Tuesday, February 09, 2010

The Big Game

Wow. Just wow. That’s the only way I can describe this past weekend. It was a whirlwind of activity, chock full of fun events, a few obligations, a couple of annoyances and even a little time for a Sunday afternoon nap.

N and I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning knowing we had a big day ahead. We dressed in our finest (aka most outrageous) Illini outfits. We headed off down the slick, slippery roads to get bagels and hot beverages to help us stand outside the Assembly Hall while we waited for the doors to open for the ESPN Game Day hoopla. When we arrived at 7:30 a.m. (doors were scheduled to open at 8:00 a.m.) there was already a line. Actually, there were already several lines, one at each of several entrances. We chose what looked to be the shortest, and nearest, line. We stood. We ate. We shivered. We drank. We chuckled at the outfits of some other fans. We shivered. We booed when a small Spartan fan contingent got in line. We shivered some more. We chanted with the rest of the crowd, “Let us in! Let us in!” We shivered.

Finally, the doors opened wide, and we made our way into the Assembly Hall. N, me and some 4,100 of our closest friends other Illini fans all rushed in to get the good seats. Not that we would spend much time sitting in our seats, mind you, at least not once Digger came out to get the crowd warmed up. We made our way to B section, not too far away from the guy in a chicken suit wearing an Illini basketball uniform.

N made it onto national TV, only for a second or two though so he’s got plenty of time left on his life’s 15 minutes of fame. If you happened to watch ESPN Game Day last Saturday morning and happened to notice a young kid in a fuzzy orange hat smack dab in the middle of your screen for a moment then you saw N. If you missed it, I have it recorded so drop by sometime, and we’ll be happy to show you. And me? Well, let’s just say if you look really hard at some of the wide shots of the whole crowd that was me about two thirds of the way up, a little right of center. Surely you saw me. The one in the orange shirt? Yeah, that was me.

Now, you’d think that being part of ESPN’s Game Day would be the highlight of the day, right? Well, not even close. We’d only just begun. The afternoon held more fun for the family. N’s school had a fine arts festival, and after that N had a basketball game. W got the pleasure (okay, so I practically had to force him to do it, but dang it I can’t be made to do every damn thing involving N) of attending these two events as I stayed home nursing my cold and resting up for Saturday night. N had a great time both at the festival and his game.

Finally, the best part of the day arrived – Saturday night – the big game – the thing everyone was abuzz over – that magical moment – Illini Basketball. The Illini took on the then #5 (now just #10) Spartans. Now Spartan fans (and I know there's at least one who'll read this) will probably whine and tell you they would’ve won had one of their best players not been out with an injury. I’ll tell you that the Illini nation wasn’t about to let the Spartans come into our territory, with Dickie V, Digger, Jay and company in the house, and beat us. No way. No how. My boys played their hearts out. They fought back every time the Spartans made a run at it. The Illini absolutely were not going to let the Spartans get the best of them. Saturday night’s game was one of the best live games I’ve attended. I had an absolutely awesome time. . . Awesome!!

I was wound up by the time I got home from the game. I even watched a bit of the game (well, of course I recorded the game even though I was there) on TV just to help me settle down. I also did a bit of prep, but not as much as I should have, for Sunday School and church.

Sunday morning I was up early because I had to finish preparing for church. I was liturgist so I could hardly show up ill prepared. I was hoarse from the combination of cheering the day before and my cold. At church, I facilitated the Sunday School class I'm leading then helped with worship.

I was planning on attending the women's basketball game Sunday afternoon, but it all finally caught up with me. I napped. I napped really, really well from about 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. I would've napped some more, but I was afraid I wouldn't sleep that night if I did.

Oh, and I hear there was some sort of little football game Sunday evening. Honestly? I was too tuckered out to pay much attention.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Yadda, yadda, yadda. . . I've been waiting for this; what took you so long?

I figured that somewhere in that sea of orange on my TV was my friend Truey (altho, I missed N's 15 seconds of fame; dangit)

Truth to tell, I've thought for a while that we were a tad oversold at #5. And there's no such thing as an easy road game in the Big Ten.

And even without Kalin Lucas, that was a game we could've won. So, I'll take whatever consolation I need to, from the knowledge that we can play without him, if we really have to. But obviously, not quite as well as if he's on the floor and healthy.

C'est la vie. . .

But hats of to your Illini - they did what they had to do. And Demitri McCamey was unconscious.

Perhaps we'll meet again in Indy. . .