First game of the Operation 351 2019-2020 season:
Northern Illinois at Pittsburgh 12/16/19
Hi my name is Dan Nardini. I am a college basketball junkie. I am on a quest to visit all 353 college basketball Division 1 arenas. Given the fact that I started this journey at the ripe old age of 56, my chances to complete this quest are not that good. However, it is possible (said Don Quixote) so I march on visiting arenas filled large and small with fans. My goal is to march onward to be the first person ever to complete this humongous task yet at the same time enjoy the journey along the way.
I am married with two daughters in their twenties. No one in my family loves sports the way I do. Therefore, my family wants no part of my journey other to support me and nod at my stories. It is appropriate at this point to give thanks to my wife Linda who doesn’t get why I do this yet but lets me be who I am. Striving a balance between this quest and a normal domesticated home life will be a challenge.
The name of the blog “Journeyto351” has obvious meaning. I made my living as an IT developer. For those in the business, a golden rule of coding is to not hard-code anything in code that may change. You should make it an variable instead. What am I referring to? The 351 in my blog title. That number will certainly change over the next few years. In 2015, there were 345 Division 1 teams. However, what choice do I have? Should I make the title “Journeyto???’. The blog name will stay as a reminder of where I started and also a reminder to me how long the journey lies ahead.
I occasionally go with a couple of die hard friends but for the most part, I go by myself to the games. I make up for the solitude that by visiting a local watering hole before the game or beginning a conversation with the folks sitting next to me at the game. Most folks are friendly and become really interested when I tell them why I am at their game. It helps that I retired back in 2016.
I plan to post a blog about each one of my games. I have been to 11 arenas so far and have no desire to backtrack to thoughts about those games. My first post will begin with game 11. You will see the number posted as part of the title.
For the record, my first 10 games are not in this blog because I did not think of doing a blog till after these games:
- Oregon State vs. Quinnipiac 12/20/14
- Marist vs. Fairfield 01/06/15
- Daniel Webster vs. Yale 01/10/15
- St. Johns vs. Providence 01/14/15
- Dayton vs. UMASS 01/29/15
- Loyola (MD) vs. Army 01/31/15
- Florida vs. UCONN 12/02/13
- Rider vs. Hartford 12/13/14
- Bryant vs. Brown 12/06/14
- Sacred Heart vs. Central Connecticut 03/07/07
I was interviewed about Operation 351 by University of Buffalo reporter Nathaniel Mendelson : https://www.ubspectrum.com/article/2018/11/the-luckiest-fan-in-college-basketball
The SBNATION web site devoted to Syracuse fans interviewed me about my Operation 351 journey after seeing my Syracuse post:
REDDIT: Operation 351 under subreddit group /CollegeBasketball
Pinterest: greathusky with Operation 351 section
You can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions.