In a cruel twist of fate, my beloved and I found ourselves scheduled to fly to Atlanta during last night’s Illinois vs. Washington basketball game. But we consoled ourselves that we were flying on AirTran, a Truly Civilized Airline that offers free XM radio to all passengers. At least we’d be able to listen to the game on the radio.
Nope. Apparently XM has contracts with every network *but* CBS. Trapped at 37,000 feet, we had to rely instead on score updates from ESPN, Sporting News Radio, and Fox. These outlets were completely and utterly unreliable, which made me totally insane. ESPN seems to believe that Duke is the only team in the tournament. I must have heard Coach K's post game comments about their *expected* second-round victory replayed at least six times, no exaggeration. Meanwhile, on Fox, news about NASCAR was privileged over updates on NCAA games in progress; another reason to hate those pesky red staters and their evil network. Finally, just when it seemed that these so-called "news" outlets might actually give us an Illinois score, the flight attendants would interrupt on the intercom with blather about safety, oxygen masks, and water landings and drown everything out. Didn’t they understand that I was going to die if I didn’t get an Illinois score and get it now? My safety and perhaps that of those around me was in jeopardy.
Of course, at the few moments when we actually did get updates on the Illinois game, they produced nothing but more anxiety and dread: the great comeback from 14 points down, then the seemingly comfortable 10 point lead followed by the painful 3-point loss.
All told, I was pretty bummed when we got off the plane. But, as Scarlett O’Hara famously said, “Tomorrow is another day.” Today the Bradley Braves fought to an unexpected Sweet 16 berth. Good news for my beloved (it’s his alma mater) and for Illinois folks looking for a home team to root for. And besides, the Illini’s loss didn’t bust my bracket. And really, isn’t that the most important thing?