March 27, 2014

Publisher's Notebook: March Madness creates orphans

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — It’s called March Madness for a reason. Across the land, people are sitting on the edge of their seats as pressure-packed basketball games play out on the screen. Some people actually get to attend the games in person. But I don’t know any of those fortunate souls, so I can’t vouch for that fact.

Very little work gets done on game days. Studies show this intense stretch of tournament basketball games costs billions of dollars in lost worker productivity. But who’s counting? If our team is playing and the universally-hated Duke is losing, we are watching, no matter if the vehicle misses a few parts as it travels down the assembly line.

And the kids and grandkids become orphans.

That fact became clear to me Sunday during the nerve-wracking game between the Kentucky Wildcats and undefeated Wichita State. I was downstairs in my man cave glued to the television watching as the teams battled back and forth in the best game so far in this March Madness.

Then, my attention was disrupted by two little heads peering at me through the stair rails. It was my grandkids, Piper and Luka, who live next door. They are 5 and 4, and will one day be fervent Wildcat fans. But on this day, they just wanted to play.

According to Piper, she and her brother had abandoned their home because it had gotten too noisy and no one was paying them any attention.

“Daddy and Mommy are watching the basketball game and are jumping up and down and are so loud,” Piper said, in a sincere, innocent voice. “So we left.”

“Uh, huh,” Luka agreed. He’s always looking for adventure, whether it’s with his sister, his superhero friends or with a couple of sticks out in the yard.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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