Last night I returned from my return to Las Vegas. My brother and I rendezvoused as we have many times and enjoyed the first two days of the tournament. Thirty two games in two days.
The boys are still there. I arrived late Wednesday night, checked in, and then thought I would take a walk on the strip before my brother arrived. I see a fellow waiting for the elevator; beer in one hand, bottle of vodka, in the other. I asked him if he was all set. He said he was, and then offered me "a pull". This is a term I have not heard before, but I got it. I declined the offer.
On Thursday we sat next to a fellow who was up and down like a yoyo rooting for whoever he had his money on. Syracuse was driving him mad. All around us were pontificating bettors and self deprecating fellows shaking their collective heads.
The prices have gone up; a couple of beers in the casino set us back 14 dollars, and Bobby got a container of soup from a chinese--in hotel--restaurant for 15 bananas. I don't know how many won tons were in there, but that is some expensive soup. Two coffees in the lobby set us back 7.
But lots of fun. A character on Friday night was holding court while smoking one of the largest cigars I have ever seen. Some very fun quips. A guy behind us in the same establishment, was losing his shirt and regularly told the world that he "could-not-believe-it." People are adorned in outfits that would be prohibited in most communities. Most panhandlers had the predictable signs requesting money for food or shelter. A more candid beggar had a sign that read, "Why Lie, Need Beer."
My cab driver on Wednesday night was from Cuba. On Saturday morning from Ethiopa. I can only imagine what they are thinking is normal in America.
I first went to March Madness in 2001, because my brother had read an article that read 100 things before you die. If you are a sports fan, treat yourself and do this once. In Baltimore on my way out, I met one man who had been coming to Las Vegas for more than ten years. On the plane from Baltimore I sat next to a slender fellow who said this was the 17th consecutive year he and his college cronies will be getting together. On Friday night a contingent of septugenarians from Missouri were kibbitzing on their annual reunion. And now each contingent is planning for next year.