Well, there is March Sadness for me. All of my Final Four picks have fallen — Purdue, Kansas, Arizona and, yes, my sentimental pick, Indiana.
What was I thinking with the Boilermakers — terrible in recent tourneys — my pick to win it all and I.U. to win four games before succumbing to Kansas. The Jayhawks weren’t around for long, either. And Arizona didn’t even win a game.
I’m sure I have to be last in the my pool that is run by the Tribune’s Gayle Bell. I’m not even going to look. I’ll just pay my money and slink away.
But there is one reason for some March Gladness for me. Mitch Henderson, the coach of the No. 15 seed Princeton, upset both No. 2 Arizona and No. 7 Missouri to make it into the Sweet 16.
You have to like that an Ivy League school, with no athletic scholarships, can still knock off the big boys. Henderson, by the way, is a Culver Academy graduate and a 1994 South Bend Tribune Male Athlete of the Year after he won 12 varsity letters during high school.
I handed him his trophy back then. I would love to see him get a much, much bigger trophy next weekend — and maybe beyond.
Here are some other thoughts on events that have happened recently:
When presenter Harrison Ford awarded the Oscar for Best Picture to the cast and crew of “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” one of the actors gave Ford a great big hug. He is Ke Huy Quan, who had earlier won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
I almost had tears in my eyes. I don’t know how many people know of the significance of that hug. Thirty-eight years earlier when Quan was 12 years old, he played Short Round, Ford’s orphaned sidekick in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” He drove the getaway car in the movie’s first action sequence with blocks on the pedals so he could reach them.
So that hug on the Oscars stage was pretty neat for those who remember that movie and the tender interaction between the two. “You call him Dr. Jones, lady!” Short Round snapped at their fellow traveler, Willie (Kate Capshaw).
The following year in 1985, Quan was one of the kids in the movie “The Goonies.” Another of the child actors was Sean Astin, who later was “Rudy,” of course, and then the devoted Samwise Gamgee — Sam for short — in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.
While Astin continued to act, Quan took a 20-year hiatus from acting — and then came back and won an Oscar.
Actress Stella Stevens died at the age of 84 last month. Not much seemed to be said about her career, maybe partly because she passed away about the same time as the more famous Raquel Welsh.
But when I remember my first crush on a movie star, I go back to the 1963 film “The Nutty Professor,” with Jerry Lewis in the title role. Stevens was his love interest and mine, too, at the age of 13.
After that movie, I always had a thing for girls with their hair in bunches — just like Stevens wore hers in the movie..
Stevens was also a Playboy Playmate of the Month around that time. I would have probably had a heart attack had I seen her fold-out. That would have been much too much for me to process back then.
Mike Brey’s coaching career at Notre Dame ended earlier this month, maybe a season or two later than it should have. But that’s OK and he was OK. He seemed perfectly comfortable with the fact that basketball was always going to be No. 2 at Notre Dame.
Maybe his coaching days are not over — he apparently has interviewed for the head job at the University of South Florida. Regardless, he did win his share of games in South Bend, even while mostly using just six or seven players. He also kept up his positive vibes (sometimes annoyingly so) and didn’t seem to be bothered when he became the second most popular basketball coach on campus after Muffet McGraw hit her high gear.
A good sport.
Last Friday during a spring training game in Mesa, I watched former Cub Jason Heyward play right field against his old team. He was in an L.A. Dodgers uniform.
I wish him well even though the Cubs are still paying him almost all of the $22 million owed him this season after they released him last year. In total, he will end up costing the Cubs $184 million over eight years.
He continued to be a great fielder for the Cubs but a mediocre hitter after he had batted .291 for the Cardinals in 2015. He didn’t live up to expectations as a hitter.
But to me — and I assume many other Cub fans — the $184 million was worth every penny if his inspiring players-only speech during the 10th inning rain delay helped the Cubs win the decisive seventh game of the 2016 World Series.
Only nine days until Opening Day.