I use to be a fan of college sports, but OU football broke me of the habit, after one too many nail-biting, bowl losing games. But since my husband enjoys it, I go once in a blue moon. It’s a sacrifice. And I go in the biblical way, like a lamb to the slaughter.
Last night was blue moon time—we grabbed an Irma’s burger and drove down to the Ford Center to catch the first two games of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Regional. Personally, I’d rather have cleaned all forty windows or picked up the neighborhood dog hockey.
The first game was a sleeper, and not in a good way. More tortoise than the hare, Purdue and Rutgers dribbled the ball sluggishly up and down court as if immersed in chest-high water. Within five minutes of play, I’d decided this sport was a kissing cousin to synchronized swimming or cross-country skiing, where I’d learned the flip side of athleticism can be hypnoses. So don’t rely on me for highlights. I can only report, without knowing when and how, that Purdue managed to pull away to lead Rutgers by as much as sixteen points; And with a few minutes of play remaining, Rutgers eventually whittled the lead within two points, to lose by five. Or was it three? Yawn.
The second game began late, shortly before bedtime. But I was wide awake as soon as OU hit the court; perhaps it was the electricity in the air, or the familiar sounds of the OU fight song or just the contagious excitement of the players themselves. Whatever it was, I found myself actually caring about these girls and the game’s outcome.
There was no place for tortoise shells in this mad dash between two hares. The girls and the ball ricocheted so quickly around the wood court that it reminded me of a vintage pinball game being played by experts. It was exciting to watch and a privilege to be there. To really be present …rather than off in the land of nod.
Before last night, I knew next to nothing about OU women’s basketball—I knew Sherri Coale liked to wear Jimmy Choo heels; I’d heard some talk about the ‘the twins’; and after some prompting, I recalled my husband once telling me a story about a new freshmen girl who’d bested a NBA professional in a 3-point shooting match. After last night, I now know a little more than nothing: Sherri’s pant hem covers her expensive high heels; the twins have names – Courtney and Ashley – and the pro-besting girl wears the #25 jersey. I don’t know her name.
But who cares about such details? What matters is that these women, and a few more like them, had me cheering like a real OU fan. The delusion lasted only until I rubbed the sleep from my eyes. Because there I was, wearing the wrong school’s colors…. a blue moon in a sea of crimson and cream.