The club that's made for you and me

ESPN Club is the happiest place on earth.

Recently, I spent a week in Walt Disney World. "WOW," you're probably thinking, "That's like, the happiest place on earth."

No, you ignorant fool. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. "Oh," you're now thinking, "Screw you, Bill."

It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that Walt Disney World is the second happiest place on earth. That is, unless you're a Kansas basketball fan trying to find a place to watch the much-anticipated, billed-as-a-battle-of-titans, KU vs. UNC-Asheville game. It would have been equally difficult to be an Asheville fan in Disney World, but what are the chances of such a person a) existing and b) being in Disney World at that time? Not very good. So let's focus on me.

My mother - who, I'm almost positive, was conceived by Walt Disney and Minnie Mouse - has the inhuman power to instantly know anything and everything about the Disney Corporation. It was this power that gave her knowledge of the brand new ESPN Club at a nearby hotel. So, we went there for dinner. We managed to get a booth in the section where each table has it's own TV screen. But alas, it was stuck on the Orange Bowl. We asked out waitress, Shannon (no joke), to kindly put the KU game on TV #53. Yes, fifty-three. There were AT LEAST 150 TV screens in this place. Each stall in the bathroom had it's own set. I'm not kidding. She did, and we tipped her enough to start her own sports bar in Lawrence.

During the game, my brain could hardly process all of the sports input. As Wayne Simien threw down one of his monstrous dunks, the clientele of the ESPN club erupted with the kind of cheering/grunting mixture that can be caused by only two things: a sickening, cover-your-child's-eyes dunk, or a kickoff return for a touchdown. It took me a while to realize that this enthusiasm, sadly, was for the latter. Iowa had just returned the opening kickoff of the Orange Bowl one hundred yards.

No matter, though. When the Iowa fans left the club, they were in distress. Their team was, to put it politely, caught with their pants down on national television. When my family left the club, they were... well, tired, but I couldn't have been happier. By the time Brett Olsen, Roy's hundredth-point specialist, put the Jayhawks over the century mark yet again (he's done it three times now; all three baskets he's scored this year have broken the mark), it was obvious to me that the 'Hawks were finally playing like the #2 team in the country.

At the time, I shrugged it off as a fluke. After all, it was UNC-Asheville. They're even worse than the other UNC... Greensboro, that is. But an identical performance against UMKC and the handling of Iowa State on their home floor have made be a believer. Hinrich shoots threes, Collison dominates the post, and heck, Jeff Graves nearly had a double-double against ISU. The Asheville game was the beginning of the Jayhawks ascent this season.

Forget Disneyland. On that Thursday night, the ESPN club was the happiest place that I could possibly have been*.

* - except Allen Fieldhouse. Top Stories