2009 - The commissioner's plane gets canceled
This particular commissioner traveled to 21 Final Fours from the year before the contest started (1989) through 2010 (plus a 22nd Final Four in 2015). Getting there is not always easy, however, as this re-purposed post from 2009 illustrates:
(cue the time machine...)
Post from Saturday, April 4, 2009
Titled: "Take your omens as you find them"
Sometimes one has to suffer for one's obsessions. This particular commissioner traveled to his 20th Final Four yesterday, a fact that utterly failed to impress the USAirways automatic assistant when it called four hours before the commissioner's scheduled departure time to inform him via pre-recorded message that his flight had been canceled. Humans working at USAirways were similarly unsympathetic, asserting that all other flights to Detroit were booked solid, leading to this lightly edited conversation in the commissioner's about-to-spontaneously-combust brain:
Commissioner: No kidding it's booked solid. It's the friggin' Final Four! You canceled my flight on four hours notice, you can't squeeze me onto another plane?
Unsympathetic USAir employee: Sorry, we're only required to do that if the situation is our fault.
C: I've had a reservation for four months and you canceled it on four hours notice. Whose fault is it?
UUE: Would you like to fly somewhere else?
C: Would you like to move the Final Four somewhere else?
Ultimately, we compromised on tickets to Akron/Canton, Ohio, a mere three and a half hour drive from Detroit, a flight which had the added advantage once we arrived at the Philadelphia airport of being postponed for four hours, making our door-to-door travel time a pleasant ten hours.
But that's not what this story is about.
We finally arrive at Akron and trudge out to our rental car, for which Hertz has compassionately agreed to charge us only $157 since we're picking the car up in Akron and dropping it off in Detroit the next day. The commissioner's eight-year-old son wanders around to the back of the car, to stow his backpack in the trunk, when he stops and calls out in horror, "OH, NO! Daddy come quick!"
We're standing in Ohio on our way to Michigan, but the license plate of our rental car says, "North Carolina."
So, that happened. We enjoyed that Final Four (though as Duke fans, not the end result). And we've been to Final Fours in Minneapolis twice (and both times our favorite team won), but (sadly) not this year.