Denver International Airport, or DIA (as it is most often referred to), is one of my least favorite airports for a number of reasons. It is almost always crazily congested, busy beyond reason, expensive, and like many airports, populated by some of the grouchiest people on the planet. Including me.

As a United Airlines hub, it is a waystation for numerous destinations west and I always seem to end up there in some capacity, on the few flying adventures I go on.

When part of my family lived there, it was a place of happy reunions and sad departures. Now that all of my remaining immediate family live in Montana, DIA is that all-but-impossible-to-avoid, layover location.

My stop there on the way out to Montana was the expected cringeworthy 3-hour wait. But, my return to DIA on the way home had a delightful dimension added to it, thanks to the University of Denver's Pioneer Basketball team!

They began to slowly filter into the Sioux Falls departure gate area where I was sitting, in varying group sizes, along with their coaches and other staff members. To say I was impressed by their appearance and behavior, would be a gross understatement.

All of these tall, (and I mean very tall) young men were dressed in impeccably tailored suits, splendidly groomed, and profoundly well-behaved. These were college men who didn't act like the guys I went to college with!

I watched, bemused, from my seat on the plane as they boarded. All without exception stood with heads bent, shoulders resting on the roof of the plane, as they made their way down the aisle to their seats.

I was lucky enough to have one of these lovely gentlemen for a seatmate. I turned to him, indicating his knees jammed into the seat in front of him and said, "You guys must hate flying like this!" He smiled and nodded, but indicated it was an opportunity to go to other places, see unfamiliar cities and meet interesting people.

I asked who they were playing in South Dakota and he told me "USD at Vermillion". I asked if they were busing it from Sioux Falls to Vermillion and he nodded. I said, "Well if you guys play half as good as you look, that will be a great game!" He laughed and said, "Thank you, ma'am, that is nice to hear."

Ordinarily, that "ma'am" comment would have drawn a sigh and an eye-roll from me. Many women hate being called ma'am, as it infers something about the age of the subject being addressed, even if it is appropriate. However, in this case, he was so charming when he said it, that I made an exception!

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