Waiting For Things To Settle

Things on the basketball front seem to be in such turmoil that I have decided it might be better to allow a little more time to elapse before commenting on the situation. I developed the ability years ago to savor the moment and that's exactly what I plan to do for the days between now and when a new champion is crowned. ABCs are pained beyond description at us winning it all and, in my opinion, make fools of themselves trying to dig at us for having lost so many players. Don't let them get to you. We may still land a player or even two this year and it will be fun to work with a new team without the pressure that was present this year.

Until the smoke clears, I am going to spend some time with my new hobby. College dining facilities. That's right. I've accidentally discovered that there is currently a dining facilities envy/competition going on among colleges that rivals the athletic facilities race that has been going on for some time.

I was unaware of this situation until my traveling buddy Dave and I almost accidentally visited the Ferrum College campus several months ago. Ferrum is a small school located near Rocky Mount, Va. and we dropped by for a visit while on a day trip to another location.

We arrived at the campus near lunch time so we thought it would be different to eat in what we used to call the cafeteria. My initial reaction to the Ferrum Dining Facility was surprise. I haven't had any reason to visit a college eating facility in many years and I was unaware that things had changed so much. My experience with university eating facilities was based on time spent in Lenoir Hall in the late 50s. I ate the 'student special' practically every day which was 1 meat and two vegetables, plus a drink for 40 cents. If one really wanted to splurge they could get a desert for 10 cents more. Some of the students complained about the food back then but I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't like mama cooked but 4 years in the military can change one's perspective on things. I had no complaints.

The Ferrum facility is not laid out like a traditional cafeteria. I occasionally visit the Piccadilly cafeteria here in Richmond and the diners all get into a single line as they pass the food and choose what they want. At Ferrum, there are several stations located around the eating area where various types of food are served. Frequently, the food is self serve. I don't know why any student at Ferrum would ever have any reason to be hungry unless they chose to be. A self serve soft ice cream machine was the feature for me, but I was strong and only had a small amount. I have my blood sugar under control and that's the way I want it to stay even though I do occasionally have my favorite sweet, a milkshake.

A student plan is available which allows students to eat as much as they like and it speeds things up since those having the cards move much quicker through the cashier's station than would be the case if each item was registered individually. Another thing that speeds up the process is that with several food stations, one rarely has to stand in line for anything. The students are dispersed among the several food stations depending on their preferences.

We talked with a couple of the students and asked for their opinion of the food. They said it was all right but not with a great deal of enthusiasm. Some things never change and I guess you will never hear people speak but just so well about food that is prepared in bulk. Dave and I were appalled that the students seemed no more pleased with the food and facilities than they were, but , as we learned later, these kids have never known anything else. It was no big deal for them but it was for us.

This is getting a little longer than I planned so maybe I should summarize matters relating to my new hobby and indicate what I plan to do in a series of articles. I have decided that I am going to visit as many college dining facilities as I can so as to get a feel for the range involved in the facilities war. So far I have visited UNC, ECU, James Madison, Ferrum, Sweet Briar and Radford. I had a golden opportunity to examine the facilities at Virginia Tech this past week end but it just didn't work out. I'll catch it later.

I'm having a lot of fun traveling with a friend of mine and his son as we visit the various colleges that interest him in anticipation of enrolling in the fall of 06. Makes me feel younger because we make a point out of talking with the students to get a real feel for the university we are visiting. It has been a positive experience, without exception, and we have several schools to go yet.

I got my UNC championship cap yesterday in Roanoke but I still haven't located the Coke UNC championship cans. I've got someone checking the Triangle area for me.