Don't pick Duke to win, for Grandma's sake

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By Brad Spencer

Sports Editor

“What do you think about that Charlie Sheen?” my grandmother asked me on Sunday evening during our bi-monthly phone conversation. She’s 87 now, still lives in a little town in central Illinois.

“He’s nuts, I think,” she answered her own question. She does that a lot, but it’s OK. This came right after we contemplated the devastation in Japan. We jump from Japan to Charlie Sheen in less than half a breath.     

We talk — though, she does most of the talking — about a great many things in these convos, all in the span of about 15-20 minutes. Gas prices, her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, Michael Jordan, the price of milk, the Bulls, the Cubs and, of course, the weather. She had new windows put in recently, and “Oh boy, do they look great!”

“Did you see the tribute at halftime of the Bulls game for the 1991 Bulls? It was so wonderful to see those boys again, Scotti Pippin, Horace Grant. Jordan mentioned Johnny Red Kerr and oh, did I nearly cry. Bill Cartwright and B.J. Armstrong weren’t there but it was great to hear their names. That was something else. What are you paying for gas these days?”

Grandma is bouncing off the walls now that the NCAA Tournament is beginning. Loves her basketball, can’t get enough of it. Doesn’t like Duke. Likes to see Duke lose. Cheers for whomever Duke is playing. Go Hampton!  

“What’s the deal with the NFL, can’t they just get it together? The teams make so much money and the players make so much money, but the fans suffer.”

Yeah, I know Grandma. It’s — 

“Do you think Duke is going to win it? Gawd, I hope they don’t. I’m so glad you called.”

I remind her to send me her tournament bracket, snail mail of course — she doesn’t have a computer. “Try to send a smaller version this time,” I slip in a quick jab. One year she mailed the broadsheet of a newspaper, the bracket perfectly filled out. Up on my kitchen wall it looked like a huge family tree.  

“I’ll have someone print one off the internet for me,” she says. She knows about the internet. Why is that surprising to me? She started this conversation out by asking me what I thought about Charlie Sheen.     

“Oh, before we go, how’s the weather up there? Is it supposed to warm up? They say it’s going to warm up around here. I’m looking forward to it warming up. So tired of the cold. It’s been so nice talking with you. Bye now.”

My pick? Kansas, but really anyone other than Duke.  


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Bob Wozniak from Oak Park  

Posted: March 24th, 2011 4:49 PM

Love it. Grandma Spencer sounds like a hoot -- and I definitely agree: anyone but Duke!

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