I’m blogging now from the team hotel, safe and sound here in Trenton after a four hour bus ride through the southernmost parts of CT and NYC. We caught a bit of traffic in Southington that had me worried we’d be here no sooner than midnight, but it ended up being a pretty smooth ride. I dozed off halfway through and woke up about an hour out from our hotel, so I managed to have a good time with Kaili and Caroline in the back of the bus. And because of Kaili, I am now craving an Arnold Palmer.
First of all let me say this: GO WILDCATS! I was thrilled watching last night’s Villanova/Duke game (I am the daughter of Philly people, after all). Nova played an incredible game from a defensive standpoint. They forced Duke to play their tempo, and by the end of the game, Coach K’s team was completely worn out. My parents were out at dinner and at one point I called Dad just to squeal “Are you seeing this?!” And I’m not ashamed to say that I am a fan of Jay Wright (I’m saying this simply to annoy one of my dearest friends, Gina, who is, to put it lightly, not a fan. Love you, bella).
One thing I want to mention is the back seat on the bus, a seat that I was shocked I snagged! The back of the bus, traditionally, contain the seats known as the Senior Seats. You did not venture back there unless you earned it. As a kid, I had one seat: Up in front with my dad. Sometimes I sat with the players, but usually I left them alone. As I got older and friendly with the managers, I sat with them. Even now, at 23 years old, I felt a little bit intimidated about sitting there. Halfway through the trip I had to get up and walk down the bus aisle to ask my mom a question and had to ease my way over someone’s legs, and I suddenly thought of all the times when I was very very little, and had to get up to use the bathroom. There would be about ten pairs of legs, belonging to very tall people who had dozed off to sleep, thrown on the opposing seats like some sort of obstacle course. A terrifying prospect to a ten year old who just wants to use the toilet without waking Paige Sauer, or Amy Duran, or Nykesha Sales, or whoever I was in danger of disturbing. I remember sometimes jumping over them, or just giving up and crawling underneath their feet to get to the bathroom, and repeating the movements on the way back. Ah, the sacrifices…
I should probably say a few things about me at this point, because sometimes I get confused with my sister, Jenna, who isn’t a bad person to be confused with seeing as she’s pretty much the best girl I know. It’s actually become even funnier when people find out who I am, because now they instantly go “Are you the one who’s married?” Nope. I’m the actress. I’m the weird one who doesn’t play any sports (although you could make that argument for my sister as well). I actually got a lot of people who came to see my performance as Guenevere in Camelot last November because they wanted to see if I was any good (because God forbid the daughter of a sports person is good at something else! Oh, the humanity!). I did play sports, though. At one point in my life, I played softball, soccer, and basketball. I was a three sport athlete.
The sound you just heard was my father falling off a chair laughing. But ask him how I could crack a softball off my bat. It was genius, I tell you! But then I discovered how much I loved theatre, and I made the difficult choice to give up basketball when it became clear that I would not be able to continue it and pursue my dreams of being onstage at the same time. I was fifteen, and I was a very good shooter, but there was no way a Div 1 school was going to recruit me. I could’ve begged my dad to take me as a walkon, but I probably wouldn’t have survived one practice. Everything you’ve heard about his practices? They’re harder.
For now, though? Bed. I have a very, very long day ahead of me. Practice, film, open practice…and I’m not even doing any of it. I’ll be sitting in a corner, drinking coffee and wondering how long I’ll get to shoot on an open hoop.
Maybe I should unpack if I’m planning on being here for five days…
PS: Another little nugget from my past…I used to force the team to watch whatever I wanted to watch. Colleen Healy reminded me just this past January that I made them watch Bye Bye Birdie until they had to restrain themselves from strangling me. I was a theatre geek from birth, I guess.
PPS: Go read my friend Maria Conlon’s guest blogs on John Altavilla’s column: blogs.courant.com/uconn_womens_basketball