Friday, October 26, 2007

Gopher basketball

Last night we gathered at my dad's house for the annual ritual of divvying up his Gopher basketball season tickets. He has the tickets that originally belonged to his father, so they've been in the family for 50 years, which is kinda cool. And they're great seats (well, as great as seats can be without paying the premium seat deposit). 7th row in the free throw lane.

For as long as I've known, my dad has invited over a few friends with whom he shares the tickets. And in the past several years I've begun inviting a friend or two because none of us really wants to go to more than a few games. In the past 10-12 years it really seems like they've added more non-conference games against weaker opponents. And nobody wants to see Northwestern or Penn State. So basically there are about 6 or 7 desirable games (Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois) and about 10-12 lame games (South Dakota State, Cal-Poly, NE Louisiana, etc.). Also, in recent years they've added 2 exhibition games. At least these are half price ($15), but nobody really wants to go.

The dynamic of the divvying is thus: Rik, Chuck, Whitey, Kirk & Dan sit around Rik's dining room table on which the tickets are displayed. Everybody has their calendar and their checkbook and I often have a proxy list for a friend like Jay who was unable to attend. We passive-aggressively go through the games one-by-one and people speak up if they want it. For instance: "Okay...first game is versus Army. Anybody? ... Anybody? ... Bueller? ..." It goes on like that through the crappy non-conference games until everybody has one or two. God help the proxy person who doesn't show up, because they always get stuck with the worst of the worst. This year Jay will be enjoying Northwestern and South Dakota State. But thems the breaks.

Then we get to the Big Ten games. Now everybody knows that there are 11 teams in the Big Ten, but only 9 of them play here any year because for some amazingly ridiculous reason they choose to play 12 non-conference games, but not everybody in their own conference. I don't get it. This year Purdue does not visit. Last year it was Wisconsin. So there are the 7 good Big Ten games and the 2 bad Big Ten games and nobody wants to see Northwestern or Penn State. This is where the participants get a little more aggressive, but only partly so. Iowa? Hmm....I guess I could take the Iowa game...I mean if nobody else wants it....because the date works particularly well for me this year.

Whatever. It's pretty sad the charade we go through every year. But it's been like this for 30+ years, so who am I to question tradition.

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