A pretty boring weekend around our house. I wrapped up Stranger Things. M went to a concert. But other than that the weekend proper was pretty low key for our family. We had great weather so we spent a lot of time just hanging out around the pool or on the back porch.
Thursday M and I took our second trip to Ohio to visit a college, this time going to Oxford, home of Miami University. We went with one of her best friends and her dad, who is a Miami alum.
He had warned me ahead of time that Oxford is in the middle of nowhere. He wasn’t lying! Maybe there’s a main highway that connects the city to Cincinnati or Dayton, but coming from the west you pretty much have to take these little, two-lane county roads to get there. On one of them you even go through some Amish/Mennonite country. It feels very isolated.
We headed over early so our driver could give us his tour before the official one. Miami has a beautiful, traditional campus, lots of red brick buildings and green space. Despite being roughly half the size of the University of Cincinnati – MU has about 20,000 students total – it feels like the bigger school just because the campus is more spread out.
The main drag of town is right next to campus. You literally go from the president’s home to a fraternity house to a red light to several blocks of bars and restaurants. We cruised around this area a bit, popped into some shops, had some lunch, and headed back for the school tour.
Our tour guide was great. She was smart (Biomedical engineering major with two science-based minors), funny, and did a fine job showing us what we needed to see. There was a lot more walking than on our first two visits, though. Where at UC they played up football and Xavier basketball, Miami presents itself as a hockey school, complete with a tour of their hockey arena. I was not expecting that! The arena was filled with kids who were attending camp.
I’m already a little numb to the tour presentations even after just three. You just get a different version of the same pitch tailored to highlight each school’s strengths. I kind of wish M had specific academic interests so we could do an engineering or business school focused tour rather than these general ones.
M might be numb to them, too. Or maybe it was just the presence of her friend, because it seemed like they were talking to each other more than listening/observing. Although I should give her the benefit of the doubt and figure she was able to take it all in while having a constant conversation.
I saw two big bummers about Miami. First, the sheer difficulty of getting there. While it is right at two hours from Indy, same as the Cincinnati schools, because the final 30 minutes are on county roads, I have some worries about travel if we needed to get there in the winter. Second, while they provide some tuition relief to all students, they aren’t nearly as generous as either UC or Xavier. It isn’t Notre Dame expensive, and we told M if that’s where she really wants to go we can make it work. But it is the most expensive school, after various forms of tuition relief, she plans to visit. Since the school didn’t wow her, I don’t think that’s going to be an issue.
What could be an issue for M is how the sororities don’t have their own houses. You still live in the dorms or off-campus housing. Each house has a “suite” where they hold meetings, but they don’t have a true house to call theirs. I guess it all goes back to the old zoning rules that stated any house that had more than X unrelated woman was considered a brothel. You’d think they would update those rules. Also I had to explain to all of my girls what a brothel is.
Oxford is a cool little town, one truly built around the university. I’m not sure it would be much more than a couple traffic lights if the school wasn’t there to anchor it. It is a nice combination of elements: neither tiny nor large; excellent academic reputation; large, beautiful campus; not too far from home but still away.
I think M enjoyed the visit and will probably apply to Miami, but it seems like UC remains her favorite of the three schools she’s visited.
If you follow sports you know the school is always referred to as “Miami of Ohio” to avoid confusing it with the University of Miami in Florida. My favorite shirt I saw – that I totally forgot to take a picture of – was one that said “We were a college before Florida was a state.” That checks out! Miami University was founded in 1809 while Florida gained admittance to the Union in 1845. Crazy!
Wimbledon used to be a huge part of my late June/early July sports routine. But that faded long ago. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and watched more than a few minutes of a match, even on championship weekend.
Sunday I caught most of the men’s final, between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios. That was mostly because of how entertaining Kyrgios is. I’m reluctant to use certain terms to describe his behavior because I genuinely do not know if he has mental issues or if he is just one of those super hardcore competitors that loses his mind a little on the court and is basically normal off the court.
Regardless of the cause of his conduct, watching him is a wild ride. Moments of absolutely sublime tennis. But when things go sideways, they go SIDEWAYS. He argues with the umpires. Screams at himself. Berates the people sitting in his box. Complains about people in the stands. Famously, in his round of 32 match, he pushed right up against getting into a physical altercation with his opponent.
You never know what you’re going to get and it makes for thrilling, if sometimes uncomfortable, viewing.
The final had it all. Punishingly powerful tennis from Kyrgios to win the first set. Shots that showed astonishing athleticism, skill, and courage. And then him losing it mentally when he blew two games he was a point away from winning, one a break opportunity at 0–40, another a service game when he was up 40–0. He got a warning from the chair umpire, and engaged him in long diatribes during changeovers. He treated the people in his box like they were responsible for his errors. He described a woman in the stands he believed was heckling him as looking like she had had “about 700 drinks.” It was amazing.
Naturally Djokovic, who isn’t quite as steady as Roger Federer but seems eternally composed in a championship match’s biggest moments, let Kyrgios work himself into a tizzy and then pounced. His 7–3 win in the fourth set tiebreaker was deceptively easy, as Kyrgios seemed mentally checked out by that point.
It was a fine way to spend a Sunday morning.