The Back Nine comes at you after a full weekend. In fact, it was so full I feel like I missed out on some things. That’s Gainesville for you.
10. The biggest story of the weekend was over at Condron Ballpark where Florida took two of three from a pretty good Miami team (I think I threw up in my mouth a little saying that) and there were so many homers I’m going to start calling the stadium “Con Air”. Jac Caglianone is getting to the point where they may start breaking in on ESPN to show his at=bats. Wyatt Langford is starting to look like the No. 1 pick in the draft. And the middle relief is still a big problem. But any series taken from Miami is a good weekend, even if it is getting a bit repetitious.
11. It was a little chippy, especially Saturday night, and it was certainly loud as Florida set an attendance record for a weekend series. I had a chat with Scott Stricklin there and he believes people are getting to know the park and what a special facility Florida has built. I am starting to think Gator fans have had this revelation that going to sports like baseball and gymnastics and softball are opportunities to see special talent and they need to take advantage. You are where you live and we are in a pretty special place.
12. The basketball win was a nice end to a rocky regular season. For Florida to finish with a .500 SEC record in a league that is likely going to have eight tournament teams is nothing to shake a stick at (does anyone say that anymore?) That said, the Gators did feast off some mediocre teams going 6-0 against the bottom four teams in the SEC. Of course, one of the problems of Todd Golden’s predecessor was that he lost too many games he shouldn’t have.
13. And now you get the early game on Thursday in the SEC Tournament against Mississippi State, a team that may need to win at least once in Nashville to get into the Big Dance. Tanks for nuttin’. Overall, however, I give Golden a B- for his first season. He had to remake his team twice, once when he realized defense was its forte and then when Colin Castleton was lost for the season. I like a coach who can adjust.
14. The tournament itself should be high drama. I don’t miss much about the grind of working newspapers, but I do miss events like the tournament (especially since the paper paid for it). Just settling into your seat and letting tons of basketball flow over you is a treat. So is being in Nashville with 14 sets of fans.
15. It feels like a month ago that Florida and Oklahoma tumbled in Norman but it was just Friday. That’s how much stuff was going on this weekend. The Gators rested some of their gymnasts and still came within 0.25 of the No. 1 Sooners. It was high level gymnastics, and it is always difficult to win on the road. So, I think Jenny Rowland was pretty happy.
16. And a tip of the visor to the Florida women’s golf team for winning this weekend. And lacrosse for getting a win and softball a sweep and women’s tennis a win and, well, it’s great to be alive on a weekend like this one with the kind of weather we had. Now, about the parking.
17. I always love watching Bay Hill and it certainly delivered with those spectacular closing holes and greens that were faster than Usain Bolt. Now, it’s time for The Players and between that and the SEC Tournament, I may call in sick.
18. The highlight of my weekend was being at the Lyrics for Life Gala and seeing Sister Hazel and Darius Rucker perform. It was awesome. Here is my playlist based on the best songs from the night:
* ”A Little Like Heaven” By Drew Copeland.
* “I Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie and the Blowfish.
* “Champagne High” by Sister Hazel.