Welcome to Medary.com Sunday, May 28 2023 @ 05:52 PM CST

At the Women's Final Four

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Editor's note: Names and some places have been redacted to protect the guilty.
The parties to this escapade are labeled:
Person Of Interest #1 (POI1) (a female)
Person Of Interest #2 (POI2) (a female)
Person Of Interest #3 (POI3) (POI4's wife)
Person Of Interest #4 (POI4) (POI3's husband)
Person Of Interest #5 (POI5) (POI6's husband)
Person Of Interest #6 (POI6) (POI5's wife, the author of this piece)
Person Of Interest #7 (POI7) (a female)
This makes the story somewhat more confusing. This is intentional.

Although POI1 (POI2's last minute replacement) insists that "What happens in Indy, stays in Indy", I thought I would share with you guys what we did.

The first excitement happened on Friday morning when POI2 called POI3 to say that her flight was canceled due to storms and she wouldn't be able to show up until Monday so she was just bagging the whole thing (which is what I would have done, too). POI3 had the brilliant idea to call POI1. POI1 works at the company that POI4 works at and somehow heard that POI3 does the Final Four every year. About 3 months ago, POI3 sent me POI1's email and told me to keep her in the loop on KC based basketball events. We met at the Women's Big XII tourney since she volunteered for that, too, and then she signed up for the Women's Regionals (per my advice). Imagine our surprise when at 9 AM on Friday, POI3 called and POI1 said "OK, let me look at airfare and see what I can do." and then have her tell us that she would get there around 8 PM on Friday for airfare of $250!!! And, on the way to the airport she stopped at Dillard's to buy khaki pants for her "uniform" (without trying them on since she is a perfect off the rack size!). So, she had about 6 hours of notice before her flight left!

POI3, POI5 and I landed in Indy around 3 PM (and my luggage didn't make the connection at O'Hare) and immediately found the free WBCA (Women's Basketball Coaches Association) transportation to our Hilton hotel. We got to the hotel and POI5 and I really enjoyed our huge suite (at a cost of only $97.44/night due to POI3's Fed. Govt. rate!) with seating for 15 while POI3 and POI1 enjoyed their two room "suite" (i.e. a normal room at this Hilton), too. And, due to my Hilton status, four of us got a free breakfast buffet every morning (the Belgium waffles and made-to-order omelets were especially yummy). POI7, the Bloomington, IN woman that POI3 and I have been volunteering with for the last 5 or 6 years, had already checked in her room and she took us on a nice driving tour of Indy. We finished with a huge dinner at some famous deli.

Our first volunteer shift was on Saturday morning at Hoop City. Hoop City was supposed to be different this year so I was looking forward to it. However, the new marketing company that is now in charge of Hoop City simply bought the events from the prior company so it was the same it has been for the last umpteen years. Our job was to handle crowd control at the ESPN broadcast booth where people could be the commentators and do play-by-play and take home a CD of their efforts. (POI5 was the play-by-play person and I was the color commentator when we did it. POI5 did a good job and I stunk and we have the CD to prove it!) This was NOT a stressful job since turnout was very low and the 5 of us (POI5, POI6, POI3, POI7, POI1) managed to only have 1 or 2 of us work at a time while the others of us went around to the other booths and got all of the free stuff that we could. We "had" to leave our shift early since we had another shift starting at 3 at the All Star game across town.

Before going to our 3 PM shift, however, we put on our WBCA polo shirt (and took off the Hoop City polo shirt) so that we could wander around the WBCA exhibit hall without the credentials that the coaches had. This is where all the basketball related vendors sell their stuff to the 700+ coaches. POI5 was happy since the entire women's basketball coaching staff from (his alma mater) was standing by the court (where teaching sessions occur) and he was able to talk to the head coach for a few minutes. It's amazing how many companies sell video software for breaking down game film and how many different basketball "rebounding" machines there are that let one person just keep shooting and shooting and shooting. And, all of the major shoe and uniform vendors were there, too. We signed up as coaches (from a relatively obscure local university known by initials) to get free backpacks. I bid on a "New Balance" gift pack at the silent auction and found out on Monday that I was the high bidder (I bid $85 for a $175 value).

When we arrived (late!) for the 3 PM All Star shift, our job was to hand out fliers that stated that the WBCA brochure had the wrong times printed for the Final Four games since Indy doesn't follow Daylight Savings Time. Talk about dumb!!! After that fiasco, they had us each stand on a corner of the court and make sure no one walked on the court. After about 30 minutes, we sat down (right behind the benches) before the 4:30 tip off and enjoyed the games. POI5 and I snuck into the Media Room to get free food and then later POI1 and POI7 did, too. We didn't have "All Access" badges, but POI5 and I figured that if we could get by the WBCA security guards (i.e. interns -- recent college grads that are really high strung about doing a good job at their slave labor rate), we had it made. So, we just had to wait for a diversion (i.e. when the interns went on the court to guard the assembled mascots as they threw t-shirts to the crowd). Anyway, during the game one of the little ball girls was supposed to throw shirts to the crowd so she threw one to POI5 who was right behind the bench! After the games, we went to a Greek restaurant and after POI5 danced with the belly dancer, it was my turn followed by POI1's. POI7 said "no" and POI3 was never asked (maybe she paid off the belly dancer??!).

So, Saturday was a full day - 10 AM until 10 PM. We got back to the hotel to see the last 10 minutes (game clock time) of the second men's semifinals. The "haul" for Saturday was about 4 t-shirts per person and lots of junk food and "flair" (plastic buttons, necklaces, etc.)

Sunday had us working Hoop City for our second shift. This time we were stationed at the Kraft Foods tent and were told to get rid of the 1 oz. bags of peanuts that they had a million of. We also handed out coupons for free frozen pizza (and several of these $3.70 value coupons somehow found their way in our bags!). This was another easy shift.

Then we went to the 2 semi final games and watched (major university, alma mater of POI6) blow a huge lead and lose. However, I was able to introduce POI5 to (booster couple #1) and (booster couple #2) (two sets of boosters from my (major university, alma mater of POI6) volleyball days) and they were happy to meet him and see me.

We all skipped our Monday Hoop City shift (except POI7 showed up and didn't have much to do which is why the rest of us skipped it!) but made sure to get to our WBCA banquet aide shift for the late afternoon beer-and-wine party. We had to guard the doors to make sure none of the coaches came in until 5 PM and then we gave each of them a drink ticket. The topic was Immaculata and how they ended up dominating women's basketball in the early 70's. Three former Immaculata players (who are now very successful and well known college/WNBA coaches) reminisced how they did it and Mimi Griffin (former ESPN and CBS basketball color analyst) was the emcee (and at one point wore the wool skirted basketball uniform that they used to wear for the games) and she had taped an interview with their coach last week. The whole thing was hilarious and extremely educational/informative.

After that stressful shift (which included all we could drink since we were the ones handing out the drink tickets before the show started), we had a Men's Finals party in our suite. POI3, POI1 and POI7 picked up two pizzas while POI5 and I cut the apple, sausage and set out the junk food we bought on Friday night for this party and also the stuff we acquired throughout the week (like full size Kraft food products from our stint on Saturday). The party lasted until 1:30 AM and a fun time was had by all!!!

Tuesday we had to work the 11 - 2 shift as banquet aides for the WBCA Annual Luncheon. This is where the coach of the year presentations are made to all of the levels (Div I, II, III, NAIA, juco, high school). We had to put a t-shirt on each seat and lo and behold, the right size shirts ended up on our own chairs! After a tasty banquet lunch and some so-so speeches, each table had a door prize (a Spalding women's basketball) that was won by the person that had the sticker under the chair. Well, POI1 and I just happened to know where to sit and we won the balls! So, now our driveway basketball court has a men's and women's ball for use!

Tuesday night was the final game which was actually exciting since we had a Baylor grad from last year sitting right in front of us and she was funny. She is in law school 2 hours from Indy so she came for the games and missed a couple of classes. She taught us "the claw" and we became honorary Baylor Bears. Sic'em!

Wednesday morning saw us check out of the hotel and take the free WBCA shuttle to the airport and everyone got home safe and sound.

I think the final haul for POI5 and me was:
7 t-shirts
4 polo shirts
2 fleece jackets
1 Spalding basketball
2 backpacks
Lots of "flair" junk
Misc. junk food items
New Balance duffel bag, long sleeved t-shirt, certificate for a pair of shoes, portfolio (notepad) and water bottle

Luckily we got the duffel bag in the silent auction since we needed it for all of the loot! POI3 bought a pair of shoes to uphold her annual Final Four tradition (although this year she bought them since she got a pedicure and needed slides!) and also bought a swimming suit to enjoy the hot tub/pool area with POI1. (POI3 said she felt like she was on a cruise since she was just reading by the pool on Tuesday afternoon.) Four rooms are already reserved in Boston at the Hilton across from the Hynes Convention Center (the site for Hoop City and the WBCA convention) for $127/night plus tax!

P.S. note to Adidas: coach's name at (major university, alma mater of POI6) is spelled S-u-m-m-i-t-t. Two t's. Your little gold medallion chocolate candy celebrating 880 wins was nice, but get the name right. Thanks.