Home Visit

October 10th, 2011 by akuzniew

I flew to Milwaukee yesterday to use the first few days of the Columbus Day break to visit my 94-year-old mother in her nursing home. When I booked the tickets two months ago, I little expected that I’d be entering the world of excitement that Milwaukee became yesterday.

Even en route from the airport, on a warm day drivers had their windows open and were saluting the Bewers at stoplights, car to car. Then the game began, and the home team came from behind in the six-run fifth inning. I watched the last few innings of the game with some old friends at a sports pub/restaurant. We were at least a generation older than most of the other patrons; and it was fun to watch the elation of the young folks when the Brewers won the first game. Of course, many of them weren’t even alive in 1982, when the Brewers of the American League lost the World Series to the Cardinals. This year, that rivalry comes back in the NLCS.

To top the day off, the Packers came from behind to top Atlanta (the city that took the Braves from Milwaukee.) Those of with long memories slept last night with smiles on our faces.

Robert Frost reminds us that “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” Yesterday was a golden day for some of us: family-wise, my mom is doing better than she was during my last visit; and sports-wise, needless to say. A great day to be in Milwaukee!

The Old Apple Tree

June 3rd, 2011 by akuzniew

 

The old apple tree is no more.

For about 160 years, it had graced the hillside as the library, Hogan Center, and Smith Hall grew up around it. A determined survivor of the orchard that was one of the components of the farm upon which the College was planted, it had become increasingly decrepit during the past decade. Heavy wires bound the main branches to each other, and a sturdy metal prop supported a projecting limb. Still, it bloomed every spring with an exquisite show of blossoms, and produced edible apples in September. It must have been one of the trees that occasioned the line “All they eat is applesauce” in the Boston College song that derided Holy Cross. [HC students retaliated with a song using the BC melody to deride “the high school on the hill….  where HC dumps its swill!]

The tree came down this week, sacrificed to the grand renovation that will enhance the space between Dinand, Smith, and Hogan. Already today, machines were removing large chunks of concrete from the area to make room for grass and a beautiful, bucolic space in the midst of our campus. But the Old Apple, the grand survivor of over a century and a half of winters, generous supplier of beauty in the spring and of apples in fall, wasn’t destined to last forever. She carried the signs of her mortality more clearly every year.

She will be missed.

Fortunately, our grounds people were able to take grafts, and we may look forward to her daughters gracing our campus in the future. That would be a great link with the past and a living connection, at one remove, with the memorable times of Fitton and Fenwick and Mulledy.

Today, one ancient apple tree remains, on the southeast lawn of Clark Hall. I visited it today; it is showing its age, serving as a reminder that we live in a world that is passing away. But, thank God, we have memories of beautiful things that are no more.

March 4

March 4th, 2011 by akuzniew

Our students are rushing around today to attend to the remaining odds and ends before departing for Spring Break. A few of them–my students who have studied Abraham Lincoln–received my email this morning reminding them that this is the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. The Library of Congress website has a rich and wonderful link through “Today in History” to the images and drama of that day.

Of course, we read history retrospectively; but those who witnessed the inauguration in 1861 or who read about it in the press, had to experience Lincoln’s presidency prospectively. None of them could have imagined the turmoil of the next four years, or the “new birth of freedom” that transformed the nation under Lincoln’s wise guidance.

Among those who couldn’t have imagined the immediate future was Fr. Anthony Ciampi. He was then in his second term as rector/president of Holy Cross–the president who, up to now, was longest in service in that office (eleven years) after Father Brooks. Fr. Ciampi had helped to salvage the future of the College after the fire of 1852;  in 1857 he returned to complete the restoration of the school. We owe a lot to him.

But we also owe him accuracy of memory. He was not an admirer of Lincoln–at least, not at first. Early in April of 1861, little more than a week before the attack on Fort Sumter, he wrote to his provincial that a late-season snowstorm was “as bad as Abe Lincoln to this country.” Whom did this transplanted Roman support in the Election of 1860? History is silent on that point. Did he come around to Lincoln’s point of view? I hope so, but I haven’t searched his documents for evidence.

What we do know is that Ciampi was succeeded in August of 1861 by Fr. James Clark, a West Point graduate and classmate of Robert E. Lee. Fr. Clark succeeded in gaining a charter for the College at last; and he had a well dug uphill from Fenwick Hall to provide water in case of another fire. Fr. Clark backed the Union in time of war; but on the night in April of 1865 while the students were celebrating victory on the front Fenwick lawn, Clark spent the evening alone, walking slow circles in the dark, behind the building. Why? My presumption is, that he was remembering, and praying for, former classmates and comrades who had perished in the great struggle. He would also, I think, have said a prayer for Robert E. Lee and his adjustment to the circumstances attending military defeat.

By the time Fr. Ciampi returned for his third term as rector/president (1867-73), the reputation of Lincoln was secure.

Stranded!

December 5th, 2010 by akuzniew

It is 6:30 a.m. at the airport in Charlotte, NC. All around me, prone on the floor, are members of our men’s basketball team and even our trainer. We’ve been in Charlotte since 1 a.m.

We departed Winston-Salem yesterday afternoon on schedule after a hard-fought game at Wake Forest. Snow was in the air and on the ground–a couple of inches of the sort of wet snow that clings to the bare branches of the trees and transforms surroundings into a true winter wonderland. We bussed to the airport at Raleigh-Durham in good time through the weather, but then the trouble started. The snow created a problem for our carrier, U.S. Airways.  Our short flight to Charlotte for a connecting flight to Providence couldn’t leave because the carrier had run out of de-icer. A comedy of errors ensued. We all got off the plane at one point, then re-boarded. Finally, we left four and a half hours late, arriving here at 1 a.m., hours after the flight to PVD had departed. So we have waited through the night.

When we arrived, Airport Security restricted us to the baggage claim area, redolent with the faint but pervasive smell of aviation fuel. The players and coaches took cabs for a while to an all-night restaurant. When they returned, there was general merriment over games of cards. The young men and their coaches stayed in good spirits.

Eventually, security re-opened the airport and here we are, upstairs again. I came up early, when security re-opened at 4, and was lucky to sleep for about an hour in this quiet and relatively dark section of Concourse C. I awoke to find myself in the midst of a basketball dormitory–space for some much needed rest for our Crusaders after their fifth consequitive road game, and an endlessly long night.

The concourse is springing to life now. Flights are beginning to arrive and depart. The newstands and food shops are opening. People hasten back and forth. Our weary student-athletes slumber on. Another night to remember, about Holy Cross, if not at it.

Advent, we always say, is a season of hope. We wait for the coming of the Lord. But early this morning, we also wait for Flight 1588 to Providence.  Three hours to go. In its own small way, this night to be remembered, is another lesson in hope. And patience.

Remembering John Price

October 3rd, 2010 by akuzniew

Hard to believe that two months have passed since my last posting. They’ve been busy months–a trip to Wisconsin for my mother’s 93rd birthday, and teaching responsibilities since the end of August. With three courses and three preparations, plus a tutorial, the football chaplaincy, Mass rotation for the Chaplain’s Office, and the province archives, the days don’t seem to have enough hours.

Yesterday, however, came one of those welcome interruptions that I will remember for as long as I live. In conjunction with Homecoming, our men’s lacrosse team held a reunion to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of John Price and the founding of John’s Brothers as a living memorial to him. There was an alumni game in the morning (which I missed because of the football Team Mass), then a tailgate. After the football game, a tree was planted in his memory here on campus. We then had a memorial Mass in the upper church with about 75 people, followed by a buffet reception with about 175 people at a local restaurant.

As a student, John was a Religious Studies major with a strong sense of dedication to the poor. As a junior, he and his roommates were able to finagle a four-man room with only three occupants. The fourth bed, he said, was for the homeless. Shortly after being named captain-elect of lacrosse, he was struck by a train and suffered a major head injury. He lingered in the hospital for several days and then succombed. The College sent the entire team, together with Coach Mike McCaffrey and his wife Sharon, to Baltimore for the wake and funeral. Memories of those days remain vivid in our hearts and memories.

While John lingered between life and death, there were team meetings that included fervent prayers for John. There were nightly Masses for him in the Mary Chapel. And I remember being with John’s parents and siblings that last morning when the doctor came in to tell us that he was fading fast. If they were to harvest his organs (John was an organ donor), they would have to act immediately. “We’re going to roll him past this conference room, ” the doctor said. “Keep your heads down; he’s not a pretty sight.” So we bowed our heads in prayer as the cart rolled by. Later, the trip to Baltimore with John’s teammates concluded the most intense experience I have had with any of our teams. There was a buffet supper for us the first night at John’s high school–Loyola Blakefield. Frs. Brian Linnane (now president at Loyola Baltimore) and Michael Ford (now minister of the Jesuit community at BC) came down from Holy Cross for the funeral Mass. After the funeral, the Price family fed all of us at a reception at their home.

That summer, Mike McCaffrey came up with the idea of teaming with Big Brother/Big Sisters to set up a program in John’s memory. We met with HC alum Ben Ticho who heads BB/BS in central Mass., and the idea of John’s Brothers took off. Since then, every member of the team and their coaches have been paired with a boy at the Canterbury Street School. In that time, the blessing associated with remembering John has flowed both to the boys and to their “big brothers.”

Last night’s event brought so much of all this into focus. Coach Adam Pascal, who succeded Mike McCaffrey as head coach, made the evening a mandatory team event. In this way, student/athletes who never knew John Price had an opportunity to become familiar with the story and to meet persons associated with John and the origins of the program. John’s parents came up from Baltimore; his brothers Arthur and Sebastian were also present.

The formal program included remarks from the two coaches, from Marc Wilson who was John’s roommate at the time of his death, and from Ben Ticho. Arthur responded on behalf of the Price family.  Melanie Perrault from BB/BS served as MC.

There were tears in many of our eyes as Coach McCaffrey and Marc Wilson described those events of May, 2000. Ben Ticho stressed to impact of John’s Brothers on the work of BB/BS. Ten years ago there were something like 250 big brothers working in the program; today the number is something like 1200–a large number of whom are student/athletes at Holy Cross.

It was an evening, as I said, to remember. Another reason to fall in love with Holy Cross and what it represents.

Summer’s Passage

August 6th, 2010 by akuzniew

I often remark that summer passes more swiftly than the other seasons; but, come to think, they all pass quickly except for the season of dirty snow in February and early March. This is true in my role as athletic chaplain. The wait seems endless for a team’s season to begin; then it seems to go by in a flash. It’s also true on the academic side: September moves at a stately pace; by November, we’re forging foward at full speed. With those thoughts as context, I find myself looking back gratefully and a little wistfully at this summer we’re still in. For us on the academic calendar, it’s about over. Passport students are already on campus; the football team returns in two days. So, while the memories are still strong, a few may be of interest to readers of this blog.

At first, summer was about talks, reunions, new connections. It was my privilege to host Mark Shriver ’86 when he returned to accept an honorary degree and deliver the commencement address. In the summer of 1985, I traveled to Poland and the Soviet Union with Mark and his classmate Dick Burke; reminiscing with them about that trip was part of the fun. Graduation day was glorious, and Mark added to the occasion with a talk that captured the spirit and content of Jesuit education with inspiration and humor.

A few days later, it was my turn. Closing out nine years of membership on the board of trustees of Cheverus High School in Portland ME,  I was asked by their president (Bill Campbell, S.J. ’87) to be the speaker. It was a grand occasion, downtown in the elegant Merrill Auditorium, with the 50-year graduates recognized at the beginning of the ceremony. Shortly thereafter, at the invitation of their planning committee, I offered Mass for the 25-year reunion Class of 1985. It was great to be with those alumni and former students in prayer, socializing, and table fellowship. At the mid-point of their professional careers, they remain stalwart Crusaders and a credit to alma mater. Finally, I subbed for Fr. McFarland in giving the address at the closing of Gateways on June 22. It’s a lot of fun to forumlate the traditions and patterns of Holy Cross and to pass them along to incoming students and their parents. Their enthusiasm for the project that lies before them is contagious.

And, of course, travel. There was a weekend in June at the country home in Maine of Joe O’Donnell ’66 and his wife Jet. Highlights included some excellent meals and a trip to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. At the end of June, the senior Scouts and leaders from my old troop in Milwaukee spent two nights in Healy Hall. We had a campus tour, went for a swim at the Hart Center, and also spent the better part of a day visiting Old Ironsides and the Freedom Trail in Boston. En route to Wisconsin and a visit with my mother, I stopped in upstate New York for a few nights with old friends. Fishing was on the agenda, and the traditional concert with fireworks by the New York Philharmonic at Bethel Woods on July 3rd.

After a few days of visiting Ma and old friends in Milwaukee, it was all about fishing. We were a party of four. Tom L, who bought and still heads my dad’s business, had me as his best man just before I entered the Jesuits. Tom P, engineer at the Bradley Company, got married the Saturday after I was ordained and he and Judy had me preside at their wedding. Both their weddings, but in a different capacity…. Julio, our fourth, is another former Eagle Scout and a fantastic addition to our number. We drove through the night of July 9/10 from Milwaukee to Duluth to the border crossing at International Falls; thence it was three hours of driving in Canada along the beautiful east shores of The Lake of the Woods, to Dogtooth Lake, not far from Kenora.

For a number of years, we did fly-in weeks in that part of northwestern Ontario. That was a kick, especially taking off and landing on the water and then spending a week comparatively isolated from the modern world and its conveniences. However, it also got expensive, particularly when the US dollar lost much of its edge against the Canadian. So now we boat in to our cabin and revel in a) the modern conveniences of electricity and plumbing; and b) its relative inexpensiveness. We’d get up early to fish until nine or ten, then return to the cabin for a country breakfast of ham or sausage; blueberry pancakes or French toast with maple syrup; or Tom L’s awesome omelets. Then, back to the lake for more action. Fishing provided more than enough of a catch to dine on walleyed pike, wonderfully delicious freshwater fish that Tom P grilled with expertise. Tom L took care of the fish cleaning, for the most part. I did the vegetables and spuds; Julio took the initiative on dish detail. Add a glass of white wine with the meal, and voila! about as close as we get to paradise in this vale of tears. The cabin had a wonderful screened porch where we ate all our meals but one breakfast on a rainy day. And then there were the evenings on the water, with Canadian sunsets that provided me with computer wallpaper for the coming year. The luckiest day was Tuesday, when I was wearing the pink T-shirt from the breast cancer fundraiser of last year’s hockey team. It was a disease that took my sister’s life at a young age, and a cause close to me heart.  Anyway, the shirt brought luck, and we pulled in the walleyes between 25 and 29 inches that day. I should also mention that on my very last cast of the trip, Friday evening, I caught a walleye, ending the day with a smile on my face!

The sorrow of leaving on Saturday morning was compounded by the phone call with news that Dr. Walsh had passed away. Of him, more on another occasion. I will sorely miss his company on the football sidelines and basketball courtside, not to mention the bus rides and meals we shared for so many years.

Finally, last week, over 100 of us New England Jesuits made a common retreat at Fairfield University. It was a week of grace, great to be involved in prayer with so many of my brother Jesuits, reconnecting with them even in the midst of the silence that (mostly) characterized our atmosphere.

So the summer ends, and we turn towards preparing the new academic year. I see by the STAR system of student records that my freshman American Themes course is full; I’ll get that course ready first, then turn to the others. But I do so with warm and happy and grateful memories of a summer that passed all too quickly.

Reconnecting

June 21st, 2010 by akuzniew

I was lucky to spend this past weekend with an old Marquette friend at the country place near Augusta Maine, of Joe O’Donnell ’66 and his wife, Jet. Joe and I met in 1967 through our mutual Marquette friend. They had been roommates together in a study abroad program in Paris during the 1964-65 academic year. Tom introduced us in 1967, when Joe was doing graduate studies at Clark University and I was starting my Ph.D. program at Harvard. On that occasion, Joe brought us over to Holy Cross for Mass. It was my first visit to this campus; and I little dreamed that the future would bring me back for decades of my life.

Joe and I have been in contact only infrequently over the years. He’s been busy with his law practice in Augusta and with his family.  So it was great to get together again, catch up, enjoy some Maine seafood, and appreciate generous hospitality.  The weekend passed quickly with loads of conversation during a Saturday walk through the surrounding area and a trip to the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. That museum is an old favorite of mine, with many paintings from the three generations of Wyeths in addition to permanent and temporary exhibits.  Sunday afternoon, we walked through picturesque Wiscasset and then stopped at the art museum at Bowdoin College, where a severe storm lengthened our visit by an additional quarter hour.

Sunday morning, I concelebrated Mass in Gardiner at St. Joseph’s Church. Missing our campus bell as I do, I was delighted to hear the bell ringing just as we were beginning our worship. Father Frank Morin provided a warm and fraternal welcome. Once again, the feeling of being in church to pray with others was like a homecoming.

Reconnecting: it’s one of the blessings that gets stronger as we add years to our lives. With more memories and experiences, there’s more to talk about, to appreciate, to bring perspective to, to laugh about.  Reconnecting this weekend brought a Marquette grad together with a counterpart from Holy Cross and a third parcipant (yours truly) who has a connection with both.  Long live these connections, and the summer months that provide opportunity to keep them alive.

The Eternal City

May 15th, 2010 by akuzniew

A chilly and rainy Saturday in Rome, untypical for this time of year, has provided the opportunity to relax and reflect–and not to go rushing about in this tempest to add lines to the list of worthwhile things I have seen in Rome. At my age, that would be unseemly.

This trip to Rome, aimed at two weeks’ research in the Jesuit Archives, has been a wonderful experience. It started with an overlong flight on Monday night. We flew over North Africa in order to avoid the Icelandic ash plume. I was taken by the fact that I was seeing Africa for the first time, albeit from 30,000 feet, the place where my niece spent three happy and generous years in the Peace Corps and the place of origin of so many colleagues, acquaintances, and friends.

The superior of the House of Writers, a genial Californian named Fr. Ernie Martinez, made room for me in the infirmary since the regular guest rooms are full. It has the advantage of a comfortable chair and bed and a private bathroom; and it’s agreeably close to the dining room. What food! I love the fresh-baked rolls and cappucino for breakfast; the main meal at 1, served in four courses; and the informal suppers–leftovers and sandwich makings. Last night, they offered four types of pizza: the sweet onion pizza was fantastic, washed down with a good glass of beer.

What company! I have enjoyed re-connecting with Father Jim Pratt (HC ’76) whom I knew in his student days. Jim now works at the Curia in the Istituto Historico and is a font of information and hospitality. Tomorrow, we will travel to Orvieto on a day trip; since his Italian is fluent and his personality is friendly, I’m looking forward to a good outing, even on a meterologically drippy day. The Jesuits in this house are a microcosm of the whole Society. Many of the younger men in the house work at Vatican Radio, and most of them (Southeast Asians, Poles, Chinese, and others) can converse in English. Yesterday, when I went to breakfast at my accustomed time, we had a surprise visit from Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, the general of our Society. Since he wasn’t expected, few were present and I had the pleasure of sharing the table with him and one other Jesuit. Fr. General has happy memories of New England, where he learned English at the former Jesuit house at Shadowbrook in the Berkshires. (On it, I highly recommend the Shadowbrook website prepared by Ms. Alice Howe, curator of the N.E. Jesuit Archives.) A great surprise and treat to meet the head of our Society, a genial and unassuming man.

What research! I have enjoyed working my way through the documents relating to the Maryland Mission of the Jesuits, which became the Maryland Province in 1833. The archivists are helpful, particularly Mauro Brunello, who has been helping me and even assisted me yesterday with the translation of a letter of Fr. Mulledy to then-Fr. General Roothaan. It seems that, early in his Jesuit life, Fr. Mulledy volunteered for service in the Indian missions in the Missouri River Valley, where he would have joined Fr. Peter DeSmet. For the sake of Holy Cross and the other apostolates he served, I’m grateful that his superiors had the good sense to keep him in higher education and governance.

What fellowship! There are regular socials on many evenings here. Wednesday evening, the Americans in the Curia gather for a social and dinner at the Curia. On Thursdays, the House of Writers hosts the social. This week, a special treat: midway through our gathering, a newlywed couple from Poland, with three musicians, entered the gathering. Her Jesuit uncle, who plays a mean accorian, had performed the nuptials earlier in the day, and they were still in wedding garb. After being serenaded by the musicians, those of us who knew the words serenaded them with a rousing version of “Niech zjye nam.” Our new provincial, Fr. Myles Sheehan, is in Rome for the training workshop for new provincials and was with us on Thursday evening. (Tonight, Saturday, is the monthly gathering for Mass and dinner of the Maryland-New York-New England Jesuits [soon to be one East Coast Jesuit province]. Fr Sheehan is going to host all of us for dinner.) Last night, there was a showing of The Hurt Locker over at the Curia–connected by a passageway to the House of Writers–a movie I was glad to be able to see. I, who brought a fair amount of reading to occupy me during what I presumed would be quiet evenings, will take substantial unread materal back to the Cross.

So the Eternal City is also an international city. The chance to experience the spirit of the Society of Jesus from this particular geographic and human vantage point, is a wonderful blessing. Oh, and you can even see the dome of St. Peter’s from my room, if you crane your neck a bit.

Kim McElaney

May 7th, 2010 by akuzniew

Kim’s funeral this morning, held in Worcester at Christ the King church, has left me in a thoughtful mood.  Amid the experience of a church full from front to back, the beautiful music, the powerful homily from Fr. Jim Hayes, the beautiful eulogy from Kim’s sister Julie, and the presence of so many grieving colleagues and students from the HC community, there was a sense of awe at the end that caught me by surprise and moved me deeply.

The emotion started with memories of my first years at Holy Cross as a Jesuit scholastic, from 1974 to 1976. I lived at Campion House with Frs. Bob Manning and Paul Harman. The chaplains’ offices were then in the Hogan Center; we three Jesuits lived upstairs at Campion, hosted students to dinner on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings (often Fr. Brooks joined us); and the downstairs rooms were open 24/7 for meetings and quiet study.

One of my best memories of those years was Morning Prayer (“Morning P,” in the students’ parlance). Students, generally eight or ten, came at 8 a.m., and we recited a version of morning prayer from that day’s Divine Office. Afterwards, round the big kitchen table, we had coffee and hot donuts, and spirited conversation that started the day on a high note (even if the weather was “worcestering”) for both Jesuits and students. Gerry McKeon, now a Jesuit priest, was part of that group and so was Kim. Gerry concelebrated the Mass this morning, and when I caught up to him at the end of the service, the memories of those happy days and of that group, flooded in.

It was a little bit like the scene in Our Town, when Emily is allowed to revisit her family after dying young, and encouters frustration because everything is so beautiful, so wonderful, and people are too busy to notice–the smell of fresh coffee, the taste of bread, the commitment and dedication of each family member….. 

So, of all the warm memories I have of Kim, dating back to 1974, it was the first ones that were a special blessing this morning. They came as a reminder not to be too busy to notice what’s good and wonderful, and to be grateful that, for over three decades, students like her have enriched and blessed my life. Thank you, Kim.  R.I.P.

The Team Bus

April 27th, 2010 by akuzniew

Last weekend’s trip to Army with the men’s lacrosse team marked the 24th such travel for me since the first football trip to Northeastern on October 3rd, more than usual this year because of my spring semester sabbatical. I always enjoy these trips. Dr. Walsh has frequently referred to them has his mini vacations; they fill a similar function for me, only with the understanding that there is a pastoral connection. For football, there is a gameday team Mass, a pregame prayer in the locker room, and a postgame moment of prayer (best when a prayer of thanksgiving) on the field.  In basketball last year, we generally started with a small scale Mass in my room anchored by Dr. Walsh, Bob Fouracre, and the coach, plus a locker room prayer before and after the game. Lacrosse has a pregame prayer in the locker room, a small scale Mass before breakfast generally attended by a half dozen or more of the players, plus a family Mass before the awards brunch which, this year, will be next Sunday. In women’s basketball, Coach Gibbons has requested a similar pattern of Mass (especially on Sundays, families of players would attend) and assistance with invoking God’s help before the game.

Those patterns have basic similarities. It’s the bus ride that distinguishes each team.  I always get my own double seat, so the ride is comfortable–no doubling up with a 300 pound lineman on the football bus! Football favors action movies, the type I think of as high-testerone machine gun movies. Men’s basketball tends to be quiet; perhaps a movie, but many players studying, sleeping, or engaged in video games.  Women’s basketball has often favored TV shows, and also some common singing. I still remember a rousing version of “The Wheels on the bus go round, round, round” from the back of the bus on one of our trips. The lacrosse bus features movies and TV shows–on the Navy trip this year, multiple episodes of “Friday Night Lights.” They can keep the volume a little lower by running the English subtitles.

If I want to, I can opt out of the entertainment with my noise cancelling earphones and ipod.  That affords the opportunity to read, correct papers, tackle a crossword puzzle, pray, gaze out the window, doze off.  As much as I like to inveigh against the long distance travels in the Patriot League, whose geography is disadvantageous for the Cross, I have to admit that I don’t really mind the bus rides. Add to the above the chance to talk with and  get to know the coaches and players better, and to appreciate the services of the drivers who work for Fox Bus, and it turns out that the game, for me, is only one part of a rich experience.