Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Redeeming Water Bottles and Seeing the Final Four

A big event for me these days is going to the recycling center to redeem water bottles. You can imagine my reaction when our son-in-law informed Carole and me we had tickets to see the Final Four basketball tourney in Phoenix where the Oregon Ducks will play.

My biggest anxiety when I go to the Bottle Drop is making sure my garbage bag full of containers doesn’t spill all over my trunk. Now I have to worry about color coordinating what I wear to the Big Game and jockeying for a parking spot amid a sea of crazed, logo-wearing fans at University of Phoenix Stadium.

When I watch games from my executive suite at home, my biggest worries are getting to the bathroom down the hall in time and removing that noisome casing on my salami.

Of course, all the angst will be worth it if the Ducks pummel North Carolina and proceed to the Championship Game Monday night. I’m betting my green and gold underwear they do.

Scoring tickets to the Final Four comes on the back of a lot of luck. This happens to be the year the Final Four is in Phoenix – and the first year since 1939 that Oregon has made it to the Final Four.

It also just happens to be where Carole and I go each spring to visit our grandkids – though this year we decided to go later than usual. There was no premeditation, We didn’t even know the Final Four was being played in Phoenix when we booked the trip.

This just proves dumb luck is often better than calculated strategy.

As the minutes tick by before we head to the game, I admit to having butterflies in my gut. The players and coaches must be lit up inside with anticipation and pre-game nerves.

Being at this Final Four in person is doubly special because we also will see Gonzaga play in the first game in what will be its first Final Four. There will be a lot of Pacific Northwest pride on display. We will have two teams to root for today.

While I don’t handle surprises as well as I used to, I don’t think the excitement of the Final Four will be enough to require valium. I can’t say that will be true for my delirium when I return all my water bottles after April 1 and get 10 cents back instead of the 5-cent deposit I paid. That is border-line, over-the-top excitement.

In the women’s basketball Final Four last night, Mississippi State stunned UConn, ending the Huskies 111-game winning streak. Loser number 111 was Oregon in the Elite Eight last weekend.

Just a year ago, UConn whipped Mississippi State in the Sweet Sixteen by 60 points, as the Huskies went on to win their record-breaking fourth consecutive national title. That shows what a difference a year can make and may foreshadow the emergence of the Lady Ducks as a national powerhouse next year.

The 2018 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four will be in Columbus, Ohio. Who knows, I might coincidentally just happen to be there at the same time.

Maybe someone will invite me to give a talk, with a dynamic PowerPoint presentation, on the exciting finer points of redeeming water bottles for a dime apiece without spilling them in your trunk. Yeah, it could happen.





One comment on “Redeeming Water Bottles and Seeing the Final Four

  1. Eric Knutson
    April 2, 2017

    Loved this piece!

    Sent from my iPhone


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