A Journey Of 1,200 Miles And 10,000 Yards

Last Thursday on 5 hours sleep we set off for parts unknown. This was to be our tour of 5 college campuses in 5 days. One Thursday, two Friday and the last two on Monday with a bit of rest in between.

D had only been to 2 other campuses and was a few weeks from starting his senior year. It was time. In fact this was the only time we could fit in between his baseball schedule and soccer tryouts. He had made the contacts and set up the meetings with admissions folk and baseball coaches. ( For those of you who do not know, D is looking to play ball in college.) My wife found places for us to stay. I just had to show up. And drive.

I did not drive the entire 1235 miles of our adventure. My wife took a two hour shift on the way out and my son took a similar one on the road back. I figure I only drove 955 of the miles. Did I mention that I HATE long trips in the car? Normally after 3 hours I am ready to put a gun to my head. The obligations of parenthood.

On top of that five days with just the three of us in such tight quarters was more togetherness than we had shared in almost a year. Overall, despite a spat or two I think we did pretty well. D was exposed to a variety of liberal arts colleges and college baseball coaches. At least he now has some things to think about. The process starts in earnest soon with him working on his applications and required essays while we work on the financial aid forms. Small colleges provide a great teacher-student ratio but at a premium cost.

For fun we managed two rounds of Frisbee golf. We discovered two great courses. Each was better than those we have played at home. Each was over 5,000 yards and challenging. The first was in Cleveland at a park that was part Lake Erie beach. Some long holes, lots of trees to circumvent and pretty scenery. 21 holes.

D is phenomenal with a Frisbee. He can throw 50% longer than I can. The good part of this game is that people of all skill levels can play together. I even beat him on one hole.

I also faced a few of those awkward moments that liberal suburbanites sometimes encounter when they find themselves in poor neighborhoods where the skin color of most of the people is several shades darker than mine. I try to not care and feel safe…and yet. Our experiences were all good and renewed my faith in people.

The first moment was on the way to the first course. Our hotel had steered us wrong. We stopped at a gas station for directions. (Yes, I try occasionally to break the male stereotype.) A man in line, missing a few teeth, driving a beat up old car and African American was the one who set us straight. He had a wide smile and was clearly happy to help. He stayed friendly through my requests to repeat the directions several times.

Another moment was on the way to and at the second Frisbee golf court. We were on the south-east side of Indianapolis. We had found the course on the internet but had no idea what the neighborhood was like. Run down homes that clearly a few decades ago had been quite nice. The course was in a large park. The people around us were mostly African American and Hispanic. I had that twinge of concern but we ventured on. What we saw were families having Bar-B-Qs and picnics, kids playing basketball and a heated game of volleyball.

What a find from a Frisbee golf perspective. The most fun course I have ever played. Long, challenging, and scenic. On Hole Three you started on one side of a valley and threw to the other. Hole Four took you back. One hole was over 500 yards and curved around a wooded area so you could not even see where the hole was from the starting point. We had a ball. This stop broke up six hours of driving. Unfortunately the sun was going down as we started the back nine and we had to hustle. We still had 90 minutes of driving.

Long story, long trip. Yet just the beginning of the journey to college for D and life without D for us.

About 48facets
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