Monday, March 20, 2006

March Madness

Joseph has been watching the NCAA tournament with amazing interest— despite having shown almost no interest in the basketball hoop that sits dismantled on our back patio, waiting for the snow to melt from our driveway. For spring to take hold.

But he's caught up, and he doesn't want to watch alone.

"Mom, who should I root for? Wichita or Tennessee?"

I stepped into the living room to answer my son, who remained sitting on the floor, eyes glued to the TV, waiting for my response.

"Umm... ahh... I'm thinkin' Wichita because they're a midwestern team. Are they the underdog?"

"Yeah, they're ranked 7th and Tennessee is ranked 2nd. "

"Then definitely Wichita."


He was in. No doubt about it.

But not me. I hadn't followed basketball in many, many years. And never college ball.

It was always the NBA for me.

Beginning over 20 years ago, when I lived just outside of Boston. When the Celtics of my youth and young adulthood -- Dennis "DJ" Johnson, Danny Ainge, Robert "Chief" Parrish, Kevin McHale, and (she takes a breath) Larry Bird -- dominated the game.

That was when there was no "Fleet Center," only the Boston Garden.

Or rather, "The Gahden."

Yeah, I'd been there. More than once. Saw Bird and the rest of that fantastic five play. And if I couldn't be at The Gahden, I watched the boys on TV. And if I couldn't watch, I listened to the gravelly voice of Johnny Most call the game from my car radio. Hanging on every word.

Then, at age 26, I moved to Chicago.

And saw Larry Bird & Company take on Michael Jordan and the Bulls at the Chicago Stadium.

My. God.

Eventually, one by one, those Celtics retired. And the team was just never the same.

Living so far from Boston, and not having cable TV, I rarely saw the Celts anymore.

And bigger things started to happen in my life. I didn't have the time or energy to become emotionally vested in a basketball team (The Red Sox and the Cubs took up about all of the sports love I had left to give.)

So here we are, in the midst of March Madness. Joseph had caught the fever, but really, I had no interest.

Quite frankly, I was a bit annoyed that all of this basketball was pre-empting Survivor for three weeks.

And then something happened. I sat down and watched the rest of that Wichita game with Joseph. My God, those kids could play. And Wichita pulled it out, in amazing fashion. Then we watched the Fighting Illini lose a thrilling game to the Washington Huskies.


But, was I in?

Well, almost.

You see, the next game was Indiana vs Gonzaga (Who?).

No interest.

Though many of you will already know the significance of this game, I was clueless.

As I was leaving the living room, Joseph said:

"Mom, I think I'm goin' for Gonzaga. I know they're not the underdog, but dad doesn't like Indiana, and I like the way these guys are playing."

"Go for it Buddy."

Then I turned to the computer. Figured I'd check in on some blogs. That's when I came across this post.

And caught a breath.

What? Adam Morrison. The star player for Gonzaga. Hailed as possibly "the next Larry Bird."

That alone would be enough. But then...

He has Type 1 Diabetes.

And this young man has had it since he was 14.

The Madness had most certainly taken hold.

And when I shared Morrison's story with Joseph as we watched Gonzaga beat Indiana, he smiled at the fact that both he and this basketball star enjoyed reading, and wore their hair a bit long.

I now had a team (and a player) for whom I could really cheer.

And Joseph? Well, he already had the Madness. But now he had yet another reason to believe he could accomplish anything.

He also had the desire to go outside and shoot hoops.


Kelsey said...

I have Gonzaga winning it all in my bracket and told everyone in the bars this weekend how I was rooting for Adam because of our shared disease :) He's amazing!

Beanie Baby said...


I have to admit I'm not interested in any kind of sports--not even hockey! they're about to throw me out of Canada--but this was a great post.

Kerri. said...

A post about Joseph, Larry Bird, and handsome Adam Morrison?

Don't mind if I do...

Megan said...

Wikipedia did a great job on that article, thanks for sharing.

I wonder how my bracket is doing....

Penny said...

I love this post. I've mentioned basketball quite often in my posts. I'm a huge Duke fan, but Gonzaga is my second favorite and it's all because of Morrison. I was just telling someone yesterday that I know what he lives with on a day to day basis and I'm just in awe that he can play at the level that he plays at and while doing it, he's the leading scorer in the NCAA. That's no small feat diabetes or no diabetes.

I have an Adam Morrison shirt and have told my husband I want to get a Gonzaga shirt this weekend.

Riley likes to watch him play too.

And, Kerri, you think he's handsome. Really?

type1emt said...

I'm not all that into sports either..but well put..
And its always great to see someone else with type 1 kickin' butt.

Johnboy said...

Well, I am into sports and I would otherwise be routing for Duke, which is close by. Now, I'm going to have to switch to Gonzaga for sure.

Thanks for sharing this info, Sandra!

Kerri. said...

Secret Message for Penny - No, I don't. But the word handsome just sort of slipped in as I remembered my tall, No. 33, big white guy named Larry Bi.... hang on. He wasn't handsome either.

My boyfriend is handsome.

The basketball players, though very talented, are kind of odd looking.

Vivian said...

Sandra, you are really talented in writing to make me cry. lol This was good and I am so glad Joseph is excited.

AmyT of said...

Right, Sandra, he's inspirational, even if he does seem to be somewhat obnoxious.

See my related post today :)

Nicole P said...

I think he's handsome -- does that make me some sort of freak?

Penny said...

I think he could be handsome. If he tried to do something to his hair and lost the peach fuzz over his lip. I read an article the other day that said it took him forever to grow his "stach", and he wasn't getting rid of it. Of course, now it's kind of his trade mark. People now wear fake mustaches to games.

No, you're not a freak. I might could see how someone could find him a little attractive. I have a weak spot for tall, gangly guys, but I can't get past the stach.

Penny said...

Sorry about my grammer in the last paragraph. I'm tired. Please forgive me.

Nicole P said...

I'd agree about the fuzz on his lip. But I've seen the before shots of the guy -- he's a real cutie. I'd just have to get him a little drunk and shave the caterpillar. Not a problem.

Martha O'Connor said...

Love Adam M! But.. SO SAD over the Zags' loss to UCLA. I wrote about it today also... :o)