“Where nobody has a heart.” – Benny Mardones
I attended my first sporting event this week since the pandemic started in March of 2020. I live about 15 minutes from Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the Arkansas Razorbacks were hosting the Ole Miss Rebels. One of my dad’s former players, Win Case, is an assistant coach at Ole Miss and he hooked my wife and I up with tickets for the game. If you’ve read any of the Seminole Junior College posts that I recently posted on here then you are well aware of Win Case and the importance he played during our four year run at Seminole from 1980-84.
College basketball sure looks different in 2021. Our first mistake was my wife showing up at the front door with her purse. Too large. It had to go back to the car. On the plus side, we were able to park closer than normal just due to the restriction on the number of people allowed inside.
Our tickets were right behind the Ole Miss bench. Normally that would have been the very first row. In the COVID world that meant about the 6th row. Row F became Row A if that makes sense. They were still great seats as you can see from the pictures, but now the universities are selling advertising to companies in those first six or seven rows behind the team benches. Big banners cover those seating areas as you can see from this picture that was an advertisement for Saracen Resort, which is a casino resort in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Now I’m just providing some free advertising for them for the hundreds of thousands of readers! You’re welcome Saracen Resort. You’re welcome.
“It’s like having it all. And watching it fall apart.”
The mascots were relegated to the corner of the arena next to the student section. They were never prancing around the court. The cheerleaders and pom-pom squads never left their respective positions. And what my wife and I laughed at was the fact that the customary live halftime dance routine by the pom squad was a video recording that they showed on the big scoreboard instead.
The positives are the ease of parking and the short lines to get in and at the concession stands and bathrooms. Also, we were the only people in our row so you can spread out, put your coats on a different seat; you get the picture. It’s all still very surreal though. Hand sanitizing stations everywhere. Masks must be worn the whole time with the exception of eating or drinking something.
Now, why the coaches and players pretend to wear their masks though makes no sense. They take them down all the time to yell out instructions during the game and during timeouts. Some of the players wear them on the bench, some of them don’t. I think they should just let the players and coaches not wear them if they want. I don’t see what good it’s doing anyone for them to wear them part of the time. Sometimes the masks are all the way on and sometimes they’re pulled down under their nose and sometimes they’re being worn around chins. Masks are important but the inconsistency of use on the benches not only in basketball, but in all sports, seems pointless to me.
“If I could fly. I’d pick you up.”
The whole event just felt so very unnatural and for a lack of a better word – bizarre. What’s the connection of today’s post about college basketball in 2021 and Benny Mardones’ 1980 hit? Well I guess if I must stretch a bit, it’s just that both events are bizarre. This video, which predated MTV by one year, is one of the most awesomely horrible videos ever. A once-in-a-lifetime horribleness, much like I hope these sporting events are for the next few months.
I don’t ever really recall seeing this video until just now basically. This song can make the claim of being one of the few songs (ten of them if you believe Wiki) that actually charted in the top 20 twice. This one actually did it in the same decade as well peaking at #11 for two weeks in 1980 after its’ initial release, and then again when it peaked at #20 in July of 1989. Apparently a L.A. DJ started putting the song in his playlist after hearing a “Where Are They Now?” segment, which in turn spurred renewed interest in Mardones’ only hit.
“She’s just 16 years old. Leave her alone, they say.”
Mardones was already 33 or 34 when this song was released which makes this line one of the creepier lines of the 80’s. Uh, yes Benny, you need to leave her alone is right. You and Kip Winger (“she’s only 17…”) should go very far away, please.
Despite the creepy lyrics (which wasn’t totally without peer in the 80’s), I think Mardones has a pretty decent voice so I’m surprised he was never able to muster up another hit. His voice seems like it could have served a hair metal band very well, or maybe a Journey or Whitesnake cover band, because he reminds me a little bit if Steve Perry and David Coverdale had a love child together.
When you pull him up on Spotify, his top five songs are all some version of “Into the Night.” Maybe his age worked against him by the time he garnered his lone hit, or maybe he just didn’t catch the right breaks at the right time. Whatever it was, Mardones will always have this hit (twice), and this incredibly awesomely bad video to go along with it. R.I.P. Benny (he died in 2020 after years of battling Parkinson’s Disease).
Everyone, get out that magic carpet you have rolled up somewhere and get ready to fly with Benny “Into the Night.”
Thanks for reading.
Cool interview with he and the late, great Dick Clark as they intro his 1980 song dedicated to Dick Clark and his show called “American Bandstand.”
You can check out the actual song here: