And welcome to the postseason, my bloggettes and bloggos! My apologies, again, for not updating sooner. I forgot how whirlwind the postseason can be. If I’m not out at dinner, I’m at shootaround. If I’m not at a game, I’m at film. And I’m not even the one playing!
We flew out here on Friday, at around 3:30. It was a gorgeous day, so I was expecting a pretty smooth ride. Well, once we reached cruising altitude it was smooth as glass. The takeoff, however? Not so much. I gripped the seats so hard the fabric threatened to turn into mush under my hands. Thankfully the entire flight was only about an hour, give or take ten minutes, so we landed in VA none the worse for wear. I was pretty excited that we’d have Sirius Satellite Radio on the flight, however the provided headphones were horrible so I stuck to my iPod. It’s a shame; I was really looking forward to listening to the Broadway channel. How are things in Glocca Morra, indeed.
Norfolk turned out exactly the way I figured it to be-warm, sunny, and very genteel. Everyone here is so nice, it made me feel like all Easterners are hugely arrogant. It’s not that we’re arrogant, we just don’t know how to be that polite without seeming slightly awkward. The hotel we’re staying in has a very old, quaint quality to it, which I really like. There’s a lingering history to these walls which either make me think “Wow, what history is contained in this building” or “GHOSTS!”
After about an hour of settling into the hotel we headed out to dinner at a lovely chophouse, which made me laugh since it was Friday (it being Lent, half of us weren’t eating meat). I sat with some of the managers and Maya, and in between wolf bites of crab cake we debated 90s heartthrobs. I personally was obsessed with Devon Sawa and Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez from The Sandlot.
Saturday was a pretty simple day, and a good indicator of the craziness that will come next week and the week after for those teams lucky enough to advance. Our locker room at the Old Dominion campus is pretty stellar: long leather couches, TVs, the works. That day we all hung out in there before open practice, waiting for the media to come in. Of course, we played charades and Pictionary. My favorite was Tiffany getting down on all fours and mimicking a dog for Marley and Me, and I even got in on the action (which I didn’t get to do last year!) . I jumped up and down a few times and pointed to the sky until finally Lorin and CD both guessed Up In The Air.
At the beginning of open practice, one of the girls got a ball stuck in the net, leading to the annual “balls stuck in the hoop” game. I didn’t think we’d get further than ten (our record from last year), but with luck and a carefully snapped wrist, we managed to get twelve balls this year. I forget exactly who got the last ball in there, but I do know Kaili attacked her with a huge hug.
After open practice we moved to the ODU practice gyms for our official closed practice, and I expected us to be in there for about two hours. Imagine my surprise when Dad sent the team back to the bus after only about forty minutes had elapsed. I asked Dad “What’s going on? I thought we’d be in here for two hours?” His response: “Are you kidding me? They know this stuff.” Which shouldn’t have surprised me…after all, that’s what he said last year.
When practice was over, we all headed out to the bus. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and part of me wished I could flop down on the grass near the ODU baseball field for a little while and just relax. Someone was over there already, and it was making me jealous. As I got a little closer to the bus and the supine figure on the ground, I burst out laughing. It was Dad, flung out next to the bus, head on his briefcase, taking a little catnap in the afternoon sun. Of course, I told the team. And of course, they filmed it for The Climb.
Later in the day we all congregated in the lobby and headed out to dinner, which took place in a restaurant located in a converted church. It was gorgeous, but the seats were solid and slightly uncomfortable. I’m bony. My butt hurt by the end of appetizers, I won’t lie. But the evening culminated with the entire team crowded around the bar television, eyes glued to Northern Iowa’s victory over Kansas. We were shocked. Tina said she didn’t like it, that it made her nervous. In Dad’s opinion, the more upsets that happen to other people, the less likely it happens to us. But, I’ll believe it when I see us hoisting the trophy at the end of it.
Yesterday was the game of course, and if it looked bad on TV, you should’ve seen it in person. My goodness, that was chippy play. Another problem was the court itself. Dad had complained about the bounciness of the balls and the hardness of the floor during the open practice, so for a lot of the game he was moving his hands up and down, miming how difficult it is to bounce the balls on that floor. Plus, it led to a lot of wipeouts in the first half, leading to a less-than-pretty performance in the first twenty minutes. Some of his WTF faces in the first half were hilarious, but they were repeated by all of us in the crowd. I was not able to view the technical foul against Southern, as I was in a very long line, waiting to get a turkey sandwich. I knew someone was going to throw an elbow or act chippy, so i wasn’t surprised someone on Southern got nailed with a T. That said, it was still a pretty fun game at times. I actually got reunited with a former member of Gampel security that I knew from almost twenty years ago. I used to talk to him about musicals in the hallway and bounce basketballs up and down the walls with him. It was such a shock to see him, but a delightful one.
Another highlight of the game was the Southern pep band. They were one fantastic band, and engaged in some musical warfare with our band at times during the timeouts. But it was all in good fun; at the end of the game, our band and their band saluted each other and applauded vigorously.
After the game, a bunch of us went to Outback Steakhouse for some food, which did not tide me over until bedtime. At around 7, I was starving, and ordered some fruit and decaf coffee from room service. That did not go over so well. The decaf coffee I received wasn’t decaf. I didn’t realize it until I had drank nearly all of a giant carafe of the stuff. Cut to me, circa 230AM last night, wailing and bemoaning my existence.
It should come as no surprise to anyone, then, that I spent the entirety of today’s practice passed out in the locker room, on the aforementioned comfy couches. The only reason I went was because I thought I’d at least get some lunch out of the deal, but they refused to feed us anything more than chips and pretzels. Thankfully, Rosie (our trainer) always has Clif Bars on hand, and gave me a Cranberry Apple Cherry bar, which I paired with two tiny bags of pretzels. Delicious, eh? It was enough to get me through the afternoon, which I spent at the mall trying to find a good present for Dad, who turns a whopping 56 tomorrow.
Dinner was spent at a very nice steakhouse here in town, and the evening culminated with the most amazing display of the slap game “Numbers” i have ever seen. Don’t mess with Lorin Dixon in “Numbers”. She’ll get you every time.
Tomorrow we play Tonya Cardoza and the Owls of Temple. It’s a little bittersweet. I’ve seen her around a lot so far this week, and it’s been really great to see her, but at the same time I miss her and it’s so odd to play a former UCONN employee in the tournament. We’ve never played Hartford in the NCAAs, so to play Tonya is so odd. Plus, one of my really good friends is one of the managers. I hope it’s at least a good game, and of course I hope we win, or else it’s going to be the longest hour of my life tomorrow night…