Interesting travel story No. 5: Basketball at Purdue

Mackey ArenaAnyone who knows me understands the NFL postseason is a passion of mine. So forgive me for a moment when I admit I wasn’t thrilled when Iowa’s men’s basketball team was scheduled to play at Purdue the same day as the AFC and NFC championship games.

I didn’t beg off the six-hour drive, and I was pretty sure about the final result before leaving for West Lafayette. After arriving and settling in at my hotel, I met with a few fellow scribes for a couple of beers at a downtown Lafayette hotel.

In the midst of snow on the ground and falling freezing rain, we walked to the Knickerbocker Saloon in Lafayette. A large, balding townie wearing a Carhartt jacket walked up to our entourage double-fisting a couple of drinks. A nameless member of the entourage reached up and started rubbing the man’s stomach, and we all started laughing. Mr. Townie wasn’t laughing.

“Who the (expletitive deleted) are you, man?” Mr. Townie said the person. We all started chuckling until we realized Mr. Townie was serious. The person tried to defuse the situation with a joke, but that didn’t work. After a minute of tension, the person invited Mr. Townie to the bar, where presumably drinks were exchanged and all was well.

The next day, Purdue destroyed Iowa 75-53. It snowed from Bloomington, Ill., clear to Iowa City, making the drive two hours longer. But I’m thankful I could listen to the football games on 1000-AM out of Chicago for  the entire trip.

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