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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 24, 2014

That is one mixed-up groundhog

Mar 29, 2013

By BROOKS TAYLOR

Mt. Pleasant News

So how about that groundhog?

Working in a business where mistakes are occasionally made and seen by all forever, I can give the furry creature some slack for predicting an early spring during his Feb. 2 appearance. However, the rope is beginning to tighten.

Normally, I don’t mind a snowfall or two in March, figuring that by the third month of the year, the temperatures are warm enough that the snow is here today, gone tomorrow.

Not this year.

This year’s March has been a real pain. Winter, although colder than last year’s abnormal one, had not produced much more snowfall than its predecessor.

I can’t say that anymore. The area has had well over 10 inches of snow this month, or about 80 percent of the winter’s total.

Add to that temperatures in the 20s and 30s opposed to the 60s and 70s last year at this time, and you know why travel agents suddenly have become busy, attempting to arrange early-spring getaways for cabin-fever sufferers.

Ok, I know we should have considered ourselves lucky last winter. Those types of winter are few and far between. But aren’t we programmed where recent memory rises to the forefront?

Meteorologists say it is going to get better…soon. It can’t get better quick enough for me.

One (and probably the only one) advantage of finding yourselves inside watching the snow pile up outside is that there is no interference with wanting to watch a whole day of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

My bucket list includes taking vacation the first weekend of the tournament some year and watching basketball non-stop for four days. Stuck inside Sunday and watching basketball non-stop for the whole day tells me that might not be such a good idea.

There can be too much of a good thing.

The tournament fostered some alumni pride. My alma mater, South Dakota State University, had both its men’s and women’s teams in the tournament for the second consecutive season. The SDSU women have made the tourney the past five seasons.

Although both lost in the opening round, the men received a CBS game, largely because they were tangling with Michigan and also because the Jacks have a point guard by the name of Nate Wolters. Wolters, a senior, is regarded as a potential first-round NBA draft pick. He finished third in scoring in the NCAA Division I ranks.

Some weeks ago, I talked about message boards and how the forums attract all kinds of people not afraid to express their opinions.

Prior to the NCAA Tournament selections, there was considerable debate on which tournament (NCAA or NIT) would be best for the Hawkeye men.

Most of the respondents (probably around 90 percent) chose the NCAA Tournament because of the prestige associated with the tourney.

It is tough to argue that one, but I wasn’t one of those who thought the sun wouldn’t rise again if the Hawks didn’t make the “Big Dance.”

I don’t know if I was the only one, but I was definitely in the majority, because I preferred the NIT Tournament.

Why?

There was an opportunity, I thought, for more practices and games in the NIT. I didn’t like the idea of a “one and done” tournament (although I am not sure that would have happened if Iowa would have received an NCAA bid) for this team. Considering the team’s youth, the team needs games and practices and I figured a “run” in the NIT would be more beneficial.

Now had this been a senior-dominated team, my choice would have been different.

Not only has it worked out well for the team but it gave me the opportunity to attend my first NIT (I have been to a number of NCAA tournaments. It was fun and judging by the fan support, it didn’t make any difference what letters followed the “N” in the name of the tournament.

 

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