Last night was both exhilarating and infuriating, in my eyes (and the eyes of everyone watching at the Sovereign Bank Arena). First, let me get the bad parts out of the way.
“Coming in to congratulate me again?”
Of course, Dad. We’re going to St. Louis!
I’m pretty tired, I won’t lie to you (and would I ever lie to my devoted blog-viewers?). We got back to our car at around 2 in the morning last night in Manchester, so I think I crawled into bed around 3. I thought the bus ride home would be more amped up than it was, but everyone was so tired that we were about fifteen minutes into the bus ride movie (Untraceable) and everyone, including me, passed out. But I must impart my thoughts on yesterday and the game.
Yesterday I woke up, went down to breakfast, and packed my bags since we’d be leaving after the game. Shootaround was pretty interesting, and a far cry from the slightly scattered attitude of the previous practice. They went through drills calmly, and Dad directed their offense and defense with authority. I saw a lot of what they ran during the game last night, and a lot of it was executed with great results. Sometimes it went wrong, but you can’t expect it to go perfect 100% of the time. It’d be so boring if it did. At one point, I clapped for Tina on a good play, and Kaili looked at me and whispered, “Cheerleader over there!” Of course! What else would I do?
The girls played the “stick the balls in the net” game again, and almost gave up on getting nine in there when Tina got two balls stuck on the sides of the net, and then it was a free for all. We were so excited to get the nine that getting ten in there seemed impossible. Well, I was getting a drink of water when Caroline poked me on the shoulder and whispered “We got another one!” Sure enough, I looked up and balancing precariously on the top of the pile was one more ball. Perfect.
That was the worst officiated Elite Eight game I have ever had the displeasure of sitting through. It got to the point where I thought Dad was literally going to strangle anything that would stand still. Much has been made of the third foul call on Renee, and I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of you that the ref that made the call was the same ref that nearly fouled Renee out of the national semifinals last year. Maybe he’s just jealous that Renee has swagger that he’ll never have?
But, I digress. There was much to love about this game, but by the end of it I was so upset with the officiating that at the 3 minute mark I turned to Mom and said “This game needs to just go into a vault and end already!” And it did, thank goodness, and on to the celebration!
I have a tradition within myself that whenever we win a big game like this, I need to be on the court with the team and with my Dad. I have a laminated picture from when we advanced to the Elite Eight in 1994 of my sister, my brother and I hugging my dad on the court, so it’s been 15 years of tradition. I was not about to break that! My mom and brother wanted to stay up with the family, so I ran up the stairs and around the side, only to remember that since this was a converted hockey rink, they didn’t have an opening onto the court like at the XL Center. Thankfully, the security guy let me pull a Prison Break. Yes, I hopped the barrier. I immediately found Shea first and hugged her, and she laughed and said “I’m not sure what to do, I’ve never done one of these as a coach! Where do I go?!” I wasn’t sure!
Then I found my dad, who looked so happy. You can tell my dad is happy when he really doesn’t have much to say, but simply stands there and smiles. And he was doing quite a bit of that last night. He hugged me, and gave me his hat to wear, which I immediately plopped on my head. It came across my mind “Hmm, I hope this doesn’t make me look like a total idiot if I get seen on ESPN.” And about ten minutes later, a friend of mine texted me “I saw you in that cute hat!” Nice.
I walked out with Dad and the team into the locker room, where I encountered a dance party of epic proportions. Everyone was completely freaking out, as they should be! I took a ton of pictures, with the promise that I’d tag Lorin on facebook (she jumped into all my pictures with the cry “Tag me! Tag me!”) After the dance party ended (with Kalana doing the robot), Dad addressed the team, walking around in circles, musing to himself more than really speaking at anyone. He spoke of the concept of team, and what it means to pick someone up when they fall down, and how to be there for someone when they’re not having a good game. He said, “When Renee didn’t have a great game on Sunday, Tiffany stepped up…and I think Tiff realized that Renee was going to have a great game tonight, so she could play like crap tonight,” which everyone thought was hilarious. He then singled out individuals for their achievements, particularly Renee, Maya, and Tina, and with words for Meghan and Kaili as well…and then ended with “Tiffany played like crap, good work,” which made Tiffany laugh. If the refs hadn’t called her on dumb hand checks then I think she would have been more comfortable.
After that, they went on to media, where someone actually told dad that he broke down the passing on our plays to about 1.7 every possession, after a very long-winded mathematical process. His question? “Do you feel comfortable with only having 1.7 touches on every possession or would you like to have more?” Dad simply smiled and said “I’d like to know as a reporter how you had enough time to figure that (stuff) out.” Touche.
Before the game, I got interviewed by Mike DiMauro from the New London Day! Thanks, Mike! I’m glad you like my blog!
Then, the uneventful ride home. I’m happy that I managed to sleep on the bus, it was an easy and comfortable trip, if very very long.
In the car after we got dropped off by the bus, Dad turned up the volume on a 70s classic station, and as we turned onto our street, it blasted, I kid you not, “Ladies Night”.
Oh, what a night.
Next time I update, it’ll be from the Lou…
PS. Rebecca said it on her Twitter, and I agree…I need to learn how Coach Thorn from ASU squats in those short skirts. I tried it in the locker room the other day at practice and I fell on my face.
PPS. Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve gotten about fifty friend requests on Facebook from people who like what I’m doing and want to know more about me. While I can’t tell you how grateful and appreciative I am that people are so into what I’m doing and I’m truly very humbled by all the great press this blog gets, I simply just don’t accept friend requests that I’m not friends with outside of the Internet. I never have. Please don’t take it personally if you tried to friend me and I denied you, it doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate the gesture. I am really quite flattered at all the attention I’m getting, but I have to draw the line somewhere, and that line is, apparently, facebook. However, I am open to all messages and questions or compliments or slander, so feel free to message me on there!
PPPS. Saying that these girls are arrogant is like saying the moon is made of Gorgonzola. These girls are the nicest, coolest girls on the planet, who just happen to be better than anyone else in the country at the game of basketball. If that’s arrogance, then I’ll eat my All-Access Pass.