Aztecs, March Madness, Softball, Conjunctivitis, Red Wine and Trader Joe’s – What A Week!

In a week of good news and bad news, I’ll start with my Aztecs.  Last night, one of the best defensive basketball teams in the country (second only to top-ranked Kentucky) showed a national audience on CBS why it is also one of the worst offensive teams in the country – losing to a very gritty group of Wyoming Cowboys in the championship game of the Mountain West Tournament.  The results gave the Cowboys an automatic berth in the NCAA playoffs and likely cost the Aztecs dearly in the seedings as we move into March Madness.  So be it.

This week begins a period that for me is one of the greatest in sports and there is nothing like seeing those games where the mighty, entitled and arrogant fall and the unheralded and humble rise to the occasion.  There is nothing else quite like March Madness and the hope that the Kentuckys and Dukes in the professional division of the college basketball world will fall flat on their smug faces.

Speaking of madness, ineligibility has struck the Lady Cavers Junior Varsity softball team pretty hard, but the remaining girls are still on their feet as they head into a tournament that has them playing games Monday though Saturday next week.  Seeing Ryan work with the girls in his first coaching experience and the privilege of being able to help where I can has been very enjoyable for me.

Last week at this time, my eyeballs began to get dry and itchy.  In the days that have followed, the condition has only gotten worse.  I actually went to the doctor who told me that like the cold I am fighting, it is a virus that will simply have to run its course.  I hope the blurriness I’m seeing is the finish line for both.

In the interest of saving the good news for last, and with the acknowledgement that I am no expert on wine, I feel like I have discovered some pretty good stuff at a very reasonable price.  In recent months, I have turned to Costco for Apothic Red, a blend that has proven a good value at 7 bucks and change.  During a recent visit to Trader Joe’s, I was drawn to a display of various Italian red wines from Epicuro at about $5 a bottle.

After trying two of them, I feel confident enough to recommend them.  The first was Salice Salentino and the second was Beneventano Aglianico and I’m not going to pretend that I’ve ever heard of them before.  My honest description is that they are hearty and flavorful red wines with body that have gone well with red meat and pasta.

In recognition that my simple description pales in comparison to Wine Spectator or anyone else who pretends to have discerning taste, I’ll try to give some oomph to my description for the benefit of the wine snobs among you and please note that it works for both:

Wine Guzzler:  With its hints of blackberry jam, rawhide, Turkish coffee and moonbeams on a summer night, this ruby-colored and moderately heavy-bodied red table wine is superior to the 2001 edition which featured less moonbeams and a muskier finish.  We at Wine Guzzler give it a 92 and a place on our TV tray.


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