Wednesday, February 10, 2010
About 365 days ago, we stood in the back row of the endzone and I had my hands halfway over my eyes muttering to myself. David was jumping with nervous energy, biting his lip, shaking his head, it had never been like this for him, never seen a loss in Belk, never. Stephen HAD to make this shot, he HAD TO, there was NO WAY we could lose a Blackout game to Charleston with so many records and stats on the line. NO WAY, when I'd walked out of that arena for two straight years with my bones and my voice always tired but content.
Saturday, 52 weeks later -- endzone, again. Slightly smaller crowd, painted red.
It's the little things.
WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE looks so cool written in black blocks on red towels... and it's written on towels because when those guitar chords hit we stand up, always have always will.
I see more and more faces that I recognize, new students/townspeople/staff, and DCats folks that have -- first virtually, now personally -- welcomed me in.
Let me tell you, it is damn exciting to watch these freshmen gain those cheers that roar over the announcer's soaring voice, that respect, that taken-in-ness that will last their lives. And it's moving to watch these seniors, my classmates, lead this team. Their determination and focus has started to shine on the court and on the bench, but so has their joy, their appreciation. I catch Will smiling and Bryant hustling on defense, Dan staying on his man, and Steve slapping hands, taking deep breaths, the heart of the huddles in the toughest moments. On Saturday, Will fouled out with ONE FRIGGING POINT to go before he reached 1,000. (one.thousand!) Rob, David, Zach, Carrie, and I had cheered for him unceasingly as he got closer and closer, to the point where I think everyone else in the endzone was turning around to shoot us weird looks, and when that fifth whistle blew it just KILLED us. Even though he'll get it tomorrow, I wanted him to have that moment with us so much. But we all stood and screamed for him, and from the bench he clapped and yelled and grinned. TCC.
Hey. This team is fun. This season is fun.
DBlock: everything from "Bad call! Bad call!" to "Shout! Shout! Shout-shout-shout-shout! EVERY-BOD-Y!" (hey, can we have a DBlock reunion some Saturday game? Have every Phi Delt/football player that's ever stood in that section come back? I think that would be fun.)
I like dancing awkwardly in the back row to the trumpets blaring, songs that will always make me think of brass through glass, songs that have made me throw together an iTunes playlist labeled "D(avidson) B(asketball)" that I think will keep growing for years.
The little things. Watching Nik Cochran have a great game, complete with a little reverse layup that burst our screams through the rafters. Trusting Brendan and JP to get through the full court press even though we screamed our heads off and counted the clock down like nobody's business ("I hate the press! I hate the press!" I kept yelling). Cheering for fearless slip-in/slide-through layups, kinda look like the ones that kept us in a couple big games nearly two years back. Little things, singles. Bouncing up and down, up and down with my friends on all sides. Discussing strategy with Carrie and the boys while Jess stands calmly beside me (ha, "discuss," aka "SHOOT IT!" I scream recklessly, not really caring that there's a man right in front of him. "He can't!" they all yell back at me. Oh what it would be like to be able to control my vocal chords during games...) Turning to the bleachers at the seven-minute timeout, toward Michele, Elizabeth, Ellen, Marjie, Chris, "reachinnn ouuut--" (hey, we did this on a Skype call in Europe once.) Texts from Joe almost like he's next to me ("Tell them they have my sympathy," he wrote of my friends who got to enjoy my polite company -- ha HA -- as Citadel took us to OT last weekend. Then: "My friends are pissed because we can't go out because I'm following gamecast." Yup. Once it's in your bones, it stays there. Muscle memory, heart memory.) The wave, 3 games in a row, amusing even though Kilgo hates it. Get into it folks! I know I'll welcome a time to stand up next year when I can't stand behind that basket anymore.
Little things that become big. I thought of #41 a lot the other night when we relaunched his project, giving shoes to kids who need them and who will get those and so much more -- love, hope, support, possibility; even when it starts small, it adds up. I'm thankful that he's still involved, and that #34 continues it, with help from this hearty, heart-full town.
Not about basketball.
It's amazing what starts things and what finishes them. I didn't get farther than the Brickhouse lobby for two.whole.hours, caught up in stories and faces and laughter and questions, all of it part of a community that I feel so privileged to see in action. (Did I ever say? When Dad and I left that night in December, Davidson for 12 hours and back again, we walked out into the cold and he exhaled. "Wow, Claire. That is a treasure trove." Yup. Y'all are a treasure trove.)
When I left around midnight, the McKillops were putting on their coats, and Coach grinned at me, "Hi, Claire."
"'Night, Coach. Great win."
No other place. No other.