I was born and raised in New England, and I like the winters here. My family originally comes from even further north, the shores of the Gulf of St Lawrence. So there was little chance I was going to enjoy a trip to Birmingham, AL, for four days, in the middle of June. 95 degree heat & humidity is not unknown here at home, but it’s not a permanent state of life as it is down South. Barbecue and fried foods are good once a month, not twice a day. And knowing that the protesters outnumbered the marchers at their Pride parade was bound to introduce some tension.
However, that’s all out of the control of the folks who hosted the NFL tournament this past week. They can’t help the climate, and to some degree the history and culture, of their home. It’s also the one tournament of the year where I’m a total outsider; both the League itself and the local hosts don’t really know me, and so I didn’t have any inside scoops or stories. It’s the one time all year I get to see a tournament from the outside, as most people do. And as such, I have to say, the hospitality, setup, logistics, and everything else were all wonderfully and beautifully done. Sometimes people like to bitch and moan as a spectator sport about things like “Ew, god, why are we in Alabama?!” but the hosting efforts here were top notch.
So bravo, coaches of Birmingham. I’m not about to move to their hometown, but I doubt they’d like mine much either. I’m not really an East Coast snob — if you saw my hometown, you’d understand — but I do like it here, in one of the colder corners of the country, so I was fully expecting just sheer misery this past week, and was pleasantly surprised.And after all, the Worst Awards Ceremony in Forensics isn’t their fault.