I love basketball.
I like football, I enjoy baseball, but I love basketball.

My love affair with basketball began in high school. The Vanguard Knights were the team to watch in my town. Games were standing room only filled with rowdy fans, loud band music and action packed plays by very talented players. It’s where I learned about fast breaks and watched players slam dunk regularly.

Unfortunately, my college choice was not decided on Division 1 athletics. We had a great tennis team, but basketball was a letdown.

As I settled into becoming a wife and mom, I rarely saw any basketball – live or on tv. Then my oldest got excited about March Madness and we watched games together. He filled out his bracket after much research about the teams. One team in particular caught this high school freshman’s eye- Xavier Musketeers. Who would have predicted he would end up attending college there a few years later.

While he was in college, I watched every X game televised. I still watch when I can and follow the team closely. They were chosen as a six seed team to the regional tournament, in Jacksonville, Florida.

We could not believe our luck. X playing right down the road. Scott had an extra ticket to Thursday’s game and offered it to me, but although I was dying to go, it was his sister’s birthday, and my middle son had just had his spring break plans cancelled, so I forfeited my chance to allow Scott to take his brother.

I crossed my fingers that Xavier would win so I could have a second shot at seeing them up close and in person.

Friday morning I bought tickets to the next match-up between X and the Cinderella feel good team of this year’s tournament, Georgia State.

I donned one of the many Xavier t-shirts Scott brought home from school, and we headed down to the arena.

I crossed arms and greeted other X fans outside before the game. Our seats could not have been better. As luck would have it, we were down low near the Xavier tunnel.

I put my phone down after taking a few pictures and I let myself become totally caught up in the game, and the experience. Yes, I yelled, I booed the refs, I cheered and I chanted. I was sitting with my husband and both my boys*
(*young adults) and I was having the time of my life.

When the game ended we stood near the tunnel and I reached out for high fives from the players. They were very gracious to the middle aged woman with the huge grin on her face.

What I learned from all of this was simple: I am able to live in the moment again. I have fewer distractions. I am not responsible for small children. I can selfishly become absorbed in something that I love and I can yell and scream and I don’t care what I look like.

What a gift I received on Saturday. The gift to go back to the pure joy and exuberance of cheering until your hoarse for a game you utterly love.

©annettealaine 2015


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