When TigerBlog heard that the women's lacrosse team was going to Malta as the first stop on its international trip during fall break, he thought the trip had to be the stuff that dreams are made of.
If you're like TB, then your first thought of Malta is the movie "The Maltese Falcon," a 1941 movie starring Humphrey Bogart and a great supporting cast that included Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet.
The movie is set in San Francisco, not in Malta, a nation in the Mediterranean that ranks, as TB found out, 171st in the world in population and 200th in land mass.
The title character is a 16th-century statue covered in jewels and considered priceless. It never made it from the Knights of Malta to the King of Spain because pirates stole it, and nobody knows what ever became of the Maltese Falcon.
Greenstreet and Lorre have a few ideas on the subject though, and they've devoted their lives to finding it. Add in a little murder (of Bogart's partner), Bogart as the private eye whom the cops think may have had something to do with it, Mary Astor as the woman clouding Bogie's judgement and you have an all-time, all-time classic.
Late last week, TigerBlog was asked whether or not he thinks "The Maltese Falcon" is a better movie than "Casablanca," released one year later. To that, TB unflinchingly says "no."
This isn't a knock on "The Maltese Falcon," because "Casablanca" could be the greatest movie of all time.
Still, "The Maltese Falcon" is in that rarest of movie company, the ones that make all dial-changing stop when it appears on TV. TigerBlog isn't sure how many times he's seen the movie, and while he's seen "Casablanca" more, he basically has "The Maltese Falcon" committed to memory as well.
Like "Casablanca," "The Maltese Falcon" also ends with a great last line, uttered by Bogart after his position as the ultimate good guy is reaffirmed.
In "Casablanca," he says "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."
In "The Maltese Falcon," it is: "the stuff that dreams are made of."
Meanwhile, the country of Malta was the starting point for the women's lacrosse trip.
The team left Saturday, going to Malta via London. The first order of business was to be a trip to Sicily Monday, but bad weather shut down the ferries and resulted instead in a substitute destination of Gozo, which is an island that is actually part of Malta.
The team will be in Malta until tomorrow, and then it's off to London, where among the activities will be three games against English competition and a trip to an English Premier League game.
As TB has said many times, there is nothing for a team like an international trip. The experience is something that stays with those who go forever.
For the women's lacrosse team, this trip is over fall break, at the conclusion of the fall practice season. In other words, it's timed perfectly.
TB is always fascinated about the destinations that are chosen, especially those that the people who make the trip get to see up close that they probably wouldn't go to under any other circumstances. In this case, it's Malta.
TB can't imagine that many people know more any about Malta than he did, and that was a rough idea of where it was and the movie about the fictional bird. TB doubts that too many of the current players have even heard of the movie, let alone seen it.
But they are in Malta, and then on their way to London.
Hey, it's the stuff that dreams are made of.