Saturday, December 20, 2008

love and basketball (ok, just basketball)

I nearly slept through my last flight to Fayetteville Wednesday night. I left LAX at 5:30 pm, flew to Salt Lake City, had a five hour layover, flew to Atlanta, then had a two hour layover. I fell asleep waiting for the last flight, thinking the noise of people boarding would wake me up. Instead, I woke up to the sound of a stewardess standing over me, going, "Fayetteville? Fayetteville? Ma'am? Fayetteville?"

They had already closed the gate, but they reopened it for me and I boarded the plane, which was about 3/4 empty. I picked a random seat in the back in an empty row. After a few minutes, a man came walking down the aisle. He stopped in the aisle and stared at me. I figured I must be in his seat, and I kind of felt like, "Are you kidding me, just sit somewhere else." Then I remembered the creepy guy who sat next to me on the flight to Atlanta (who introduced himself to me and shook my hand, then put his other hand on top of mine and asked if he could "catch up with me sometime") and hoped there wasn't going to be a repeat performance. I said, "Am I in your seat?" And he kind of laughed and put his backpack down across the aisle, and said, "Yeah, you're in my seat." Then he turned back to me and went in for a hug, and I think it was about two seconds before contact that I realized he was my high school basketball coach. He was thinner and had a beard! He was hard to recognize! I have a picture of him and my team at home, which I will scan in later.

It was fun to catch up with him. He had just gotten back from six months in Afghanistan, where, he said, his beard was "four fingers long," which is how it's measured there. And I had just been talking about playing basketball a couple of days ago. I loved it, it was my favorite part of high school. That's definitely something I wish I could go back and do again. Guys can play in pickup games, but girls don't really do that. Unless some of you want to. In which case, let's do it. There's a park near my place.

My mom picked me up at the airport and I went home and slept for a few hours, then we got up and drove to Raleigh to pick up my brother Ryan and his wife Rachel, and we all went to Chapel Hill to go to the Carolina-Evansville game.
When my dad first moved to Fayetteville, he opened a surgery practice with a friend from residency who had played center for UNC in the 60s. He is so tall. I definitely remember being pretty old and still only coming up to his waist. And so we became Carolina fans. By "we" I mean Mom and Ryan. And me by attrition.

Ryan was freaking out that we wouldn't get to the game on time. He and Rachel left work early, and Mom and I left at like 2:30 to get to Chapel Hill for a 7:00 game. We parked at the lot, got on the shuttle, where everyone is wearing Carolina Blue (I borrowed a shirt from my mom) and talking to each other like they know each other, and got to the stadium. WHICH WAS NOT OPEN YET. That's how early we were. THIS is how early we were:

The game was sold out because it was the night that UNC forward Tyler Hansborough was poised to beat the record as all-time leading scorer at Carolina, if he scored more than nine points. My mom made a poster ("All I want for Christmas is 9 points" written in her perfect, third-grade teacher cursive,) but they took it away from her in the line to get in. She did manage to smuggle her purse in under her shirt (she didn't want to go through the "search your bag" line) which looked pretty great, with a strap poking up out of her neckline and a big Frankenstein-looking lump on her torso.

Tyler beat the record, of course. And my mom did a little dance to "Jump Around," which was my favorite part of the evening.

1 comment:

  1. THIS was an amazing post. And I would play a pick up game with you if I didn't think you would end up throwing the ball at my head. I am not what you would call "good".