Sunday, December 06, 2015

BUS STORY # 474 (The Sports Fan)

Photo by Busboy

I board the bus one afternoon and take a seat. Across the aisle, I spot one of the Lomas regulars from back when I was working. He grins and offers his hand.

I know him as a professor at UNM teaching graduate students advanced electrical engineering. He tells me he has one more class to go before he is officially retired. Before I can ask him what he plans to do with all his free time, the guy behind us asks, “UNM?”

I recognize him, too. He usually sits in the seat across from the driver and talks non-stop. He’s articulate, and he’s always sounded knowledgeable, although I couldn’t begin to vouch for the accuracy of whatever he was talking about.

Today, he wants to talk about the UNM football team, and he has some opinions about the current coach and the team and the current season.

To set the stage, on this particular afternoon the UNM Lobos are 6-5 with one more game to go this weekend. The good news is that we actually have a shot at a winning season, something that no knowledgeable local would have put money on at the beginning of the season -- or the middle, either. We were excited when we won four games last year.

The bad news is our final game is with Air Force Academy who is 8-3, and 6-1 in the conference. The odds of our winning are slim. But I try countering some of his criticism by noting, hey, we’ve won six games.

He explains that two of those wins should have been losses. He provides play-by-play details, and tells us we didn’t win those games, the other teams lost them. I momentarily consider pointing out the win-loss column doesn’t take such subtleties into consideration, but I know I would be wasting my time -- and encouraging more discussion, of which the professor and I have already had a sufficiency.

He goes on to lay out the historical and political circumstances spanning the last three coaches to explain how we came by our current coach, and concludes he’s just here to stabilize the program. They need to let him go when his contract is up.

Across the aisle, the professor catches my eye and gives me a can-you-believe-this-guy grin.

Analysis and opinion continue to flow until we get to his stop. When the doors close, the professor just shakes his head. “A lot of that stuff just isn’t true.” I’ve heard stories, but the truth is, I’m not really a fan.

We get back to talking about retirement. He’s got plans to do some consulting work, and to travel. He says he was thinking about Europe until the attacks on Paris. At his stop, we shake hands again and I wish him luck.

We have no way of knowing that, come Saturday, UNM will upset Air Force 31-14, and we’ll finish the season 7-5. But I’m gonna have to wait for another ride some time after Saturday to find out if we really won it, or if Air Force lost it.


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