tinkll1 (tinkll1) wrote,
tinkll1
tinkll1

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March Madness, Resolutions, and, of course, Spitfires

The Lady Bruins lost to Purdue at Purdue, a number 5 seed falling to number 4, in the last year in which a team is allowed to compete on its home court. Nikki Blue had 18 points for the Bruins and the Boilermakers played very tough defense. The Bruin forecourt was vulnerable and the guards couldn’t compensate for this deficiency. It was an exciting year and a wonderful Pac-10 tournament, with wins over Cal, Arizona State and Stanford. I will sure miss Nikki and Lisa Willis.

Meanwhile, on the men’s side…. Just how far will the Bruins go? At this level, on a given night, any team can knock off any other team. It just takes a bad night or a particularly good night. They are very well coached and play hungry. They are dependant on guard play and, aside from M’bah A Moute, they lack consistency in the forecourt. Their defensive fire makes up for a lot, and they could get as far as the final four, but I don’t think that the forecourt can match up with the final four teams. It’s been a great year, and Howland has established a trademark hardnosed defense.

One of my resolutions, playing tennis, has been achieved. I hit the ball with Josh on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and each day it got a lot a little easier. Timing and strokes fell into their place, but moving for anything greater than two steps away was resisted by old muscles and joints, reluctant to start and stop and stretch. Moving will be the challenge, as will dropping 20 pounds. Without these accomplishments, the over 80 tennis championship will be out of reach.

The other resolution, serious dining, has been placed on hold.

Reading at, for me, a rapid rate, I actually finished one of the many books that I had started. “Spitfire Command,” is by Group Captain Bobby Oxspring, whose father flew a Sopwith Pup in the Royal Flying Corps, the predecessor to the RAF, in the First World War, credited with 16 victories. Oxspring received a short service commission in the RAF at the time of the Munich Crisis, in 1938, and after training, he was assigned to 66 Squadron at Duxford (now the Imperial War Museum’s home to its aviation collection, and the place where I first saw a Spitfire in the air!) This was one of the first two squadrons to receive the new Spitfire.

His book covers events and characters that I’ve been reading about for 50 years, and never tire of the retelling and the revisiting. Oxspring writes with humor. Describing a former Armee de l’Air Capitaine Jean Morlaix, flying in the RAF under a nom de guerre, Moses Demozay, he writes: “Possessed of a Gallic, indeed Gaullic short fuse temperament, he was inclined to explode into unpredictable exploits. On one memorable occasion he approached to land at Hawkinge, which was a large grass airfield without runways, and found his path obstructed by a tractor towing a gang mower. Bawling French obscenities over the R/T at Flying Control, he retracted his wheels and fired a short burst of machine gun fire some yards ahead of the tractor. The terrified driver lit for parts unknown while the tractor steered itself off the airfield. Only Moses could get away with that.”

I think it is the unconventional and the heroic and the humor that forever sucks me into reading about the “Few” and their courageous answer to the challenge of their generation.
Tags: march madness, spitfires, tennis, ucla, ucla bruins
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