for the tournament, yes, it's wonderful. Frankly, it's the only time I watch basketball anymore. Oh, I used to be crazy about it. That was before five years as a sports editor covering 56 area high school and college basketball teams.
I got so sick of basketball -- especially high school -- that when I went news side I swore I'd never step foot in a high school gym again. I didn't until the boys got to the age where they were playing in those gyms. I loved those years, but they came to an end two years ago and so did my rebirth with basketball.
But, come March, I do watch the tournament. I even watched most of the Big 12 tournament last weekend. I didn't sluff off for the early round games, though. I'm also looking forward to it very much. I'm in the mood.
One last observation on this day of days: With all the moaning, groaning and crying about Notre Dame not being invited to the Big Dance, where's the luck of the Irish there? Just a thought.
During this column-less streak, there's been weirdness. Probably the weirdest event was Hunter S. Thompson dying. OK, he shot himself in the head. Nothing lucky about that.
I had made mention in an editorial on the local campaign trail that I'd try to explain Thompson's "Gonzo journalism" in a column. I fully intended to do that, but the more I thought about it, I decided maybe it wasn't that interesting to most. I was surprised by the number of people who said "who's that" when I mentioned Thompson's passing. So, between the lack of time and space for a column in the past few weeks and that, I decided to punt.
But, I got an e-mail the other day from a faithful reader who asked, "when are you going to do the column on Thompson?" For those not involved with journalism, what Thompson represented doesn't really make much sense. This reader gave her take on it and I'll share because she put it as well as anything I've read and probably better than I could have written. Here it is:
"I think he had enormous influence on modern-day journalism. I imagine a lot of his attitudes and methods have been so deeply incorporated into the fabric of news and opinion writing that people don't even realize where those techniques came from or that they weren't always in place. Hallucinogenics and prickly personality aside, he was a fearless straight shooter who (as far as I know) never sold out."
Like I said, I couldn't have said it better myself. As for me, I took a class in college called "The New Journalism." Thompson was a part of that, as well as other "unconventional" writers. He did have an influence on my writing. But, it's like I told the faithful reader, after college I never read anything else by him.
But, there's more weirdness. On the Saturday before Thompson's death, a friend and I watched "Almost Famous," a movie about a Rolling Stone writer that included "appearances" by Thompson. After the movie, I announced it was time for me to submit something to Rolling Stone.
I first heard about Thompson's passing from a message left on my cell. I couldn't believe it. But, when I got to the office, sure enough, there was the news on the front page of the Journal-World. That certainly shows how important it was.
But, that's not all. My son Brett's middle name is Hunter. I had an e-mail from Brett that morning saying it was an omen that his namesake had shot himself in the head. He also said he hoped George Brett didn't do the same.
I laughed. Truth be told, Brett's names didn't really come from George Brett or Hunter Thompson. We didn't name him after them. We liked the names. Heck, I'm an avid hunter and that had as much to do with the name as Thompson did. I thought Hunter Myrick would make a heck of a football player's name. But, Brett stayed with Brett and I'm glad he did.
More truth to be told. Originally, we wanted to name him Jackson. But, there was a fit thrown at that by certain family members that won't be mentioned, so Brett Hunter it was. Oddly enough, George Brett named his first born Jackson.
OK, I've rambled enough. I warned you. That's my tribute to Hunter Thompson or whatever. Luck o' the Irish to you today.