We bail on the official tour and head straight for the jazz department. The department chairman welcomes us and invites us to watch as one of the ensembles practices for an upcoming performance.
The band is amazing, and the instruction is less about music than it is about the emotion within the music. This could serve as College Tour lesson number three: Don’t just do what you do, understand what you do.
But the real lesson comes later, after we’ve had dinner and Sam and his pal return to our hotel after a night of city prowling. “What did you guys end up doing?” I ask.
“We hustled pool,” Sam says, noting the pool tables in a clubby room off the hotel lobby.
“Really?” I say. “How’d you do?”
He casts his eyes downward.
“Uh, not very well,” he says. “We lost to everybody. Some middle-aged businessman. A chick. Everybody.”
“So, you didn’t hustle, really. You got hustled.”
“Yeah. I guess.”
College Tour lesson number whatever: Just when you think you’ve got things figured out, there is always more to learn.