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Opinion >  Column

Paul Turner: Tips for talking to our NCAA vistors

Later this month, Spokane will have an opportunity to do one of the things it does best: Host visitors from out of town in a friendly way.

That’s because, as you have no doubt heard, our city will be the site of games involving four of the schools in the NCAA women’s basketball tournament Sweet Sixteen.

Assuming you aren’t a shut-in or busy in the woods carving out your private Northwest Redoubt, there’s a chance you will run into fans of those teams while they are here.

You will want to be prepared. So here are a few conversation themes you can pursue with visiting backers of the 16 teams that might eventually wind up playing in Spokane.

Notre Dame: 1. “Here in Spokane, we’re familiar with the idea of a church school excelling at basketball.” 2. “Did you know that the kid who played the title role in ‘Rudy’ had a connection to the Spokane area?” (His mother, Patty Duke, lived in North Idaho.) 3. “Whatever became of the Studebaker factory in South Bend?”

Cal State Northridge: 1. “What do you remember of the 1994 earthquake?” 2. “So do you miss the Big Sky Conference?” 3. “Do you still play home games in the Matadome?”

South Dakota State: 1. “I voted for George McGovern.” 2. “I voted for Richard Nixon, but I should have voted for George McGovern.” 3. “Ever run into people who think Mount Rushmore is in North Dakota?”

Villanova: 1. “You’re not still sore about that loss to Eastern Washington in the 2010 national football semi-finals, are you?” 2. “Just how many colleges are there in Philadelphia?” 3. “Wasn’t Nova the name of Charlton Heston’s quiet but nubile mate in ‘The Planet of the Apes’?”

DePaul: 1. “Isn’t Blue Demons sort of a funny name for a church school team?” 2. “Didn’t the actor John C. Reilly go to DePaul?” 3. “Can you live in Chicago and disdain Chicago style pizza?”

Oklahoma: 1. “So let me get this straight. You’re saying the farmer and the cowman should be friends?” 2. “One of our longtime weathercasters here in Spokane went to college in Oklahoma and once saw a major tornado.” 3. “So you’ve got an NBA team. Big deal.”

Texas A&M: 1. “You’ll hear no Aggie jokes from me.” 2. “Do you bring cowbells to basketball games, too?” 3. “What does it take to be considered part of the counterculture at A&M?”

Drake: 1. “Don’t worry, I know the school isn’t named after the singer.” 2. “Some people get confused about Iowa and Idaho, but not me.” 3. “Are you old enough to remember when you could get home delivery of the Des Moines newspaper everywhere in Iowa, or close to it anyway?”

LSU: 1. “So does Baton Rouge mean Red Stick?” 2. “Does anyone ever talk about Huey Long or Broderick Crawford anymore?” 3. “I used to pretend to be Pistol Pete Maravich in the driveway.”

Central Michigan: 1. “Didn’t the actor Jeff Daniels go there?” 2. “No offense, but Mount Pleasant sounds like the name of a town in a ‘60s sitcom.” 3. “Does Central Michigan count as a directional school?”

Ohio State: 1. “Have you ever seen the movie version of ‘Goodbye, Columbus’?” 2. “Are you tired of beating Michigan in football?” 3. “No offense, but Ohio’s state flag looks like a pennant for a Boy Scout troop.”

George Washington: 1 “Do you sort of wish you lived out here in the state named after our first president instead of in the city named after him?” 2. “Are you happy with ‘Colonials’ as a nickname?” 3. “Fun fact: We have a town in Washington called George.”

Green Bay: 1. “It’s nice that Jerry Kramer finally got the recognition he deserved.” 2. “Spokane is actually farther north than Green Bay.” 3. “So was jettisoning the ‘UW–Green Bay’ name purely a marketing move?”

Minnesota: 1. “We have lakes, too.” 2. “I’ve spent years of my life at the Twin Cities airport.” 3. “So have your feelings about Garrison Keillor changed at all?”

Oregon: 1. “Are all Oregon alums in certain fields required to do a post-grad residency in Spokane?” 2. “Does the Nike godfather care about women’s basketball?” 3. “Stop stealing Spokane coaches.”

Seattle: 1. “Is a Redhawk an actual bird?” 2. “If you’ve made it this far in the tournament, you must be totally tripping.” 3. “Welcome to Spokane. Enjoy your stay. We relate to underdogs here.”

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