Monday, April 20, 2009
Great Weekend at CSRI
Quite a few years back, fresh from John Kerry's defeat, I hopped in a car and was driven from New Mexico to Tuscon, Arizona for my first conference as a doctoral student. Here I met the famous Drake Group, who, besides leading me to my first professional presentation in St. Louis, changed my life in many ways I probably truly did not know until this week. Along the way, I discovered some great people in the middle of a different struggle.
What a difference 5 years makes. As I waited during my layover in Washington, I saw the shirts on for sale celebrating Obama's inauguration. I then arrived in Chapel Hill and finally got the chance to celebrate with Jason and Amanda the fact that we all not only prevailed in our dissertations but all found jobs along the way despite being involved in this "incorrrrigle" group.
On Thursday, I finally met a person who has been more influential than he will ever know in Jon Ericson, a founding member of the Drake Group. Later on, I was actually in a car with Jon, Andrew Zimbalist (whose book, "Unpaid Professionals" may have been the most influential book in my philosophy on college athletics), and Allen Sack (pictured with Jon) wondering "How did I, a guy born in PEI of all places, get to this point?" Surreal moments... further complimented with meeting Bill Rhoden of the NY Times and getting an autographed copy of his book, 40 Million Dollar Slaves. Rhoden wrote to me in my copy the important reminder, "Stay strong, keep the faith" (perhaps sensing that the Canadiens were down 5-1 to the Bruins?).
Poster presentation went well and as the conference closed, I had some fun with David Ridpath's picture in the USA Today article on "Academic Clustering" from the Fall of 2008. Around this time, I once again realized the importance of authenticity in your relationships. And if I didn't need to get even more reflective as I got on my plane leaving my connection from Washington, who was in front seat but none other than John Kerry.
Two weeks and two days from my final exam completing my second year as a professor. And still keeping the faith... Thank you my fellow Drakies for your assistance in my possibility to live the dream.