Thursday, March 27, 2008
Spring breaks change as your children get older.
Spring breaks change when gas prices go to about $3.20 a gallon.
This was probably the shortest spring break trip ever – in miles and days.
First stop on Wednesday of spring break was in Hamilton, Ala., to drop off the youngest, Erin, who did not want to accompany us the rest of the way – to Tuscaloosa.
She was perfectly happy staying with her grandmother in Alabama, and most of all, getting birthday presents which had been on hold, even though her sixth birthday was January 1.
That’s right. We had not had time to celebrate the birthday with family in Alabama.
No doubt, that means we’re all too busy.
After leaving Erin, the rest of the crew – myself, Pam, Emma and Andy – drove the short distance to Tuscaloosa for a couple of days.
After lunch, the mall and checking into the hotel, we debated on our evening destination – Alabama baseball or Alabama softball.
Our decision came down to this – the Crimson Tide baseball team has struggled, while the Crimson Tide women’s softball team is ranked among the top five in the country. And the Tide’s softball opponent that night for a doubleheader was another highly-ranked squad, the Florida Gators.
We picked softball. And it was a good choice.
None of us had ever been to a college fastpitch softball game.
We hit it lucky as we walked up to the ticket booth. An elderly couple gave us two extra adult tickets they were not going to use, so we just had to pay for two students.
Our seats were great – a few rows up from the Crimson Tide’s dugout along the third base line.
Alabama won the first game 1-0 behind a strong pitching performance by Kelsi Dunne.
The Tide lost the second game 8-4 after the Gators hit a grand slam in the top of the seventh inning to break a 4-4 tie.
Our favorite player was Kelly Montalvo, Alabama’s 5’0” third baseman. She made two spectacular catches in the first game to keep the shutout intact.
She’s proof that height doesn’t always matter in college athletics. She’s one of the best players in the nation. Montalvo had been named National Player of the Week for her performance the week before the Florida games.
Coach Patrick Murphy calls her the “best third baseman in the country.”
It’s obvious, she plays with a lot of fire and has loads of fun playing the game. She’s a fan favorite.
We had great pizza at the Mellow Mushroom on University Boulevard after the game. It was basically us and a bunch of college kids.
Thursday, Emma and I toured the Bear Bryant Museum on campus. Pam had been there with me before. Andy, of course, is not a Crimson Tide fan. His favorite is Ole Miss. But he declined, saying he just doesn’t like museums.
It again stirred some great memories for this true Tide fan.
After lunch, we walked around campus a bit. Emma, a soon-to-be high school senior, is starting to consider college options. One of those is the University of Alabama.
She had been invited for a tour later this month but the date conflicts with final practices for Beauty and The Beast, a musical being presented April 3 and 4 by the Patriot Performers at Marshall Academy.
Pam and Emma visited the admissions office, and the enthusiastic counselor said to simply schedule another day for the tour.
We came back through Tupelo on Thursday night for the H.W. Byers Lady Lions’ game in the Grand Slam Tournament.
I have fond memories of longer spring break trips to places like Orange Beach, Ala., and Orlando, Fla., and Chattanooga, Tenn.
But this short one was just fine, too. We made it on about $80 worth of gas versus about four or five times that much. And it was a special two days with lots of fun.
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