St. Patty's Day In Salt Lake City*

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Going on holiday is so much bueno for so many reasons, but the best are the ones you never expect. I had the most amazing week here in Salt Lake City - the snow, the trails, the mountains, the views - but today everything was winding down with the realization that it was time to head back to DC tomorrow. I had a good day on the trails of Snowbird and drove to SLC mid-afternoon to check in to the Marriott, content to spend St. Patty's Day in the hotel bar with some dinner, March Madness and some non-Utah, full strength beer. But a funny thing happened on my way to ordering the second round. I noticed none-other than The Boston Globe's Bob Ryan on the other side of the bar.

Yep..No Buzz for 'Toine

"Holy Shit! Is that Bob Ryan?" I asked the guy next to me. He turned out to be English and totally clueless, but the bartender confirmed what I already knew. The master was holding court in Pitchers at the Marriott in SLC. Ryan was in town to cover the NCAA regional, or so I found out when I worked up the courage to go talk to him. It wasn't easy. It's never easy to talk to people you admire (I wanted to smack Joumana Kidd too) but when you're presented with the chance to do so, you have to take advantage. So I did. I spent the majority of my time grilling him on the Globe's coverage of my beloved C's (he thinks they get plenty of coverage, which they may, but it's not in depth enough for my tastes), Danny Ainge (he likes him, he really does), the upcoming draft(the C's like Adam Morrison but have no chance at getting him), Ryan Gomes (love all around), Paul Pierce (his best season ever), the Wally trade (thumbs up), and the C's roster (he loveloveloves West and Gomes). I just soaked it all up and tried to get a word in edgewise. And I did. Ryan agreed with me that Rudy Gay is eerily reminiscent of Reggie Lewis and that the C's are headed in the right direction. He dropped serious knowledge on BC (the team in he was in town covering), the NBA and the world of sports writing. When I was working up the courage to go over and talk to him, Ms. Smith had to remind me that I am a sports writer too. I had forgotten.

What's the Score?

Life is so random sometimes. There is a nurses convention here at the hotel and the group of nurses that I sat next to at the bar were from Montana (who BC will be facing tomorrow). They bought Ryan a beer and he came over to say hello and thanks. One of the ladies had a copy of The Missoulian which they gave to Ryan, a move only a media geek like me could appreciate. Ryan spent the rest of the night reading it. I spent the rest of the night drinking, watching basketball and geeking out over what just happened. Ryan had people coming up to him all night and he was incredibly gracious and polite to each and every person, giving everyone all the time they wanted. My respect for him grew by leaps and bounds, and that's saying something. Bob Ryan is the reason I wanted to become a sports writer. After meeting him, I have no problem writing that last sentence.

This has been one of my best vacations ever. Going home tomorrow is going to be such a letdown.

Photos by Ms. Smith

* I'm about three beers, a glass of wine and a few vodka drinks into the night at this point.

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mgrass said:

That's a cool run-in. Glad you're having a great trip.

Glenn said:

Great post, great pics.

Jillian said:

Must have been the vodka. . . but Missoula and the nurses, are likely offended by your spelling of their paper...

Melina said:

Haha, I thought the same thing Jillian said. I thought it was some French media mag or something until I clicked on the link.

I hope your transition time to back home isn't as much of a letdown as you think it will be, but everyone knows what you mean and how you have to go through it.

Awesome pics by Ms. Smith!

Gorilla said:

You forgot to say next time you see Albom, tell him everyone in Detroit thinks he's a douche.