I'm watching this particular championship game in my grandparents' basement. It's the room that still holds my shrieks of joy from Easter 2008.
Now I shriek, but it ain't joy. I think even Dad's a little surprised at my intensity about this game in which I should be more of an innocent bystander. "This is not Davidson," he says gently when I scream an obscenity after the first last missed shot.
But wait but see but --
"Yes, it is," I say, matter-of-fact, air draining out of my lungs, numbers falling, reality hitting. Again.
Well of course, it is and it isn't. The same as Davidson, I mean. Duh. It is all at once completely relatable (I love seeing the unflappable coach with his boyish boys and the deficit slimming down with slaps of the ball and slips to the basket. I love watching the crowd because even though I can't hear their individual screams and awestruck unintelligible conversations I know what it is to be in that crazy lightning storm of people. Seriously. It's like lightning strikes and thunder thunder thunder booming, unstoppable force.)
totally different. (My team. My school. My friends. My trustees. My history my future, so caught up in it from the inside that I couldn't see straight.)
I know this. They are not the same, nor should they be, from my personal perspective or from a wider one. But tonight I felt a deep, deep appreciation and desire for those boys and that team to WIN.THIS.GAME. Because I saw us in their faces and I heard us in their crowds. And I did not want the faces and the crowds to be silenced.
This time when the one-seed won, I could feel it immediately. I wasn't numb and it wasn't incomprehensible. Even -- especially? -- from the outside, it was real and it stung.
Now I'm listening to the first song I heard on the bus back from Detroit. And I think that the dollops of tears in my eyes are about two years overdue. Or actually -- maybe they're right on schedule. Because tonight, the sweet looking beamish boys from Indiana lost by two rimmed out points to the team my little brother taught me to despise. Two years ago, the biggest possibility stopped being possible far too quickly (16.8 --> 0.0), the hilarious and beautiful journey cut short. College basketball is done for another season, which sucks regardless of who wins (and Jennifer Hudson butchered "One Shining Moment"). And I'm trying not to feel like the end of college is slipping through my fingers, launched in haste to beat the buzzer.
(How do I dribble out the clock? When do I take the last shot?)
It's like lightning. And thunder. You keep looking and listening for it even when the rain is past, and the skies seem suddenly empty without it.
(But then things grow because of it, I guess. Plants and stuff. And people. And stories.)