The hockey, at least from the Big Red's perspective, was nearly the exact opposite of last year. Cornell, for whatever reason, just didn't have it against Harvard in the semifinal, losing 6-1 - and the one was deep into garbage time. On the other hand, the Big Red won the third place game 3-0 over Colgate, which allowed them to clinch a third trip to the NCAA Championship in four years, and their seventh in the thirteen seasons I've followed the team. That said, I didn't stick around for the consolation match. Various logistical factors combined to make this an easy call. Check-out time was 11 a.m., meaning I'd have five and a half hours to kill until the opening face-off. Given that lengthy interval, there's a high probability my travels would have led me to a blackjack table, thus putting more money at risk. I did not already have a ticket for the Saturday session, so there was no concern about flushing money down the drain there. I'd seen rave reviews about the RPI-TV webcast, so I could still see the games in good quality for only $10. I had done a lot of walking on Friday (likely more than three miles) and my legs were a bit sore. And I was working on short sleep on Saturday, so getting back early meant I wasn't quite as fatigued on the drive home, and could take a nap when I arrived.
The official attendance figures (tickets sold) for both days were roughly unchanged from 2011. From the webcast, the number of warm bodies in seats for the Union v. Harvard final looked to be around 1,500. I only recall hearing one "Let's go Union!" chant during the game. Neither school had a band for the final, and Harvard, in accordance with long-standing tradition, had almost no fans to even speak of. During the presentation of the Whitelaw Cup to Union, no mention was made of hoping to see the fans back in Atlantic City in 2013. I don't know what, if anything, to make of that.
There was certainly some fun had after the loss on Friday. I followed a couple of friends back to their hotel so they could change shirts, removing any visual evidence of allegiance to a team that had just been taken behind the woodshed and badly beaten. We then joined some others at Jezebel's just off the casino floor at Trump. At this point, somebody asked me why I still had my Cornell sweatshirt on, and whether it was because I couldn't change out of it. It suddenly dawned on me - that was true. It wouldn't have mattered even if we had made a pit stop at the Tropicana, because every shirt and sweatshirt I brought with me had the word "Cornell" somewhere on it. After that, we went to the "Irish Pub" on St. James Place (and yes, there were a couple of Monopoly jokes at this). An appropriate place to drink, especially after midnight, as the calendar had then turned to March 17. The place itself was nice, and our waitress earned points by noticing that the beer I'd ordered wasn't the one she initially put in front of me - and correcting that error, even after I'd taken a sip. We ended up staying there for a while, and when it came time to leave, it was late enough that I simply packed it in and headed back to the Trop - as opposed to following the two friends who headed into Trump to hit the craps table.
There's one more anecdote of note and importance to relate. All along the Boardwalk, there exist these rickshaw-like rolling chairs. If you wish, you can essentially pay a guy to do your walking for you. There are many ways that an operator of such a rolling chair can advertise his services. If it's after 10 p.m. on a Friday evening and a group is comprised entirely of males, it seems these guys like to push the strip club option - and they do so with the three words in the title. This happened twice. In the first instance, after the guy called out "titties and wings," Rich responded with "on the same human?" The second time, I was with two other people, and we simply politely declined; still, the guy walked alongside us, and we were regaled with a sermon on the importance of treating all your customers with respect and dignity...no matter how drunk they may be, and even if your profession is the sale of illicit narcotics.
Next up for the Big Red is a matchup with Michigan in the Midwest Regional in Green Bay. There's a chance I might be out there for that, but I'd need another big piece to fall into place to consider making it. And even if that happens, I would probably be driving, given the expense of flights on such short notice. On the other hand, maybe I should stay away - Cornell is 0-2 this year when I attend in person...