So, we have two-with potential for three-Big East teams in the Men’s Final Four! I was thrilled to see Villanova beat Pitt, not only because Nova is one of my favorite teams, but because I think that of all the teams left in the tournament, Pitt was the only one that could give our UCONN men a really hard time in Detroit. I would be very happy if it came down to a Nova/UCONN showdown in the championship game. Now all that’s left to do is root for Pitino’s Cardinals to get in.
The Louisville women did a great job today against Baylor. I cannot wait to see Angel McCoughtry take on Marissa Coleman. I’d be afraid to play them, though. Something about Maryland’s attitude gives me the sense that they really do eat kids, like their apparent team motto says.
Today we had quite a long day. Well, when I say ‘we’, I mean more the team than me. I just followed them around. I got woken up by my dad at 8AM (and by that I mean he threw open the door of my room and shouted “Yo! Get up!”). I immediately took my cocktail of Mucinex, Amoxicillin, and Tylenol, and hustled downstairs for breakfast and film. I still am not very hungry (stupid virus) so I missed out on the pancakes and bacon that the team had.
The team’s schedule was kind of insane. We had regular practice, a meeting with an NCAA official to discuss gambling (the rule being “don’t do it or else”), media interviews, open practice, and then finally back to the hotel. During the regular, private practice, I challenged Dad to a game of one on one, which probably wasn’t the best idea while in recovery from a virus. Long story short, I will quote Shea Ralph on what transpired: “I saw you get your butt kicked.” But in fairness, I had a pretty great move where I backed Dad into the basket, then sort of tossed it up at the net and wished it to go in. And it did, so I think it was a pretty great manuever.
Then private practice started, and it was very smooth. Dad didn’t raise his voice much. When he did, it was to prove a point. I think what people don’t understand about my father is that when he gets really, really mad at his players, it’s when they’re not living up to their full potential. If he’s on your case all the time, it’s because he cares about what you’re doing to the point where it physically hurts him that you’re not doing better. He wants to see you live up to the very best that you can be, in all aspects of your life.
Another thing that really gets me angry is when people think of my father as being arrogant. There is a line between being arrogant and simply being confident and assertive. What my father is in his private life is far different than his public persona. He’s a quiet, self-effacing, calm man who’s extremely humbled by the honors that have come his way.
I know a lot of people who read my blog aren’t coming here because they want to be converted into a UCONN fan after hating us and my father. I know my audience. You’re diehards who eat up everything about the program. I salute you!
Back to my day. During the wait in the locker room before the media personnel came in, Tahirah started up a game of Movie Pictionary on the whiteboard, which turned into a screaming match. I think Slumdog Millionaire was shouted at least twelve times, as well as a few really random ones. I think my favorite was Don’t Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood. My favorite drawing of the competition was done by Kalana, who got Borat and drew a very realistic sketch of Sascha Baron Cohen in his swimsuit, something that had to be quickly erased before media.
Then the media came in and I felt like I was in the way, so I put my iPod earbuds in and hung out in a corner until I had a conversation with John Altavilla, who runs the women’s blog over at the Hartford Courant. We have the same interest in musicals, so we talked a bit about what revivals look good and which ones don’t (West Side Story, we agreed, looks incredible). Plus, he told me he likes my blog! Maybe I’ll get a shoutout on his next entry? One can only hope.
After the interviews, we went out onto the court for open practice and got a warm welcome by all in attendance, and I attempted to get into the mode of practice by clapping along with everyone and rebounding for the guards. They managed to get seven balls stuck in the net, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It originally was an accident, and then once the rest of the team got wind of it, they tried to get as many balls as possible in it. Then they had to get them out, and it took quite a long time before Tiffany leapt and punched them out of the netting. At one point, my dad game over and mimed gagging me while I yelled encouragement to the team. What a joker, but I’m actually pretty thankful that he didn’t try and tickle me. I would’ve beaned him in the head with a NCAA sanctioned ball.
At the end of NCAA open practices, Dad lets the team use the last minute to take half-court shots. He does them too! Today he’s been obsessed with the LeBron James underhand swish from 60 Minutes, and spent the last minute trying to recreate it and failing miserably. I really did want him to make one, but they kept bouncing off the backboard.
The rest of the afternoon was a bit uneventful. I got to see Rebecca for a little bit but I forgot to tell her how hilarious I find her Twitter page to be (http://www.twitter.com/RebeccaLobo). Really after practice there was nothing left to do but hang out, watch the Maryland game, and go to dinner, where we watched the end of the UCONN/Mizzou game and the beginning of the Nova/Pitt. Renee and I agree that Jay Wright can really do no wrong in our eyes. Somewhere Gina is screaming “TRAITOR! TRAITOR!”
And now, the moment that she’s been waiting for…Miss Connie Yan of Connecticut aka my best friend for twelve years, here’s your shoutout. I miss you, and when I come home (Tuesday night, if we’re so blessed), there will be seats at our favorite sushi happy hour with our names on it. And now I’m hungry again.
Off to watch more of the Iowa State/Michigan State game. God, gotta love March!
PS. I was so happy today to turn on ESPN and see none other than Jen Rizzotti next to Kara Lawson in the studio! And those oldschool clips were hysterical…at some points of those Final Four clips you can see me and my brother and sister in the background. Granted, we’re babies, but it’s still cute.