everybody’s hands go up, and they stay there

Sometimes, I really wonder if Dad huffed a bit too many fumes when he worked in the Philly steel mills.

Like the time on Sunday where he called me begging to tape 60 Minutes for him.  I wasn’t sure why, because the thought of Andy Rooney makes me feel like I’ve taken four Valiums.  So I asked him, “What story did you want to hear about this week?”

“EMINEM.”

Oh, Dad.

I apologize for not having a blog sooner about the team, since it’s almost rolling around to that time of year again.  However, it’s also that time of year for me.  I’m talkin’ bout midterms.  This weekend, two midterms snuck up on me and proceeded to beat me over the head.  And then a flu bug tried to finish me up.  But on Monday, both were vanquished! Well…not the flu.  Still fighting off a cough.  But at least I can swallow food, so that’s a plus.

It really has been quite a while since I blogged about the team, huh? Well…this blog isn’t called Life IN the Postseason.  It’s beyond.  It’s my life.  It’s my interests.  If you want a blog completely dedicated to the team, I hear John Altavilla runs a pretty good one.  Or Rich Elliot.  But if you want a blog about a woman who’s making her way through life in CT and who just so happens to have a pretty cool Dad with a pretty great job, then you’ve come to the right place.  I am not, nor will I ever be, a benefit-leeching succubus intent on living vicariously through my parents.

Although honestly…if you had the chance to do the things I’ve done, and see the things, I’ve seen, and go the places I’ve gone…wouldn’t you do it, too?

Onward!

A few weekends ago, the team came over for dinner and games.  It was coincidentally the same weekend as the USA exhibition games here in Hartford, as well as the weekend my Nonna came up from Philly to meet the baby.  I also got to meet my cousin’s baby daughter, Bryanna, who is a delight.  (Christina, I will email you back, I swear!)  The party was full of laughs from everyone.  CD created a UCONN version of Minute to Win It, and even said she wanted to buy a crazy blonde wig so she could really get into Guy Fieri character.  I will not get into the exact specifics of the games that were played, but let’s just say that sufficient butt shaking to get rid of pennies in a fanny-pack were involved.  I’ll leave it at that.

As for the rest of the team, they were just excited to be at the house, eating the food, hanging out with each other and watching football.  Also, drinking my mom’s sherbet punch.  Secret family recipe.

After that, I saw the team one more time at the Fan Fest during the Homecoming Game.  I ended up surprising them at the tent.  While they all signed autographs, I ran straight up to the table and screamed very loudly “OH MY GOD.  IT’S THE UCONN WOMEN.  I LOVE YOU SO MUCH. OH MY GOD.”  After about two seconds of shock, they laughed and waved.  Well, the team laughed.  The rest of the people in line either thought I was a psycho or taking some massive psychotropic drugs.

Now comes the bulk of my update: the National Championship Dinner last Thursday.  You will be surprised to hear that I have never been to one of these things.  I guess seventh time is a charm?  Plus, it was an excuse to wear something other than sweatpants on a Thursday night.  My sister really turned up the wit volume on me when she heard I was going.  “Oh, you gotta go, right? For your fans!” Which only proceeded to make me break out in hives.  I always get worried that readers I meet will be disappointed.  In real life, I’m about as articulate as a doorknob.  I tend to punctuate my ellipses with pauses and frequent usage of the word “Like….” But trust me.  The words are all there.  I just can’t find them at the appropriate moments.

I drove separate from my parents.  In my Mom’s infinitely wise words, “It’s probably better you go in another car, because if Dad starts to get going and gets longwinded you’ll probably want to get out of there early.” That didn’t happen, but it’s a nice thought.

I did not go to the Geno Roast (I had rehearsal…the eternal refrain of every drama major), so I had never been to the Aqua Turf.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s absolutely beautiful.  I love how the dining room opens to the waterfront.  As for the building itself, it seemed to never end.  Everywhere I turned, there was a different room to be in.  At one point I turned to Mom and asked “Is this a funhouse?”

For the first part of the evening, we gathered in a smaller room for cocktails and appetizers.  I didn’t get even three feet in the door before Mom and Dad started to mingle and schmooze with various friends.  I kind of stuck near them, feeling a bit out of place and awkward, which is not uncommon for me.  For as verbose and loquacious I get on this blog, I am seriously socially awkward.  If you were at the event and did not see me, it is not because I didn’t want to talk! I just tend to melt into the wallpaper at big events like that.  Although maybe being a wallflower is easier when you’re not wearing gold sequined high heels? I go big or go home in the wardrobe department.

The readers I did meet were absolutely wonderful.  One of them wanted me to cut her in the drink line! No way.  No preferential treatment.  I hate that kind of stuff.

All of them told me to keep writing.  Like I’d ever stop! Might as well cut off my hands while you’re at it.

One mom brought her daughter, Katherine, to the event, and wanted to get a picture with me and my mom! Mom is so great in these situations.  She asked Katherine how she spells her name, and then informed her she spells hers differently.  The daughter seemed a little gobsmacked by the entire affair, which I can’t blame her for.  She was only about thirteen, and to be in a room with her idols must have been overwhelming.  I felt the same way when, at about eleven, I stood in a room with Gail Goodrich, David Thompson, and John Havilcek.  Cue the choirs of angels.

When the actual dinner rolled around, I sat at a table with Mom, Sarah Darras, Marissa Moseley’s stepfather (who is just the sweetest, coolest human.  The word dapper was invented for this man), and the five freshmen.  Now, I know you’re all wondering what I think of the freshmen.  Truth be told, I don’t really know them yet.  The last time there was a “Fab Five”, it was the infamous T.A.S.S.K. Force, and I was very close with them right away.  Now, there’s such a giant age gap, I wasn’t sure how I’d proceed.  However, I can now safely state that they are awesome.  First of all, their fashion sense is pretty great if I do say so myself.  I kept wanted to say to Lauren that I loved her jacket.  Secondly, they all get along like a house on fire.  The whole night they were laughing and telling jokes and being a bit dazed by the hundreds of people who kept taking pictures of them.  At one point Stephanie saw me leaning out of the frame for the sixtieth time and said “You should jump in!” So I automatically began planning an epic photobomb.  Unfortunately, it was the last picture taken of them.  Bummer.

After dessert (cookies and brownies, aka The Motherload), we were treated to the highlights video.  I’d already seen it last spring, but it was great to see it again.  Although I got to see an extended cut; at the point in the video where we were all at the Salute down in San Antonio, there’s a deleted scene where my dad, Jenna, and I thought we were posing for a picture at Keith’s camera.  Turns out it was a video camera, so there was five straight seconds of us smiling our brains out before realizing he was not going to take a picture.

Then, the presentation of rings, introduced by Jeff Hathaway.  At one point, Jeff recognized Mom, who wasn’t really expecting any recognition at all, and definitely was not expecting a huge bunch of yellow roses to be presented to her! It was such a wonderful surprise, and when Jenna asked me later why she got them, I said back “I think for just being Mom!”

Next came a second intro by Rebecca.  I was pretty surprised and happy to see Rebecca, who is due with her fourth child at literally any second.  I didn’t get a chance to say hi, but I laughed like a crazy person at her speech, especially when she told the story about how her daughter Siobhan mistook Van Chancellor for Geno.  To which Stephanie Dolson leaned in and whispered, “Who’s Van Chancellor?” I laughed and hissed back “The guy from LSU with the bow-ties!” To which Stephanie lit up and laughed.

Kara Wolters was also at the event, but yet again I didn’t get a chance to say hello.  So…HELLO, KARA! Tell Sean I say hi too!

When Dad got up on stage, he looked beat.  After his trip to the Czech Republic he got put on an antibiotic cocktail, so his speech was prefaced by lots of noseblowing.  Once he got going, though…it’s hard to stop a freight train with a wet noodle, you know? At one point I almost tweeted My dad is a jackass, but then figured it wouldn’t be very prudent at this juncture.

The best joke of the night from him came at CD’s expense, of course.  He went through the entire team (saying very nice things about Heather Buck in the process, defending her crazy busy schedule as a nursing major…seriously Buck I have no idea how you do it) and the coaching staff, as well as our support staff, trainers, and office members.  And then when it came time for CD…he skipped over her and went straight to Jack Eisenmann.  CD just sat there, quietly fuming (but all in good fun) and at one point said “Just give me the ring!” Dad looked over at her and said, with the accuracy of a Marine sniper, “I’ll give you the ring, and I’ll pay for the missing half of your shirt.”  Let me clarify: CD was wearing a single-sleeved blouse.  She was not semi-nude.  Still.  The comment was hilarious.

After that, the team convened in yet another back room that was much, MUCH warmer than the dining room, and received an absolutely amazing scrapbook of the year from Marissa.  It was filled with inside jokes, wonderful pictures, and came with a personalized back page for every single player and coach.  A pretty hilarious picture came from the Temple game in the tournament…if you look closely, you can see my face at the exact moment I realized I’d been caught on camera snapping my gum and texting.  My jaw is pretty much on the floor.

Other than that, there is really nothing of note to report.  I got to watch most of the USA games live, and I was pretty happy with the results.  That announcer, however, needs to just admit he’s in love with Candice Dupree (or as he called her, “Candy”).  And the other night, I celebrated my birthday with my entire family around me, including my brother who also celebrated his 22nd birthday.  And I know I dedicated a whole post to my sister a few months back, but let me just say this: My brother has had metaphorical walls fall on him and he just pushes them off and stands right back up.  His perseverance is
astounding, and the fact we’ve gotten closer since he’s started taking more English classes is just a testament to our similarities.  We’re still incredibly different people, but I’m glad we’re becoming friends in a deeper sense.  Plus, it helps he’s on Twitter now, so I can see exactly what he’s up to.  Because I’m a creep.

I’ll close on a funny side note: Monday night, the night of our birthday dinner, Todd went out and got a cake from our local grocery store.  I was so pleased when I came back from school to see it, and leaned over the cake to see our names written in icing.  It said Happy Birthday Mike!

I looked up at my sister.  “Um…where’s my name?”

She came over and pointed.  “Todd forgot, but I wrote it in!”

Right underneath the pretty blue-piped Happy Birthday Mike!, in smaller print, carved into the white icing with a knife, were the words and Alysa!

Gotta love family…

Ally

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