March 28 2008.
Our victory bellows take over, melding us into one hot sweaty bonetired (up for seventeen hours straight come from down South twenty-four hours ago I didn't even think I'd be here wasn't I in a Wendy's in Ohio eight hours ago is it really the same freaking day of the week?) euphoric disbelieving jumble of jubilant kids, screaming into the depths of these thousands for our hometown boys, our friends, our classmates. Bob McKillop's face appears on the big screen, stoneset like we're not going to win by seventeen points, not going to go to the Elite Eight, not going to be the story of the year-- just a normal game. And yet the clock slides easily down, no pressurecooker countdown no heartstopping miracle--bliss pressing from all sides all people all mouths.
Our starters, who don't need to save it, can savor it, standing at the deep cut bench almost underneath the court, waiting for the buzzer, already beginning to bounce on their heels, eagerly watching, what are they thinking about, what the hell are they saying to each other? Can they hear us behind them, energy so deep and full and raw bursting? I spin around and around with my camera, immersed in the angles of joy, my eyes blurred with grins ears roaring with shrieks this place is… I don’t know what this place is. This place is mad with dreams on top of dreams on top of things I never dreamed about because it would be too much. It is too much. It's too much and yet it seems like it's been waiting for us, watching us under dim lights that have suddenly come out and blinded us. It's too much and yet it's easy and it's a joyful fucking mess and I think it might be the MOST FUN I HAVE EVER HAD IN MY ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE.
We chant, throaty and proud, the name we chant before every game ever starts, before a result ever even begins to unfold, the name I knew nothing about the first time I clapped along--and I look at his face on the screen that hangs above where he's standing double triple hundreds of rows away from me, about to do something he knew we could do, but I still wonder-- did he really expect? Did he really think--?
My phone buzzes and my little brother howls happy in my ear. “OH MY GOD!” I shriek into our living room, “This is incredible, Mason, oh my god!”
Our chant dissolves as the seconds drop red neon, screams take over and I can't help it “WE’RE GOING TO THE ELITE EIGHT!” again and again and again and like the first time, like the second (this is the third? The third? Fucking really?) the buzzer barely reaches my ears because it didn't count on three hundred kids making so much damn noise and then I see way down, I watch MY BASKETBALL TEAM OUR BASKETBALL TEAM OUR BOYS clamber up from the bench and turn their faces towards us, and for them for me for us I know hard and fast and certain that there is nothing else no one else except for us except for—
They shoot off the ground, long arms rocketing above their heads, beaming blurred little boys, and their energy, their delight slam into me so hard that my breath catches because they don't care about cameras they don't care about interviews they need to share this with us because we were there we are there we've seen all the pieces and now it's the whole they are us and we are them and this force is bigger than me bigger than basketball this understanding this life
“OH MY GOD!” I repeatandrepeatandrepeat and everyone holds cameras and phones aloft wanting to capture, needing to capture some little bit of this mouths open wide still not quite something and yet everything and suddenly Ruthy pushes up onto a seat, raising his arms, punching the air, yelling something I cannot hear through the muddle of yells but now I feel it and it goes grows transforms into one until the rhythm takes over and we leap with it go go go with it pound it into the air so everyone can effing hear us because
“AHHHH HOO HA DAVIDSON, SAY HOO HA DAVIDSON!
AHHHHHHH HOO HA, DAVIDSON, SAY HOO HA DAVIDSON!
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH HOO HA DAVIDSON, SAY HOO HA DAVIDSON!”
Up and up and up and up and nope... I ain't never comin down from this one.