Tuesday, March 21, 2006

humbled by the hoopmasters

I have worked in Bradley Publications for over seven years, producing newsletteres, catalogs, development pieces, president's reports etc. I felt humbled on Sunday afternoon as I watched a group of tall college kids finish off their second upset of the NCAA tournament. That evening, my in-laws came over for dinner. After I finished eating, I looked at the clock and grabbed my coat. They all looked at me rather surprised. "Take care," I said. "I gotta run." They were surprised to learn that I, who could never be called a sports fanatic, was heading to the airport to greet the team as it stepped off the plane. They looked at me with quizzical expressions.

I explained that I had realized this afternoon that these often ineloquent, but incredibly talented young men had done more to advance Bradley University in one week than I could do in a hundred years of hard work. I had also attended the send-off party for the team a few days earlier, and I decided then that these seemed like really sweet guys. They truly appreciated people coming out to wish them luck, they gave high fives and hugs to little kids, they signed whatever we asked them to sign and just seemed to appreciate the attention.

So Bradley is now in the Sweet Sixteen. The phones are ringing off the hooks. We're all over ESPN and the upcoming Sports Illustrated cover. Reporters and film crews are on campus. Prospective students are getting more interested. Suddenly, the country is curious about this little school with a big heart in Peoria, the town with a funny name that few people can find on a map.

So, I'll keep cranking out printed pages, but I have a new perspective on my work.

Follow Bradley's wonderful players at www.bubraves.com.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

coffee unwired

Of course when you work in a basement cubicle and the power goes out, you feel for a flashlight or try to make it out to the hallway that is dimly lit by an emergency light. You get to go home, where, hopefully, you do have power and can make that afternoon cup of coffee.

I am sitting here in my cubicle, formatting the schedule of classes, a tedious task, and thinking it is just about time to head for the Bunn-O-Matic, which makes a tolerable pot of coffee in seconds flat. Before I get up, however, I have to relay my mother's recent plight. She lives in Rochester, a tiny town about 5 miles outside of Springfield, Illinois. As you may have heard, Springfield sustained heavy tornado damage Sunday night. Most of the city—and the surrounding towns—were without power for two days.

So mom thought about driving into Springfield to find a cup of hot coffee, but that didn't seem reasonable. The entire town of Rochester had no power, so a trip to the gas station for a cup was out. Ever resourceful, mom went out and built a fire in the Weber grill. Once she got it going, she put a pot of water on it. Since I heard the story second hand from my brother, I'm not really sure if this method worked. Sounds like a lot of trouble, but when you really need a cup of coffee, especially after two days with no power, you'll try anything.

Personally, I would have braved the streets and driven five miles to the outskirts of Springfield, where Starbucks recently opened a new shop. (I'm sure they would have found a generator, sensing how desperate the whole town was going to be for a good strong cup of joe.!) But a trip into town for one cup of coffee would seem quite wasteful to her, I am sure.

More power to you, Mom!