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Girmindl's Ghost

A diary of Shaker High School's 2005-2006 basketball season, a retelling of Shaker's fabled 1979-1980 season, and general commentary on high school hoops, updated daily...

"I like sitting in the back row. I found that sitting against the wall is just easier on your back." -Dean Smith, on the comfort of the H-gym bleachers

Greatest email ever!

Greatest email/comment ever: Man, I love high school basketball. I'm basically nuts about it. (As if you couldn't tell from this website...) And I love when I find out that there are other people out there who are just as into it as I am. Nothing makes me happier. So today, by any measure, was a red-letter day.

This morning, I got the single greatest email ever recieved on Girmindl's Ghost (which has recieved over 700 emails this year). I'm going to reprint it here in it's entirety, because honestly, I wish I had written it. It's that good.

Basically, it's 1500 words on the topic of "Suburban Council Snack Stands." Awesome. Here's the background: In my reader's choice results column, the following category was posed:
For "best concession stand..."

A. Shaker (cheap Twix)...
B. Nisky (good pizza)...
C. Saratoga (good crowd management)...
D. Armory (no line)...
Shaker ended up winning the balloting. The reader took offense to both the nominees and to the fact that Shaker won, both of which are reasonable complaints. But I'll let him/her make the case. Without further ado, here it is. The definitive guide to Suburban Council snack stands:
I have read your blog for quite some time and I have not always agreed with what you have said. But I have accepted the fact that you are a Shaker fan and therefore realized that yes, you will have a bias towards Shaker basketball. This time, however, you have gone too far. The Reader's Choice results and choices, particularly the "best snack stand" category, has made me very, very upset.

I have been to every snackstand in the Suburban council and have realized that there are many different ways to rate a snack stand, that a snack stand's worth does not simply boil down to one single aspect. To choose the best snackstand, you must first evaluate quality of items, choice of items, the presence of unique items, price, and finally atmosphere. To accurately judge a snack stand, all of these must be taken into account. It seems to me, however, that you judge snack stands on only one aspect or no aspects at all. Therefore, I think your choices are completely ridiculous. In fact, I think your choices are possibly some of the worst snack stand choices I have ever seen. Your top four snack stand picks are Shaker, Niskayuna, Saratoga, and the Armory. And you choose Shaker as number one. I realize this is because you are a Shaker fan, but I hope you realize that Shaker has one of the worst snack stands in the capital district. Not only do they over price the pizza (selling it for $1.50 a slice) but there also nowhere to sit and eat. You have to stand around a large crowd of people in an inadequate lobby. It automatically receives a low grade on price and atmosphere. Next, if you evaluate the choice of items, there are very few. Although I have not experienced the snack stand often, I do not remember it having a very good choice of items. There is one unique item which somewhat redeems it and that is the muffin. The shaker snack stand sells some sort of wrapped muffin, which is delicious and therefore gives the snack stand one redeeming quality. However, without this muffin I would have to say that the Shaker snack stand is one of the worst in the league. Sorry, but you got this one wrong.

Next you have Niskayuna, and say they have good pizza. I believe that in my snack stand power rankings, I put Niskayuna fourth. They have a good set up, a nice variety of items, and three different types of skittles. They also sell popcorn and nachos with jalapeno peppers, a rarity for hgih school snack stand items. However, you write the pizza is good. The pizza was most certainly not good. Obviously you are someone who has not had pizza in a very long time or else you would realize that Niskayuna's pizza was extremely weak. Not only was there very little sauce, but the sauce also gave a soapy aftertaste, a sure sign of a weak piece of pizza. Niskayuna is fourth in the Suburban Council, and therefore should not be receiving any votes at all.

The next choice is Saratoga, which I'd have to agree with. I rank Saratoga second. The pizza is great, the hot dogs are great, there are tables to sit at, and there is a good quantity of items. Furthermore, it has a decent price, the same price held by most snack stands in the Suburban Council (except Shaker). But what brings Saratoga to #2 is something that you don't even mention in your nominations or in your blog. Saratoga, for every game, sells a different pasta item. And this pasta item is absolutely amazing. Not only is this aspect completely unique from every other snack stand in the Suburban Council, it also only costs a dollar and fifty cents. How could you not mention this? Furthermore, how could you rank it behind Shaker, an extremely awful snack stand? It would be an understatement to say that this makes me livid, your bias has simply gone too far and has clouded your vision of reality. Congratulations, I feel that you've gone completely insane.

I can't analyze the Armory. I haven't been there. But I'm sure you're wrong on that one too.

Finally, I'm sure you're wondering what my choices are. And I'll tell you them and also give you my reasoning for why they are my favorites (better reasons than yours I may also add).

1.) Guilderland - The Guilderland snack stand was composed of three different tables of candy for exceptionally low prices, a variety of beverages including energy drinks, pizza, nachos, hot dogs, and popcorn which also tasted like a little piece of heaven. Next, there was a large cafeteria to sit after purchasing. And furthermore, after the game they gave away free pizza. All of these aspects make Guilderland the best snack stand in the area, and shame on you for not recognizing this in your blog.

2.) Saratoga - I already stated my reasons above.

3.) Ballston Spa - As you have not realized, the most important aspect to a snack stand is its pizza. Although there is a system in ranking snack stands, without good pizza a snack stand is worthless. Ballston Spa's pizza was delicious. That's all there is to be said about it. It had a decent atmosphere, decent selection, and decent everything else. But it had the best pizza in the Suburban Council, and therefore it is third.

4.) Niskayuna - I have already stated the reasons above.

5.) Columbia - Columbia's snackstand, at first, was an enigma. It was hidden away in a dark corner of the cafeteria and had a very small selection. However, when it was finally found, it was discovered to have delicious pizza, pizza which is second best in the council. Furthermore, the cafeteria where the snackstand was was beautiful. It was exquisite in cleanliness and design, and the best atmosphere anyone could possibly eat in. For that reason, Columbia rounds out the top 5.

6.) Burnt Hills - Decent pizza, decent atmosphere, same price, quality snack stand.

7.) Colonie - The only pizza they had was broccoli pizza. And this was, of course, because they were out, but still, not a very good stand.

8.) Shaker - Over priced, nowhere to sit, horrible, horrible stand

9.) Bethlehem - I give Bethlehem last place in the snackstand rankings, however, they have an excuse. Their gym was flooded and were forced to play at the Junior College of Albany, a place with a very weak gym and inadequate facilities for high school basketball. Therefore, I think Bethlehem could make a resurgence next year with quite possibly one of the best snack stands in the area and a brand new gymnasium.

Unfortunately, this year I did not get to see the snackstands of Shen, Averill Park, or Mohonasen and therefore I cannot rank them. But these are my rankings. In conclusion, I hope you recognize your mistake. I hope you realize that rating snack stands cannot be done with a bias, it has to be done with a desire to know the snack stand, to learn the snack stand, to understand what forms a great snack stand. Rating snack stands comes from a love the snack stand, not the love of a team. For the love of a team does not make a snack stand good, what makes a snack stand good is what comes from it. And that's why you, Girmindl's Ghost, are grossly incorrect.
Yes. Yes. Yes. Honestly, if I wasn't married, I think I'd be hoping the author is a girl. Trust me. It's not exactly easy to find your soulmate when you are into writing 4000 words essays on high school gyms. Luckily, SJC shares some of my proclivities toward this kind of stuff.

But come on, who gets "livid" about snack stand award bias? Well, me, for one! And that's why I love this email so much. Because if some idiot was writing Zullo's Ghost or whatever about Shen basketball and did a bad job on their essay, I'd be right there to nail them too.

Usually, when I write my columns, I assume most people enjoy them but think I'm crazy for even thinking about some of the topics. When I get an email like this, I know that there are people out there who not only enjoy them, but also don't think I'm crazy for writing about such ridiculous topics. And that feels good.

Partially in my own defense, let me say a few things :

#1) This was actually a semi-joke award: As the reader points out, my nominees were not good choices for "best concession stand" in the Suburban Council. It was actually just an (apparently failed) attempt to be funny. Let me explain my choices:

1)I only put Shaker on there because the cheap Twix has been a running joke of mine all year on Girmindl's Ghost. (if you want to see what I really think of the Shaker snack stand, reread my H-gym essay - I rip the stand pretty good).

The other three are on there because of the reason you wouldn't like them:

2) Nisky's pizza is pretty awful
3) Saratoga has absolutely no crowd management at their stand
4) I waited on line at the Armory for a good 20 minutes.

#2) I wholeheartedly agree with the comments the reader makes: Saratoga would be good without the crowd problem, Nisky has a nice atmosphere, Shaker sucks in everyway, etc. And I love how the author breaks down different ways to think about concession stands. It's tremendous. God, I wish I had written this.

#3) Anonymous author, please email me!: I love this email. I can't stress that enough. It's the perfect combination of intelligence, argument, and unfair put-downs, all about a topic that we shouldn't care so much about but we do. Kudos to the author, I'd love to find out who you are and sit with you at sectionals. Please, please email me!!!
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At 4:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

Just found your blog! Over many years I've sampled the hot dogs at the suburban council snack stands. I did miss tasting Bethlehem's last year when they were at Sage College in Albany. Also, for my money, the best football game hot dogs are those freshly grilled at Colonie.    

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