Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And This is Day 1?

Wow...what a way to start our trip in Oklahoma City. Dan and I are thoroughly exahausted after an action-packed day that has yet to end. Here's the rundown of the day's events...

After we "checked our bags," both Dan and I were lucky enough to be randomly selected to participate in an extended security check. If you have seen either of us, you probably know we're not exactly prime candidates to pose any major threat. Once that uncessary ordeal was complete, we started walking to our gate. Upon arrival, we noticed our gate was more of a Hooverville than place people board planes. People were sprawled out all over the place taking naps and the like on the ground. Needless to say, it was weird.

A couple of hours later we touched down in OKC. After checking into the hotel, we walked to the elevators to go up to our room, and noticed someone was holding an open elevator for us. Turns out it was none other than Tennessee ace and player of the year finalist Monica Abbott. With our first "celebrity" sighting under our belt, we hailed a cab to head over to ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. Our cab driver turned on the radio as soon as we sat down, only to hear local sports talk radio hosts bantering over--what else--Oklahoma University football. Even though it's June, it's always football season in the Sooner State.

We arrived at the stadium only to immediately see NU Coach Kate Drohan and pitcher Courtnay Foster. (You can listen to Dan's interview with Foster by scrolling down the page.) Dan and I decided to do an audio tournament preview with Sports Information Director Doug Meffley (also below). We watched the team practice, and I gotta say, the coaches Drohan can absolutely rip the ball. Once they were done, we hopped on the bus with the team, and headed over to the Varsity Grill--not to be confused with THE Varsity in Athens, Georgia--for an early dinner. It just so happened that the hour and half we were there was dominated by Northwestern in many ways. Since this was a sports bar, there were many tv screens. One screen had a replay of the women's lacrosse team winning their second consecutive national championship. Another had NU alum Michael Wilbon sporting a Northwestern baseball jersey during his show Pardon the Interruption in order to show his support for the softball team. Once PTI concluded, it was time for Sports Center, anchored by WNUR Sports alum Dave Revsine.

As the servers brought in the food, we noticed someone had ordered a FULL slab of ribs. Who did that plate of ribs go to? Probably the person you would least expect...Coach Drohan! And yes, Coach made all gone.

After a brief stop at the hotel so everyone could change, we headed back to the stadium for the opening cermonies. The festivities got started off with a bang as a cover band made up of officers in the Navy called "Freedom" started rockin' some tunes. After each team was introduced (the Cats introduction is below), former UCLA standout Dr. Dot Richardson gave a couple of inspirational speeches. On the bus ride back, Caryl Drohan jokingly announced to the team that Dr. Richardson would be replacing Barak Obama as this year's graduation speaker. After the doc finished, it was time to announce the player of year. To nobody's surprise, Texas hurler Cat Osterman took home the award for the third time in her career.

Back on the bus after the ceremonies came to a close, we were notified that a Tennessee player came up to a couple of the NU players to ask if Northwestern was located in Iowa. Some might consider this a fair question, but I find it hard to believe seeing as how the Cats already played the Lady Volunteers earlier this season!

Coach decided to come up with a sweet way to end the night by taking everyone on the bus out for ice cream. After already devouring a full slab of ribs only 3 hours ealier, one might think it would be tough to down some dessert. But Coach Drohan was up to the task as she easy polished off the root beer float she ordered. (Please keep in mind Coach actually encouraged us to champion her digestive powers.)

Now we're back at the hotel and we've just been joined by WNUR Sports Directors Ray Garcia and Ryan Morton. They just completed a 13-hour trek on the road that began in Chicago this morning. And Dan and I think we had a long day...

Please check back for more updates, included a picture gallery and possible video footage of today's ceremonies. Remember pregame coverage for the Cats first WCWS game in 20 years begins at 5:40 central time tomorrow. Catch all the action through the airwaves on 89.3 fm or on the web via


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