Mike Pesca, Art Plotnik, and NCAA Upsets: Let’s Hear it for Butler!

Judderingly awesome!

Ambrosia amid the Kool-Aid!

A Wallopingly Fresh Win! Iron-grip intense!


All these words (inspired by Art Plotnik’s Better Than Great book on fresh superlatives)for Lilliputian Butler beating No. 1-seed Pittsburgh. AND on to the Sweet 16!

My favorite courtside post-game retelling was from sportscaster Mike Pesca. I  could tell that he had a line he was wanting to deliver. My radio crackled with expectation. So I listened with purpose.

Caveat: I did not actually watch, as in see, the Butler-Pitt game. I sit with Jack while he watches games; I mean, I’m there, but I knit or write or read or talk to one of the kids before I hand the phone over during intermission or part time or half time. What I love is the background buzz before, during, and after.

Anyway, so I listen with purpose…

Butler was an underdog in the NCAA tournament. Pitt was seeded high up there, somewhere. At the very end of the game the refs called some fouls that Monday Morning quarterbackers—oops, wrong sport—said were unnecessary, maybe because these calls make it the refs who win or lose, not the players. But it was strange for the Pitt guy to commit a foul so late in the game when his team was winning. Enough said about the game. I need to back out of this line of talk quickly; I’ve expended all of my knowledge about basketball, and this piece is about the glee I hear in a fellow writer’s voice as he homes in on a fun line.

So back to Mike.

In this sportscast, he describes with lilt and verve and even a sprinkle of salt the play by play. He finishes with: THE BUTLER DID IT!

The. Butler. Did. It!  You’ve got to admit it. This is a three-pointer for word lovers.

Mike takes an old cliche from those British and American drawing room mysteries, one that’s used so much it’s a bit of a joke. And  he splashes it on the end of a great sports story and gives it afterlife!  I bet Mike had the sentence all written out and folded in his wallet Just In Case. And the minute Matt Howard sinks his buzzer-beater shot I picture Mike planning his spiel, working it so that THE BUTLER DID IT would be his goal post–er,hoop shot?–sentence.

Words. The very thought of what we want to do with them sets the play in motion.

3/21/11  PATTY



Winter Stop Now by Andre


The crocuses are up, the forsythia is in bud, the grass is turning green.

And. It’s. Snowing.

My dad taught me to celebrate a spring snow. That it’s good for the crops and helps everything green up. “A year of snow, crops grow.” Just old Yankee folklore?

Not according to scientists.

Snow contains nutrients and also a lot of moisture. And if that snow falls on ground that’s not frozen, like now, then the nutrients and moisture in that snow can penetrate into the soil and do some good for the plants. Snow contains nitrogen, and more of it now than it has in the past because of acid rain. Who knew?

So today~


….But tomorrow~


Toni 3/21/11