Monday, April 23, 2012

Four Boxers, the Big Easy, and the Final Four

Chester Duke Carson '04

“Where you living these days?” I asked Pete Boyle '03. He and I were the first and second to arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport ahead of our guys afternoon in, G-A-I, a gai. Not… not… that’s a… not gay.
Carson during his epic trip to New Orleans
(Michael Scott references are still in, right?)
More than an afternoon, too. We were in Nola for the Final Four, or at least that was the original premise that allowed me to explain the merits of such a trip to my wife. Pete, who graduated a year ahead of me at Pacific, told me he was living in South Jersey. “Why?” I asked. For work, he said. “Oh, cool, and what do you do?”
See, I hadn’t seen Pete for a couple years – when we were both in Denver for another Boxer alumni's wedding. “I’m an orthopedic surgeon,” said Pete.
Wow.  That’s all I could think. WOW. Pete’s a surgeon. Me?  I toiled away in the radio industry for a couple years before switching over to the world of government last year, a move I should have made long before. Still, “Republican Staff Assistant” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as “orthopedic surgeon.” 

Eric Olbekson '04 and Bryce Yamamoto '03, the other two former Boxers that soon joined us at the airport and for the weekend, are also both success stories in my eyes. Bryce is an accountant in Oregon and owns his house. Eric pretty much runs a mid-size health care company in the Bay Area. And he’s a dad.
Whatever. Being the least impressive dude on the trip didn’t bother me THAT much. Besides, I can take out my jealousy on Bryce and Eric in our fantasy football league. So there!
Our weekend in New Orleans was one that was long talked about, and like any Hollywood film in development, at various times had all kinds of former Boxers “attached” to attend. In the end, it was us four in a rental house that was reserved late in the game.
That is to say that we wound up in a “hip and trendy” part of New Orleans (Bywater neighborhood).  THAT is to say we wound up, according to our Friday night cabbie, “2 blocks” away from a part of town he wouldn’t drive into. Let alone vacation in.
But hey, we each spent four years in Forest Grove! We’re cool with the “hip and trendy”!
Left to Right: Jimmy Buffett, Eric & Bryce
Alright, our Final Four Nola weekend in words-but-not-complete-sentences: Cowboy hats, Drago’s charbroiled oysters, hurricanes (a Nola must, but don’t overdo it, or else!), Bourbon Street (including a Rob Riggle sighting), hand grenades (see: hurricanes), Harrah’s casino and some lost money, me being VIOLENTLY ill, slow Friday morning recovery, see the Mississippi, Frenchman Street, live music, Washboard Chaz, The Iguanas, Jimmy freaking Buffett, last minute decision to get tickets to the basketball games, flirting with a scalper before going legit, sneak into VIP lounge of the Superdome and hang out long enough to eat and drink our fill, lose bets on both games (unless you’re Bryce, jerk), try and fail to find cab back to “hip and trendy” neighborhood, give limo driver $40 for the 2 mile ride, sleep, airport, home.  (NOTE: All four of us are closer to 30 than 21.  Just sayin’.  Or, as Pete says, “J.S., J.S.”.)
In other words: the Big Easy was spectacular.  And you better believe there was a lot – a LOT! – of reminiscing about our days in Forest Grove.
Now, if I can just figure out how to become a doctor by the next go around…
Carson '04 worked in radio broadcasting after majoring in Film and Video Production, spending time in both Juneau, Alaska and Southern California.  He left the radio world for government in 2011, moving to D.C. to work for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.  He and his wife are now eyeballing an eventual move to the Big Island, where Carson fantasizes about being a Kona Coffee Farmer.  Any spare time is spent obsessively following the Miami Dolphins, writing, and preparing for the next fantasy football season.

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