Fairfield (70) vs. William & Mary (47) 12/12/2021

Game #102 of 358 29% complete

This was the third game on this trip interrupted by a peaceful sleep Saturday night following 2 Saturday afternoon and night games 2 hours apart. I was hoping to visit the Civil War Museum in Richmond Sunday morning. Despite the web site stating that it would be open 9AM, I was greeted by an empty parking lot and a closed visitor center. COVID has struck again. I decided to head over to Colonial Williamsburg and stroll the tourist area. There were a few folks walking the grounds many with dogs on a leash. I was glad that I did not buy a ticket for the privilege of entering some important buildings with tour guides dressed up as a colonist because many of the buildings were closed. Anyway, it was a nice day to walk on this uncharacteristicly sunny December day.

I was lazy and did not do a Google map of the arena ahead of time. I simply looked at the address on the digital ticket which pointed to an address on Prince George Street. I saw this street on the tourist map and proceeded to walk over to it just to see where Kaplan Arena is. Much to my surprise, the address was for a bookstore which may be the source of tickets to the basketball game. In a sense of panic, I googled the arena to find it about 15 minutes away. I scurried back to the visitor’s parking lot and headed over to the arena stopping for lunch on the way.

Kaplan Arena checks off one of the boxes for the perfect arena to visit. The parking lot is free and next to the arena.

WIlliam & Mary has never made the NCAA tournament and has a very unattractive win/loss record over the years. These small schools who have not much success have always drawn two types of folks to the game:

  1. Senior citizen couples who can barely make it to their seats adorned in school colors.
  2. Mom and Dad with the kids looking for a cheap afternoon out.

Both of these group’s cheered for the Tribe no matter what the score which is great to see.

Speaking of the Tribe team name, I present to you the mascot for William & Mary. Is this what a “Tribe” looks like? The Tribe mascot is actually representing a Griffin – a mythical creature with the head of an eagle and the body of a lion. You guessed it.  In 2010, the National Collegiate Athletic Association determined that William & Mary could keep its Tribe nickname but had to do away with its logo because it could be offensive to native Americans.

This game was quickly over with Fairfield dominating throughout. One can see the difference in physicality between the Fairfield men and the Willaim & Mary boys. I give the Tribe much credit for fighting all the way and never giving up. The crowd cheered for them right to the end.

I enjoy getting my steps in at half time walking around the perimeter of the arena. One bad check mark for this arena is that you cannot walk all the way around. One end is populated by a members only club with cushy seats, food and refreshments blocking the way.

My walk did include a look at the Hall of Fame wall. My eye caught one individual named Melville Bryant a football player from 1937. He had that look about him that probably made women swoon and men wanting to be him. His sly smile held many secrets.

I could find no history of him, but I was wondering if he died in WWII, became a successful businessman and raised a family or perhaps became a drunk living on the street. Here is a toast to you Melville!

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William & Mary (90) at Delaware (65) 01/05/2018

#51 of 351   14% complete

After a disappointing cancellation of my two Buffalo area games (Buffalo and Niagara) in December due to snow, I was eager to get back on the Operation 351 saddle.  My travels today involved a 4 hour ride from Connecticut to Newark, Delaware home of the Delaware Blue Hens.

 

Do not ever mispronounce Newark to a native Newark resident in Delaware. The correct pronunciation is NewARK with the emphasis on the second syllable.  There should never be any association with their dirty cousins from New Jersey.  If you want anymore information on what a Delaware Blue Hen looks like, here you go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaware_Blue_Hen.

After a unhealthy plate of wings and beer at Tailgaters, I was off to see the my first game of the new year. Walking from the parking lot to the front door in below zero weather revived me from the long drive from the north.

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Let me state that Delaware’s arena, cheer leaders, the dance team and the pep band were top notch. The team was not this night. William & Mary is damn good and not a team that I would like to face in March.  They rank 6th nationally in 3 pointers made (11.5) and average 87 points a game ranking 14th. They lead the nation in three point percentage (46.2) and rank 2nd in free throw percentage (80.6). The Blue Hens never stood a chance.

But let’s talk about what I view as the stupidest half time game witnessed by yours truly since his mission began. I will call it the Burrito game for lack of a better name. Each contestant was giving a silver tarp and 5 different colored pom poms. Each color represented an item that you would put in a burrito. For example, the green pom pom would represent lettuce. Each contestant had to run back and forth to the poms poms and place it in the silver tarp (the burrito). The first one to complete this task was the winner. Mind you, I had no idea what was going on during this contest. I asked a student later on who filled me in on the details. It was one of those “Seriously?” moments.

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I love college traditions during a game and keep a lookout for one with each visit.  When a Delaware player would shoot a foul shot, someone in the pep band would yell before hand in a loud voice “Hands up!”.  The pep band and cheerleaders would raise their hands. Now this is nothing new but it was the authoritative voice of this gentleman that gave it some class. I could imagine that being chosen for this special honor is a long time Delaware tradition passed down through the ages.

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I was impressed with two players from William & Mary. Nathan Knight a big 6’10” forward was unstoppable underneath with 25 points and provided a good foil to the Tribe’s torrent three point shooting. He is from the Syracuse area so I was wondering how the Cuse missed on this guy. Matt Milon was on fire from three point land. He was a transfer from Boston College where he only averaged 5 points a game. He could not miss tonight and finished with 22 points.

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That was a terrible final shot of the scoreboard. W&M 90 Delaware 65.

Next Game: South Carolina State at Delaware State                          01/06/18