I left dinner and went towards Jim’s apartment. I wove my way through the house lined and ice covered streets, taking care not to turn too sharply and loose my wheels. At some point I came across a group of about 20 burley, many bearded (which is very popular in Louisville) men riding mountain bikes through the snow in a tiny park that was set on a triangular piece of property bordered by each prong of a forking road. Red and white bike lights blinked everywhere as a few of them greeted me and asked if I wanted to play “footdown” which, upon inquiring, I was told is a simple game where the last person on two wheels wins. Afraid that my 70 lb bike would cause one or many injuries, I stayed on the sideline and watched as all twenty or so of them circled up and began to ride around in a tight, slow moving carousel. With barely room to pedal, let alone steer, people dropped quickly and moved to form a circular barrier around those still riding. Each time someone dropped out, the barrier would get tighter. The final three had an arena that was no more than two bike lengths in diameter. They were skilled riders and stayed up for a good while as the other cheered and hooted. Finally a champion was crowned, and someone yelled “and now for burgers and beer!!” And the group took off up the road.
I made my way to Jim’s and let myself in, startling him out of what seemed like a deep sleep. We talked for a minute as he tried to dissuade me from going to a bar to watch MSU in the big ten championship game. Obviously I had none of his argument and after looking up a couple bars in the area, went again on my bike, leaving Jim to sleep.
I rode down the street to the nearest watering hole and went inside. The bar was close to empty and the game was tuned in on multiple TV’s that looked like they had survived since the 1980’s. I was happy to learn that they would be open late into the night, and went out to lock my bike.
As I fumbled with my key and lock, I stopped for a second and realized I was getting the feeling that I should ride down to the other bar I had looked up, which was a couple miles further. I had, at other times on the trip, listened to my intuition, even though rational would say to do otherwise, and had good results. I decided it would be fun to try again.
I got to the second bar and was so happy to see not only huge projection screens playing the game, but a cohort of spartan fans that I joined in hugely outnumbering the buckeyes in the bar. I was having a great time cheering and chatting with the other MSU people when I stopped to look at some of the other faces at the table. I slowly scanned everyone, and was drawn to look again at a guy sitting in the middle of the group. After staring for a second, I realized it was Matt, a friend that I had met on a Spring Break trip to New Orleans seven years prior and hadn’t seen since that year! The reunion was glorious and we had a great night catching up, reminiscing, and cheering the Spartans to a victory.
I got back to Jim’s apartment late into the night, and climbed into my sleeping bag on his carpeted floor without disturbing his sleep again.