I’ve been working on trying to see many of the different Texas college basketball arenas or gymnasiums this season, which started in early November.
And, of course, as long as I’ve been running, I like to race in different cities – Texas or elsewhere.
When I can combine the two, I consider it a bonus.
The lynchpin to the trip was a race that was brought back after road construction cancelled it – the 11-Mile Race from Kilgore to Longview. It was on Saturday morning. (I’ll do a race report on a separate blog.)
I was able to get a hotel room at the Fairfield Inn on points for Friday night that ended up being about four miles or ten minutes from the race’s finishing location in Longview.
I had also noticed that Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, west of Longview, was hosting a basketball doubleheader against LSU-Shreveport.
Additionally, I realized that I could make it over to Marshall after the race and see a game at East Texas Baptist University.
Then I needed to be able to make it back to race announce the Galveston Marathon for the sixth time in seven years.
A friend of mine texted me over the weekend and said, “Lots of driving.” (Yes indeed. 831 miles. And I didn’t put them all on my car.)
I picked up a rental car from George Bush Intercontinental Airport location Friday afternoon and headed north up through Huntsville, Trinity, Crockett, Palestine and Tyler.
I made it to Hawkins (which is due north of Tyler) at about 6 p.m. and stopped to eat at the first local place that I saw, Richie’s Grill. The game would start at 7:30 p.m. I, therefore, had plenty of time.
When I travel, I like to eat at local, non-chain restaurants, if I can. Sometimes I’ll use something like Yelp or Foursquare to look for places, but this choice was sight unseen.
I had an enchilada plate. I’ve had better and much worse. The waitress was friendly, the service was prompt and those both worked for me.
Pretty good basketball game as LSU-Shreveport’s men defeated Jarvis Christian. They were favored, led most of the way and were pushed at times by Jarvis Christian.
It was the 25th college basketball game that I witnessed this year – all in different gymnasiums or arenas. All but five of them were in facilities that were new to me.
It was about a 40-minute drive east on State Highway 80 over to Longview. I checked in the hotel around 10:30 p.m., worked on the information that I needed to announce the Galveston Marathon on Sunday and went to bed around midnight.
I was up at 6 a.m. and out the door to the race location by 6:30 a.m.
I had a good race. Saw Steve Allen from the Seven Hills Running Club in Huntsville and June Harris, a friend from Houston who does many of Robby Sabban’s Running Alliance Sport races. I learned that she was from the Longview area originally. I had seen her name in the race participant list online before the race so it was good to visit a little that morning.
I got some breakfast at Chick-Fil-A in Longview. (Ugh. They gave me the senior discount for the gray hair at the temples.) And then was on my way to get showered, checked out, over to Office Depot to get my materials printed and laminated and on the road to Marshall.
I missed the first 45 seconds or so of the women’s basketball game between the University of Texas-Dallas and East Texas Baptist University.
On the way into the arena, there was a college baseball game about to get underway and in the parking lot there was a van from Centenary College of Louisiana.
The son of our church’s associate pastor just signed a letter of intent to play baseball at the NCAA Division III school next year and I texted my long-time friend, the associate pastor, to share. (He already knew that they won Friday’s opener, 10-0 – which didn’t surprise me.)
Basketball contest No. 26 was a little sloppy. The University of Texas-Dallas got up by about 20 early and then the margin didn’t change much the rest of the way.
I could have actually gone to two more games in Tyler at Tyler Junior College (at 4 p.m.) and Texas College (at 7 p.m.), but it would have made for a rough drive home when I had to get up early to make the trip to Galveston.
I headed home, got to The Woodlands around 7 p.m., stopped and got something to eat, made it home, loaded my vehicle with my speakers and such and was ready to go to sleep by 9 a.m.
The alarms were set for 3 a.m. and the goal was to leave by 4 a.m.
I don’t think I really ever got to sleep until about 10:30 p.m.
I was able to leave on-time, but I didn’t get to Stewart Beach in Galveston until about 5:45 a.m. as I took a detour – via 225, 146 and NASA Road 1 – to get around a complete closure of I-45 just south of Beltway 8.
I put in eight hours of work announcing the race and left Galveston at approximately 2:10 p.m.
Way, way too many stories to tell in the context of this post.
I had been invited to a friend’s birthday party, which was in the Clear Lake area. There was no way I was going to show up in the condition that I was in.
So I drove all the way to Spring, arriving at 3:55 p.m., showered, took care of an item or two and was back on the road before 5 p.m.
I had mapped things out with Google Maps before leaving and found a little bit of a different route to where my friend lived, but I still didn’t get there until 5:55 p.m.
I had asked my daughter to change the time of our weekly Sunday night phone call from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. so that I could be there for a little bit and then step aside to talk to her.
There were some running friends that were at the party and I kind of stayed close to them for the first 25 minutes or so that I was there.
My friend started to introduce me to some of the others that were there.
It is funny. I’m an introvert -- and in a fairly big way.
Am I uncomfortable in some of those settings? I can be. My friend told me later that they could see it. Yikes!
However, I do fairly well in making connections with people and establishing an even give-and-take with people to kind of share the conversation.
I think it worked fairly well though, but I tend to pick my spots.
It turned out to be a good evening. I’m glad I went.
I had considered not going just because I’m not always the best in some of those situations.
Even though I can handle myself very well in front of large crowds announcing and produce in both my career field and outside of work, I don’t consider myself to be as “world cultured” as everyone else.
I watch very little television as I just feel like I have so many other things that I can be doing.
I’ve been trying to read more, especially since I have a lot of alone time. But there’s just so much that I’m not “up on”, which leaves me at a disadvantage in some social settings.
I’m a simple person, plus an introvert likes to control their surroundings and use their alone time to recharge which, for me, includes documenting life like I’m doing now.
On the bus ride from the finish in Longview to the start in Kilgore, I positioned myself in the middle of the bus.
No sooner was I seated there was a group of runners, mostly women, that talked the entire 11-mile, 25-minute ride and at times loudly.
My senses were screaming at me when I got off the bus in Kilgore.
However, my friend made an effort to invite and include me – without pushing me. I felt it was important to honor that.
I’m the type of individual that if you press the issue – even if you really enjoy my company (which I’m honestly flattered by) – I will recoil.
I think it all worked out good though.