Some of you — mostly the ones who are running in the Pittsburgh Marathon or the half on May 7 — know this drill already: When you get to the fluid station at Mile 6+, look for the guy with the beard and the silly red Ohio State bucket hat for hugs, high fives and a cup of the best water on the course.
The guy in the red hat is me, by the way. See?
For those of you who aren’t running but might not be completely averse to waking up at 4:30 a.m. and handing off hundreds of cups of water to people as they walk by … you should join me. Yes, the hours are rough, but we’ve done this for several years in a row now, and it’s my favorite annual event in Pittsburgh. And it’s a truly gratifying experience; even if you don’t see people you know running the course, everyone is grateful that you’re there and helping out. Seriously — it’s the most fun five hours you can have on an early Sunday morning on the North Side.
How do you sign up? Get to the Marathon’s volunteer page (I filtered this link to make the course water stations easy to find in the list), and scroll down to “COURSE Fluid Station at Fulton Street between Ridge Avenue and Western Avenue (North Side; Approx. Mile 6.2).” Click the button, fill out the info and you’re ready to go. And of course while we’d be happy to have company, if you’d rather volunteer at a station closer to you, that’s perfectly acceptable. We hope we see you there.
And if you’re running this year, keep in mind that the North Side part of the course is a little different, so you won’t see us on Western Avenue. We’ll be on Fulton between Ridge and Western, just before you guys make a hard left turn to head over the West End Bridge. Just look for the hat, people — I’m easy to find.
As I said before, if you’ve ever been an AUCNFFC contestant, show up at Piper’s Pub Thursday night — I’ll be there around 7:45 or 8 — and I’ll buy you a beer. I can’t imagine we’ll get there, but I’ll buy one beer per person until I hit $50 … or until it’s time for me to go home.
And if you want to stay for another, and maybe watch some basketball … or not … please do. I hope I see you there.
This week would normally be when the first posts about my annual college hoops contest — this year would have been the Twelfth Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown) — would start showing up on the blog.
For several years now, that last part — the BTYBB part — has become pretty important to the annual shindig. The support of Chris Dilla, the owner of Bocktown, has make the AUCNFFC pools a lot more fun for me … and, I’m sure, for you guys too.
My intention is to bring this back after a one-year break … but no promises, boys and girls. We’ll see how things are going next March.
The other thing I need to take care of: the winners of the past two AUCNFFCs. To last year’s winner, AJ: I’ll give you a $50 gift certificate to the bar/restaurant of your choice. Or I will buy $50 worth of wings and beer and Mrs. Crappy and I will show up for dinner at your place. You pick.
A couple nights ago, I was flipping channels and came across Urban Meyer’s B1G kickoff luncheon news conference from Chicago last week. After watching Urban’s far-too-brief presentation, I started feeling the familiar twitch that i seem to come up with at around this time every year.
I type the schedule into our calendar. I start thinking about tailgating food. I note the Saturdays when we won’t be traveling … but when I’ll still need to be in front of a television. The players don’t report until next week … but I’m starting to get ready now.
And if the Big Ten Network turning towards football isn’t enough, there is this surprise treat from the Associated Press: A ranking of the top 100 college football programs of all time.
It took a last-second three-pointer for Villanova to get past the Tar Heels and win college basketball’s 2015-16 national championship.
AJ didn’t need any last second histrionics to win the Eleventh Annual Uncle Crappy NCAA Final Four Challenge (Brought To You By Bocktown). And he didn’t actually need anything in particular to happen in Monday’s championship game; he had already built an insurmountable lead. He was the only one in this year’s AUCNFFC who correctly picked the championship game participants, and by then, it didn’t matter that he picked UNC as the champ; his lead was already too much for anyone else to overcome.
And for that, AJ truly deserves his One Shining Moment (and his $50 Bocktown gift card, which I’ll pick up soon):
As for the rest of us? First — thank you so much for playing. And this year’s tournament seemed to be especially trying (although I seem to complain about it every season), so there’s no shame in a rough performance. You’ve got eleven months to study, boys and girls, and we’ll see you back here next March.