Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hot Hoops in Hollywood

Okay, so maybe not actually in Hollywood, but we were in LA at Loyola Marymount University... LA doesn't start with an 'H' though, so you'll have to pardon my stretch to "Hot Hoops in Hollywood".  (If you're confused, see my Hot Hoops in Hot Springs post for the origins of that phrase.)

This past weekend, John and I went to LA to watch North Texas in a basketball tournament at LMU.  Other than the trip out to LA and losing 1 of the 3 games, we had a fabulous time.

To start... our experience traveling to LA was a bit less than ideal.  We boarded the plane on time (10 PM), but about 10 minutes before we should have been in the air, one of the flight crew came on the speakers to tells us that the first officer had been injured in a car accident on his way to the airport for our flight.  (Why they boarded the plane is beyond us... unless they were just trying to make the flight count as an "on-time" boarding) They had to bring in a replacement first officer.  Some noted that given the car accident, we probably didn't want the original first officer anyway. 

They allowed people to get off the plane, but we didn't want to lug our stuff back off, so we just slept on the plane (most people got off, and we were able to stretch out).  Before we stretched out though, we chatted with an odd fellow who was a bit pompous (He always flies Delta and never flies in the economy section, but he Needed to be back in LA that morning).  He's a dermatologist, who very obviously wanted to imply that he has famous patients. It was strange conversation that I won't go into in detail, but I will share the advice he gave to me and John after discovering that we are newly weds - To Me: "Stay Sexy"; To John: "Keep Performing". 

The plane didn't actually leave until about 1 AM (2.5 hours late).  When we finally got to the airport, we went out to meet the rental car bus, since all the rental car places are offsite at LAX.  We waited for 45 minutes, watching several rental buses come by multiple times, but never a Thrifty bus, which is what we were waiting for.  John tried calling Thrifty, but all we could get through to was the national number, and we (both John and the national Thrifty office) couldn't get anyone at the local office to answer the phone. Finally, a Hertz driver who had seen us on multiple passes to pick people up for Hertz stopped and asked who we were waiting for.  He was kind enough to give us a lift because he felt sorry us and didn't have any Hertz passengers at the time.  (He got a nice tip for his generosity.)

When we got to Thrifty, there was indeed someone behind the counter... why he wasn't answering the phone, we don't know, but we did ask why the bus that was idling outside never came to get us when we were waiting for almost an hour.  His response: "The bus is running to the airport every 15 minutes... [pregnant pause] but the drive is on lunch break right now".  It took longer than it should, given that he had no other customers, to get our car and get on our way, but the bus still didn't move the whole time we were there.  Why was the bus driver on "lunch" break for at least 1.25 hours (and that's just what we can confirm)?  Why did the driver take a lunch break when late flight customers who've already paid hadn't been picked up yet (we booked through a deal with American, so they knew which flight we were on)?  Why didn't they even apologize or ask how we got there without the bus?  No Clue.

Moral of the Story: Thrifty = Bad; Hertz = Good.  Never rent from Thrifty.  I've never rented from Hertz before, but they're getting my business next chance I get.

We finally got to my brother's condo around 4 AM (without all the delays, we originally expected to get to his place at 1 AM).  Needless to say, we were exhausted.

The rest of the trip went much more smoothly.  We watched a 90-45 victory for North Texas in the first game on Friday.  On Saturday, we enjoyed the Baylor victory on TV before heading out to the only UNT loss of the weekend (Lost to Columbia, who I now hope wins the Ivy League Championship because we were not expecting that one).  Then, on Sunday, we watched a great game with the host school, Loyola Marymount.  UNT lead almost the whole game, but it was relatively close and a good game throughout.  LMU has beat ranked opponents this year, so they were a formidable opponent.  I also enjoyed spending time with my brother in the evenings in LA, and he even came to the Saturday game.

Shoot-Around at half time for the last game - I took this because I decided that I needed at least one picture from our trip. - Note the small crowd (Only Loyola's game on Friday had a decent turnout - though there were more people on our side so it wasn't quite as dismal as this photo looks), and note the odd small area with wood bleachers on top.
The other big excitement of our trip was in the final game when I got warned by a campus police officer - Yes, you read right: Me, not John. - Like many people do, I took advantage of the quiet to yell a loud, quick "AWoo" right as one of the LMU players was trying to shoot a free throw.  No words, so it wasn't profanity or taunting, which I could understand people getting upset over - I don't like that either.  But people do what I did all the time, particularly when your crowd is small because you can't make much of an impact to distract the shooter with a sustained yell if there's only a couple people.  Several other people did the same thing during that game both before and after me, and they weren't warned by the police.  For some reason, this police officer just decided that a fan making noise at a sporting event was inappropriate when I did it.  I was obviously confused, and no one around me understood it either.  I didn't press the matter with the officer though because I definitely didn't want to get kicked out.  I think John was proud.

To top off the end of trip, when we got to the airport on Sunday, we discovered that the team was on our flight back to Dallas.  We got to chat with several of the coaches and players, which was great fun.  Apparently, while I was in the ladies room, John felt the need to tell the head coach about my encounter with the campus police at the game.  The team was great - Fun to watch on the court and very nice in our interactions at the airport - a few players come up to us to thank us for making the trip.  (Though I did get a head shake from the head coach for wearing my Baylor hoodie when I got cold before we boarded the plane)

All in All, a fun time in LA. 

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