Remember the Alamo!
And don't forget the cliches! Adam Kilgore here, live from San Antonio, where I'm mostly basking in the fact that I'm about half a country away from D.C., so I can easily avoid watching/appearing on Washington Post Live. (Only kidding, bosses.) Sorry for not blogging much, still getting the hang.
The first day was somewhat uneventful here at the Alamodome, but then again, "somewhat uneventful" is better than "utterly unevenfully soul-sucking," which is how these media scrums usually go. The arena is dingy and vast; players needed a golf cart to get from the locker rooms to the room with the podium. And yet, no carts for the media! So let me get this: There's a distance the best college basketball players in the country can't walk, but sports writers can? Come again?
Don't miss my point, here. I'm not mad; I don't mind the extra walking. But I am scared, semi-seriously scared, for some of my fellow hacks making that walk, on deadline, while holding the extra weight of a notebook. Defibulators should be lining the walls.
Anyway, the biggest highlight was Greg Oden, who is a charm to be around. Intelligent, genuine kid. I spent some time in Indianapolis this week for a story running on him in tomorrow's paper, and the people around him are really impressive. It's stunning to consider the environment around Oden compared to that of some other basketball phenoms.
Oden was getting tired of the media scrum that surrounded him during every interview session, so he hatched this scheme, which is brilliant: He placed a chair in front of each locker next to him, and then two managers sat in each one, which created a buffer so there weren't so many recorders and mini-cams jammed three inches from his face. (If I was as good as Steinberg, I'd give you a full report on each mananger, but I didn't think of it. Maybe, if Ohio State wins, on Friday.)
"I just thought about it," Oden said. "I get flocked. I figured, why I don't I get two guys to sit next me and protect me? They said Troy Smith took four years to think of this, and it only took me about one. They're great guys."
Oden patted the managers on the back, and then said, "I might have to buy them a pack of Gushers or something."
Gushers! Nice choice. Another funny moment came when Texas A&M Coach Billy Gillespe walked back from the locker room while two of his players were riding to it on the back of one of those afforementioned carts.
"Guys ready to go?" Gillespe asked them. They started saying something, and then Gillespe just dumped his Gatorade cup on senior forward Marlon Pompey. "OOOHHHHHHH!" he yelled, and his practice jersey was drenched.
A final San Antonio note: Best thing, bar none, about San Antonio: You hear country music everywhere. And good country music. The arena speakers just started blaring some Emmylou Harris. On the shuttle on the way here, they played Garth Brroks. (And I know Garth Brooks is just bad rock & roll and not real country, but I like that kind of bad rock & roll. Can't help being from Maine, right?)
I'll probably check out Riverwalk tonight, which I'm sure will be crawling with fans and writers. Full update tomorrow, with picks (guaranteed or double your money back!) and actual basketball "insight." (Maybe.)
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