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Pleasant surprises; tales of Socrates, sweet little soccer grounds

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Morrison Stadium, the dandy home of Creighton's successful soccer program.
Morrison Stadium, the dandy home of Creighton's successful soccer program.

Also file under: brilliant stadium porn

I have a deep connection with traditional media, having been raised reading newspapers, then launching a journalism career at what was then considered the country’s best sports section.

Now the industry is a shambles and, in some ways, shamefully complicit in its own demise. I hear stories even today of self-important legacy writers who refuse to engage in social media. I mean, the ship is sinking, and they won’t lift a finger to help ready the lifeboats.

So, sometimes I just shake my head and file it all under Darwinian survival principals. It is what it is.

One result of fading influence of older media platforms is the new-day ability to carve out our own little media niches. We gain a wonderful and efficient control of the stories we read, the videos we choose to watch, the slant we like for our news, etc. That’s not a terrible thing.

On the other hand, it mitigates something I love about newspapers: the "surprise" story. That’s the story you see more or less by accident, one that affects you or touches you, but one you discovered fortuitously while flipping through the newspaper pages.

Yes, you can get some of these on your Yahoo news page or your Twitter feed or however you’re gathering information these days. Still, you probably won’t absorb your world with the same range and variety.

Two good examples from the New York Times just this week:

If you haven’t read George Vecsey’s tribute to Socrates, the elegant, bright-minded Brazilian who taught Vecsey to love the game, it’s worth a few minutes. It’s an eloquent testimonial to one of soccer’s giant figures. (Socrates died earlier this week.)

And just today, I read about Creighton’s soccer program. I knew a little bit about coach Elmar Bolowich and the unorthodox career move that took him to Omaha, Nebraska: he traded the post at perennial power North Carolina to be a bigger fish in a smaller athletic pond at Creighton.

I knew about Creighton and its longtime ability to stand next to some of the big boys. But I had no idea about Morrison Stadium. Check out some of the photos. I’m a little chagrined that I didn’t know about this fabulous place, a 6,000-seat gem and surely one of the reasons Creighton is in the NCAA College Cup, which begins today in Alabama.

I’m just a little more informed about our game today. What a pleasant surprise.