Tyler Barnes will never be a basketball star. He probably peaked as a star high school player in Louisville, Ky. But for the last four years, he’s been a walk-on player for the University of Alabama. He’s a chemical engineering major with lots of academic honors who rides the bench because he loves being part of a team. He sometimes gets into games with a minute or two to go, but only if Alabama has a big lead. This Saturday, it was senior day for Alabama basketball, so it was his last chance to play in Coleman Coliseum. Alabama Coach Nate Oats says that one of the team starter’s came to him an hour before the game started — and fellow senior Alex Reese asked Oats if Barnes could start in his place for this one game. Even though the game was huge for Alabama, which is ranked No. 6 in the country and trying to wrap up an SEC title, Oats agreed. Barnes started and played the first three minutes, grabbing what was only the fourth rebound of his career and missing his only shot. Barnes has a great future as an engineer, but you’ll never again hear from him as a basketball player. For three shining minutes Saturday, though, he was a starter for a top-10 college basketball team — and his parents were in the stands from Kentucky to see it. There’s a lot of ugliness in college basketball right now, but this story makes me happy.
It was five years ago tonight when Lucy first rode in the car with me. She was on her way to her “forever home” with me that night, but she didn’t know it, so she was terrified. It was a much happier and braver girl who took a ride in the car tonight so we could go through a drive-through window and order a hamburger for her — to celebrate five years with me. She had a great time. If she could remember five years ago tonight, she would be proud of how far she’s come, too. If you’d like to know more about Lucy’s journey from scared dog to brave queen of the household, here’s something I wrote after her first year with me. I’m hoping this girl will have many more happy years with me.
I’ve never been attracted to skinny women. There’s nothing wrong with someone who’s naturally thin, but it’s never been my preference. What has shocked me, though, is the judgment I’ve heard from women all through my life — about themselves and others — about who’s “fat.” I concluded long ago that most women in our culture have been brainwashed to believe that skinny is attractive — and that anything other than skinny is ugly. I first assumed that I was the oddball — for preferring women with bigger and heavier bodies — but I’m coming to the conclusion that most men naturally feel this way to one extent or another. I just ran across new research by a couple of Northwestern University psychology professors that shows that women seriously overestimate how much a straight man will be attracted to a skinny woman. In a perfect world, we would all be at a healthy weight, but when it comes to attractiveness, too heavy is more attractive than skinny. At least to me — and to a lot of men, too.