I got back in from my class reunion exactly in time to see the first pitch of today's game, or I would have if UNC-ECU hadn't been finishing up. Seriously - I turned on the TV and the TiVo was in the process of changing the channel to start the recording. So that's some quality timing.
I bet you want to hear all about the reunion weekend, by the way. I just bet you do, and it's my blog and I've already said I reserve the right to go off on a tangent once in a great while. So a couple words. I found that it was a lot like showing up at the beginning of the fall semester every year, in that you think you know your way around but you need to adjust your paths for whatever new construction is blocking a thoroughfare somewhere. Those construction walls never get taken down, they just move. As I mentioned before it was the first time back on Grounds in a solid four years. I like to keep up with the ongoing projects in the report that comes out once a quarter, so it came as no surprise that various parking lots now had buildings in them; still, little surprises show up all the time ("hey, they actually bothered to get rid of the concrete steps that nobody ever uses on the back pathway to the A-school") and eventually you start noticing enough changes that it comes as a small surprise that there are still things that are the same ("oh look, the Teeter's still there.") A good time was had, in any event. The only complaint about the schedule is that there are so many school lunches and class dinners and stuff that it's nigh-impossible to eat at all the old hangouts you intend to hit up; still, I managed to get to the Italian Villa and Littlejohn's, which still does much of its best business at 2:30 in the morning. All in all a very reminiscent sort of weekend; I even got a parking ticket, just for old time's sake - four years of run-ins with (Anti)Parking & Transportation were obviously not enough. (For the record, PTS was ticketing all sorts of folks they weren't supposed to - I was not the first person going back to Alumni Hall with one after parking in a spot we were told was kosher - and the reunion organizers had to have a chat with some folks. SHOCKING, I know.)
If I have one complaint it's that you could fit all the Class of '04 attendees on one sheet of paper, and I know because they handed out a list, and if I have two, it's that my rental car was a Toyota with a Maryland license plate, which is pretty close to the most offensive thing you could give a Detroiter and UVA grad.
So, the baseball games. Clearly I'm not the only 'Hoo who had a good weekend - Brian O'Connor and his boys have been enjoying it too. GOING TO OMAHA! For the first time in history! It's more than we could have asked for out of this year, but that won't stop me from getting greedy. For my money, the players of the weekend are the newly resurgent Matt Packer, who pitched in all three games and did not allow an earned run; and Franco Valdes, who is clutch as hell - Valdes had an RBI in all three games, including the tying run in Game 2 and the go-ahead in Game 3. Ole Miss must feel like the baseball gods are against them, with all the difficulties they've had in the super regionals lately. I myself got that impression when Danny Hultzen snared a liner that had triple written all over it, which he was only able to get because he was holding a runner on first, and then fell onto the base for the double play. That's a rally-killer and worse, a spirit-crusher, and the game was about over at that point.
For the uninitiated, the College World Series is basically the first two rounds of the tournament, redux: two four-team double-elimination brackets with the winners playing a best-of-three. We have LSU first, but think of this as a regional with us, LSU, Fullerton, and Arkansas. LSU's flying just as high as we are - they haven't lost since the first game of the SEC tournament, and they eventually won said tournament. ACC champs vs. SEC champs. It's for conference supremacy.
A final word; this week, June 10 to be precise, From Old Virginia celebrates its first birthday. Yay! There will be no birthday cake, funny hats, or streamers. Boo! There will be presents, however. A present, actually, though it's just for fun and no actual trophy or benefit or any such thing exists in the physical sense. This week, each day I'll highlight two of our athletes (or in certain cases, pairs of athletes) that have had exceptional performances this year. It's worth being reminded that the money sports may not have had the best seasons, but there have been a lot of accolades handed down to our teams and players that are worth noticing and applauding. At the end of the week on Saturday, I'll post a poll, and you spend the next week voting on which of our athletes should be the FOV Cavalier of the Year. Here is a preview of the twelve I've chosen:
Baseball - Danny Hultzen
Men's basketball - Sylven Landesberg
Football - Eugene Monroe
Men's lacrosse - Danny Glading
Men's soccer - Tony Tchani
Men's swimming - Matt McLean
Men's tennis - Dominic Inglot/Michael Shabaz
Men's track & field - Yemi Ayeni
Women's basketball - Monica Wright/Lyndra Littles
Field hockey - Paige Solenski
Women's lacrosse - Blair Weymouth
Women's swimming - Mei Christensen
They'll appear two per day, paired randomly, with a blurb detailing their accomplishments, honors, achievements, and so forth. Enjoy!