Monday, March 26, 2018

THIS & THAT #33 1/2

This past Sunday, Villanova beat Duke 85 to 81 in Omaha, to become one of the final four universities remaining in the quest for the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s basketball championship game on April 2. Although the NCAA is a non-profit organization, its 2016 revenue for all sports under its dictatorial control, came to $995.6 million in 2016. The president of the NCAA will “earn” just under $2 million a year, the highest paid basketball coach Mike Krzyewski at Duke makes $8.89 million a year, while college basketball players earn whatever they can get under the table, and from unscrupulous agents.

Thirty-three years ago, Villanova’s 1985 two-point, 66-64 win over favored Georgetown took place in Lexington, Kentucky. Although I always root for the underdog, and wanted Villanova to win, the evening of that 1985 game, my time was divided between the television set turned to the game, and the gathering in the dining room of some professor’s house in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

I was a professor at Central Michigan University, and could have easily stayed home ensconced in front of my own set, except for the guest speaker on the campus that night, who was the center of attention at this home.

The Jewish Faculty Group had invited Bruno Bettelheim to speak at an afternoon forum on campus, followed by a formal dinner, and then a casual get together at the professor’s home. Bettleheim, who was born in Austria in 1903, and imprisoned in German concentration camps, was released in 1939 and immigrated to the United States.

As a psychologist, he taught at the University of Chicago, and wrote extensively on autistic children, and offered insight for dealing with children. His book Children of the Dream (1967) dealt with the communal rearing of children in Israeli kibbutzim. Since I had spent parts of two years in Israel researching my dissertation topic, I wanted to talk with him.

I wove my way back and forth between watching the basketball game, and wending my way to wherever Bruno was surrounded by other faculty. Twas heaven to have intellectual stimulation in one room, and viewing an NCAA basketball championship in another room.

On March 31st, Loyola will be playing Michigan, with one old-timer sitting on each bench, rooting for their teams.

On April 2nd, Villanova may be playing for another championship, and if I do watch it, it will be in the comfort of our home, with my wife Carmen by my side.

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