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Spring Break, March 1978, Ruby, Mac and his buxom friend, Annie, Andy, and I pile into Mac’s white LeMans with the red vinyl roof and hit I-75 for the 18-hour pilgrimage from East Lansing to Daytona in service to undergraduate bliss: beer, booze, and bongs. March 18 dawns, and with it the prospect of a berth for our beloved Spartans in the NCAA’s Final Four. Jay Vincent, Earvin (already Magic to most of the world but he was our Earvin), and Greg “Special K” Kelser, et al.; how can we lose? We are giddy at the prospect of the debauchery of spring break spooling out with a national championship semi-final game—the cherry to top it off the next weekend.

First, however, we wonder, in the days before smart phones and nav systems: where will we watch Kentucky’s demise?

Tipoff beckons as we find a watering hole in Macon, Georgia, our invincible youth and bravado-cum-naïveté inuring us to the place’s John Deere and Confederate States of America vibe. Ruby becomes our designated driver even before the term would find cultural favor, while the rest of us imbibe countless goblets of beers priced at a mere 33 cents a glass, a pleasant surprise given our limited pool of cash. We munch on bottomless bowls of Goldfish as the back and forth on the hardwood unwinds like a slow motion heavyweight fight. Jud fumes and coaches, substitutes and seethes as the bespectacled Joe B. Hall matches his every chess move. Wildcats by 2; Spartans by 3; tied again; the tension high as we rant at the TV hanging above above the bar… more beer!

We pile into our mid-afternoon sunbaked car, cursing his name; six for six from the free throw line in crunch time to nail our coffin shut, 52-49 the final. The road sustains our glum mood until the magic of the state line transforms the landscape to one strewn with majestic palm trees: Florida, our collegiate Holy Grail.

In a week, with just enough money left for gas, Twinkies, and Mountain Dew, dwindling pot, a broken backgammon set, and a 51 card deck, we turn north towards Michigan’s dirty, crusted snow, patches of black ice, and high temps in the teens. Fuck you, Kyle Macy… you broke our young hearts.

Dan Farkas

Dr. Daniel H. Farkas is a molecular pathologist who has published extensively and spoken on the topic internationally. Dan Farkas, on the other hand, is an itinerant New Yorker living just outside The D. His joys in life come from creative writing, photography, the music of his youth, his wife and kids, and sometimes the NY Rangers. #LGM

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