|Letter from the Final Four
||Friday | 31 March 2017
The Day Before
Phoenix, Arizona: Mary and Steve arrived
today! They checked-in and we all went immediately to lunch at the same pizza
place Dave and I visited last night for dinner. The pizza was so amazing, we wanted to
share it with our old friends.
Don't worry - Kathy and Woody arrive tomorrow.
Steve and Mary pose at the Fan Festival on the way to lunch
Spiedini: Fontina cheese wrapped in organic
prosciutto - on a bed of arugula
This time, Dave and I ordered the Rosa:
red onion, Parmigiano Reggiano, rosemary, and Arizona pistachios. Super
After a lovely meal and catching-up, we walked to the nearby Convention Center
to see the "Fan Festival" and attend the pep rally. The convention center has
been completely consumed with booths and displays from so many companies -
advertising their wares and providing interactive games and contests for the
fans. The fan fest was very well attended and the little kids were really having
the best time. Shooting baskets. Scaling climbing walls. Pop-a-Shot. Lots of
prizes were awarded - hats, water bottles, etc. Fun was had by all.
Fan Fest in the Phoenix Convention Center
This competition, hosted by LG, required participants to toss "dirty
laundry" into washing machines. Score!
I do not know what the Oreo Dunk Challenge was about, but I bet I could have
been a contender.
Each Final Four school - Oregon Ducks, Gonzaga Bulldogs, South Carolina
Gamecocks and the North Carolina Tar Heels - provided a cheer team and a
band for the pep rally. Each school had a corner of a basketball court
set-up inside the convention center. Each school band played a song and
their cheerleaders danced. One by one, then one more time around, and then
another time around and then another. Okay, that was enough.
Of course, we all sat in the Oregon section!
Oregon - obviously - has the best mascot in the NCAA: Puddles
The bands were all very good and I loved that the Gonzaga band members
danced and cheered along with all the other schools as their bands played
music. Very classy, Zags!
After all this excitement, we ventured down the street to find
the official UO Alumni party at
Park Street Food Bar and Beer Garden where there was a shop set up to sell
Duck Final Four merchandise and a raffle was underway for prizes (tee shirts,
hats and two tickets to the games this weekend).
Temporary Duck Shop
We saw two Tar Heels in the bar - the rest of the joint was a sea of green
The bar had a unique (to us) beer dispensing situation. Buy a ticket, choose
slide ticket into a slot above the tap and pour yourself a beer.
It's not like I don't get out much, but is this a new thing or just an
Mary won a tee shirt in the raffle! One of twelve prizes. What luck! It was a
very nice shirt too - green with Puddles on the front. Perfect!
We walked back to our hotel to find the lobby bar completely jammed with fans
watching the women's Final Four game. Much shouting and cheering as the game
went into overtime with Mississippi State upsetting powerhouse UConn - ending their
111-game winning streak. Amazing! The place erupted.
We saw many of the Oregon players in the hotel during the day and evening. We rode the
Bigby-Williams. He is English and his family traveled all the way from
London to attend the Final Four! Kavell is 23 inches taller than me and had to
bend his head to get into the elevator.
I did not order a martini tonight. The bar was completely packed with happy fans
(drinking expensive cocktails from plastic cups) and knew I would never get a
martini glass from the swamped staff... but not to worry. I now have two martini
glasses with me! My wonderful Oregon friend, Hans, read my blog post last night
and stopped to a shop on his way to the Portland airport this morning, made the
purchase, and HAND-CARRIED two martini glasses ON THE PLANE to me - GIFT WRAPPED
IN OREGON COLORS! - to Phoenix! No kidding. What a great guy, what a great
gesture and what a great sense of humor! Thank you, Hans - and CHEERS!
I hope to have a celebratory martini tomorrow night after the Oregon Ducks
defeat the North Carolina Tar Heels. If things do not go according to my plan, I
can always drown my sorrows in my new martini stem... but that isn't a positive
way to think. Whatever happens tomorrow, it is going to be a wonderful
experience and we are so excited and so proud of the Ducks.
NOTE: The games will air on CBS tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon. The first game
(Gonzaga v South Carolina) is at 3:09p pacific, followed by Oregon v North
Carolina at 5:49p pacific. Be there.
And cheer for My Ducks!
Until my next update, I remain, your anxious correspondent.
Sign Up is NOT required! Anyone may comment. Sign
up only if you would like to add an avatar, or if you wish to be emailed when someone responds to your comment.
(Sign-up will take you to my safe and secure comment server, Pnyxe.)