There will always be a soft spot in my heart for Jim Boeheim and the Syracuse Men’s Basketball Team.  Growing up in basketball-crazed Massachusetts during the Red Auerbach, Bill Russell and John Havlicek days of the Boston Celtics, I followed Jim Boeheim and Dave Bing during their playing years at Syracuse, and I returned to Upstate New York in the late 70s when Coach Boeheim took the reins of the Orangemen during the early years of the Big East Conference that I followed with passion.

Alas, this will be the first year in my lifetime that I will not be glued to the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The absence of a tournament this year is not an excuse to substitute the hours I would have spent watching games with other ‘video activity.’  I will spend more time bicycling and hiking the nearby mountainous desert trails.  My well-being peaks when I hike with Mrs. tVM.

I read throughout the day.  My last conscious act every evening is to turn off the lamp after placing the book I’ve been reading on my nightstand – currently Peter Heller’s 2012 novel The Dog Stars, a post-apocalyptic tale of survival in Colorado.  I plan to follow it with Steven Pressfield’s new novel 36 Righteous Men.

Without the tournament, I will read more, often enjoying the warm Arizona spring while the fruit trees bloom in the back yard.  I love the smell of orange blossoms.  The hummingbirds do, too.

And I will write more… Since the publication of The Faith of Job earlier this month, I’m working on a new manuscript – non-fiction – and I’ve reformatted all Kindle editions of my previous books making them – I hope – more readable and consistent one to the other, and each now has a ‘linked’ table of contents to assist with electronic navigation.

I rue the loss of athletic competition for the participants, but not necessarily the spectators.  For those of us who watch – or used to watch – there is a high side.  We’ve the opportunity to replace our regular dose of game-spectating with other good and positive things.  You can start by making the transition from spectator to participant and that may be as simple as taking a 60-minute walk.

When you are not participating, try reading a book.  Your well-being will flourish as you expand your mind.

Mitakuye Oyasin.

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