I titled this entry ‘Calling Baton Rouge’, but unlike Garth Brooks, I did not spend last night in the arms of a girl from Louisiana (although there are a couple of names that come to mind………. OK, I’m back!). The reference is to the apparent ties Miami fans now have to the Bayou Bengals from LSU. Still don’t know what I am talking about? Let me explain.
First, there is the Miami Heat. They just came off a huge win against the LA Fakers …. I mean, Lakers.… in the City of Angels. The Heat currently own the best record in the Eastern Conference, and there is no doubt their success is directly attributed to the acquisition of The Diesel ….. Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq, as his friends like to call him, is probably the best baller to come out of Louisiana State since ‘Pistol’ Pete Maravich. And although we still have lots of basketball yet to play in the NBA, this season is already a huge success. And when you have a 7-foot, 300-pounder in the paint, how can it be anything but huge!
Then there is the signing of Nick Saban. All he did was lead the Tigers to their first national championship in …… I don’t know, forever? (Actually, 1958). Now he will head up the Dolphins next year, and we can only hope he will do for the ‘Fins what The Big Aristotle has done for the Heat. Do I think he will be successful in the NFL? First of all, he can’t do any worse than what we suffered through this year! Second, he is a disciple of Bill Bellicheck, and great coaches tend to produce other great coaches (see Bill Walsh). Finally, He will bring a fresh, new outlook that is much needed in South Florida. I am officially looking forward to next season!
All this gets me thinking about what I wrote a couple of days ago. Maybe it’s not about happy endings, but rather new beginnings. The Heat had a new beginning last year with Stan Van Gundy and D-Wade. They added to it this year with Shaq. The ‘Fins are desperately waiting for the end-credits to this season’s show. What started out as a drama ended up being a comedy of errors. Too bad we can’t fast-forward to the draft! As for me, maybe I need draw from the bayou roots and look forward to a fresh start? I am still very confused about everything in my life, mostly because I am a greenie (a.k.a. Tulane Alum) and I am supposed to not like LSU, but also because I have been put on the shelf emotionally until the Super Bowl. Guess I am supposed to just sit and wait and feel taken for granted until then………..
But then there is the idea of forging ahead with new beginnings. Coincidentally, one of my previous life experiences regarding starting anew has a tie to LSU. In spring 1990, I traveled from Miami to New Orleans for a campus visit. And let me say you have not lived until you drive 15 hours in a 2-seater Toyota Tacoma with seats that don’t recline (Stope, I still love you, man!!!). On that trip, I met Nacho Albergamo, a player eventually named to the all-time LSU team who forewent a shot at the NFL in order to attend medical school. It was my first experience with someone who pursued his dreams regardless of other people’s opinions. I guess his courage planted a seed of inspiration in my soul. So as I wrap up this entry, I call yet again to Baton Rouge and draw from a Better Than Ezra song. “I don’t know what I’m saying / Well, I don’t know if you’re there / In the words you are feigning / Do you even care?”