At one point last night, I turned to Jack Eisenmann’s brother who was sitting next to me during the game and I said, “Is this really happening? Are we really almost up by 40?”
I meant to say this the other night, but the Terminator: Salvation commercial that they spliced with the men’s Final Four footage on semifinal night was probably the best form of product placement I’ve seen in the entire tournament. Well, that and the Guitar Hero ad with Bob Knight in his skivvies.
Those two games were surreal. But I will get to those later. First, my day yesterday. And once again, I’m sick. I don’t mean sick of St. Louis. The life on the road will wear you down.
I was supposed to get up at 9 yesterday with the team, but my Nonna, who had flown in Saturday night, had decided to knock on my door at the grand hour of 7:45. I went to get her and she wanted to go to breakfast. Naturally, I’m not going to say no to my grandmother. She’s Italian. I’d wake up with a horse head in my bed. But I managed to push it back to around 8:30, and we went down to breakfast and I got her past the security in our private room (like me, they won’t say no to Geno’s mom…she holds precedent over everyone). My Nonna is so cute…at one point she wanted to bring a breadroll back to her room and there was a couple minutes where she was wracked with guilt about it, trying to hide it in her purse. All of the girls came down a little while later, and one by one they hugged my Nonna hello, which shows how sweet these girls really are. I’m not sure which one is my Nonna’s favorite on the team right now. She loves Sveta, Diana, and I think Kaili is climbing the ranks of her favor.
After breakfast, I greeted my sister and her husband, who had flown in the night before. They took Nonna to church (it was Palm Sunday, after all) and I went on to shootaround, which was exactly how the shootaround before Arizona State played out: Quick, efficient, enthused, and businesslike. And yes, at the end of practice, I hit my buzzer beater. In fact, I missed my first one and I had enough time to put up another one. I won’t let it go to my head, trust me.
After the game, I tried to talk to Dad a little bit, but I could tell he was too focused (or too nervous) to really say anything back. The team was relaxed, but he was kind of a wreck. I knew that he wanted the game to go well for Renee to get to that title game that he’s wanted for her all season long. And because he was nervous, I got really, really nervous.
After shootaround, I had a bunch of time to myself, so I went back to the gym, and once again I was in there at the same time as Shea. And once again, I pushed it, and once again, I wobbled out of the room on Jell-O feet. And I had no wiggle room.
If anyone on the team was even slightly nervous, they didn’t show it. They were focused, but completely relaxed, joking around and smiling at pre-game meal and on the bus ride to the arena. Maya even danced a little to “Sneakernight” on the bus (which I still think is the stupidest song ever, but I digress). As non-essential personnel, I almost had to get shuttled into the main entrance, but by the time I realized this, the tunnel door had shut so Nonna and I got the VIP treatment of an elevator to the front door.
The games were polar opposites of what I assumed would happen. While Louisville completely shocked me with their win, Stanford kind of folded under our all-consuming pressure. I had been terrified all day, but the minute Tiffany hit that opening three-pointer, I knew it would be a good day for us. I freaked out just a bit when Stanford cut it to one, but then Renee lit them up and it was smooth sailing from there. Even when the Cardinal went on a run, they couldn’t get within 18. I even had to calm down Nonna at one point! My brother was really, really into it. At one point, Maya threw up a three and Mike stood up and shouted “YOU’RE BETTER THAN EVERYONE.” I think Maya heard him, because the shot was a brick. I turned around and shouted “Mike, shut up!”
After the game, I brought Nonna to the locker room to get her something to eat. She refused to sit inside because she didn’t want anyone asking her questions (“I’m-a scared, Lysa, I no want people askin’ me things”), so Sarah Darras brought a chair outside for her to sit on while she had some water. I managed to grab a Final Four guidebook from the room and I sat outside with her, watching the media stream in and out. Finally, it seemed like there weren’t a lot in there, so I grabbed her and we sat inside.
Everyone was happy. Renee in particular was thrilled, and was even happier when our team doctor managed to get her a huge bowl of cut-up carrots and ranch dressing. She refused to let anyone else have any until we got back to the hotel, and I think she ate the entire thing. This morning, she told me she had some before breakfast, too.
The best moment of the bus ride home was when CD told the team that wake-up would be at 10, a luxury for these girls who had been getting up at 8. From their reaction, you would’ve thought that Oprah had given them a free Pontiac G-6.
My one regret? I didn’t get to wear my Witness tshirt. I had one, but Mike had left it in his room. If we win on Tuesday, I will probably wear it for the next two weeks.
Now, I’m going to go work out before the afternoon crunch of practice (and Shea’s already worked out today so I can take it easy today). Happy Opening Day to the St. Louis Cardinals. Our hotel is situated around the ballpark area, so I can hear the music blaring from my room. Hopefully they’ll do a good job. Me? I’m all about the Sox…
PS. Dad’s comments about race were talked about today on 1st and Down today. One of the guys disagreed with the way he said it, but then he followed it up with “I don’t cover girls basketball so I don’t know how race is perceived in that sport.” Um…maybe you shouldn’t talk about it, then? It’s prevalent in women’s basketball that if you’re white, you’re stereotyped to be a wuss. I can think of about five girls from my dad’s teams that prove that wrong, however. Diana Taurasi tops the list of people who could easily break my arms.
PPS. The fruit at this hotel is insane. I could eat it all day, every day, for the next three weeks. And that’s just a bit of Random from my head at this point. I think the Mucinex is kicking in.