Overdose of swag

I watched a whole lotta college basketball yesterday and saw some amazing plays. My absolute favorite, though, came in the Michigan – Houston game last night. Michigan was behind 63-61 with 3.4 seconds left. Michigan inbounded the ball and got it to Jordan Poole, a freshman player I’d all game referred to as Shorty Shorts, who threw up a 3-point shot to beat the buzzer.

Here he is just after releasing the ball and then being chased by ecstatic teammates:

The craziest 3-point shooting form ever.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When asked about the unlikelihood of his freshman player who hadn’t scored in the second half making that shot, Michigan coach Jim Beilein said that Jordan Poole has “an overdose of swag.” He said Jordan makes buzzer beaters in practice all the time and that he dreams of making them in games.

Well, that dream came true. And if it took an overdose of swag to achieve it, then sign me up. I’m officially adopting some of that swag.

Listen up

Tonight Zippy, Wildebeest, Zebu, and I are going to watch the Nuggets play the 76ers. I’m excited because one of my favorite former Michigan State players, Gary Harris, plays for the Nuggets. Also, I love basketball.

However, that excitement doesn’t mean I won’t be packing a pen and notebook. Yes, I’m a basketball fan. But I’m also a writer who likes to be prepared, and as Tom Waits says: Any place is good for eavesdropping, if you know how to eavesdrop.

Even a basketball arena.

Thankful Thursday

  1. I am almost finished with revisions and will send off manuscript tomorrow.
  2. My smiling, happy Emma dog and I had a nice run around the neighborhood after I finished working for the day.
  3. Zippy vacuumed while Emma and I were out running.
  4. Michigan State is up by 20 over Notre Dame at the half.
  5. I can still feel gratitude in the face of so many scary-difficult realities in the world.                                                                                                                                                           

Documenting my bracketology wizardology UPDATED

As of this moment (6:32 p.m. MT), my bracket ranking looks like this:

It’s hard to read, so allow me to highlight a pertinent detail:

This means that my bracket is better than 99.7 percent of the tournament brackets. Woot!

I’m posting this here and now because I’m pretty sure I’m about to fall in the standings. I have Oregon beating Kansas, and that’s just crazy. After watching Kansas play their last two games, I’m thinking they’re gonna keep on winning. As in, the whole shebang.

But at this moment in time, I look pretty damned smart.

UPDATE:
Well, the Oregon Ducks did, indeed, beat the Kansas Jayhawks. My bracket ranking is now this:

I’m in the 99.9 percentile which, according to Zippy, means my bracket is on a par with roughly 14,000 other elite brackets. WOOT!

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Don Draper would’ve done it better

I don’t watch much network television so usually avoid commercials. But because I’m all about March Madness, I am now, unfortunately, also all about commercials.

Which is how I know that there’s a pharmaceutical targeted at those with opioid-induced constipation.

Granted, it’s a tough sell. Still, I have to believe Don would’ve found a way to inject some magic into the ad campaign.

 

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How to multi-task during March Madness

Today is the first day of March Madness which means basketball ALL DAY LONG. And I confess that I’ll watch these games ALL DAY LONG. However, I got up and got some stuff done before the tournament started. I did maintenance on my two worm bins (mite infestation YUCK) and worked on my writing project. But since then I’ve been parked in front of the television, switching between games (where there have already been two nail-biters, yo). In my defense, I am multi-tasking.

Here I am shredding newspaper for the worm bins. Not only does it relieve some guilt regarding the time I devote to watching men’s college basketball, it turns out that ripping paper into strips is a good way to let off steam when the team I’m rooting for is behind.

Shred on.

 

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It’s a family affair

Yesterday morning, Wildebeest woke up early to drive the six hours back home. At the same time, Zebu was on a flight out of London to Denver. Wildebeest got here an hour before Zebu landed at the airport.

Zippy and I haven’t seen either of them since mid-August and we all have lots of catching up to do. In the last 24 hours, there have been many overlapping conversations and bursts of laughter. Both sons are introducing new topics to the discussions, touching on the lives they’re now living, but we also keep to our usual “script” which includes Arrested Development references and cat jokes. And basketball. Always basketball in the script.

basketball-1288961_640

This morning it was a spirited debate re Michael Jordan vs LeBron James as Best Player of All Time. We’ve also discussed the way college player Grayson Allen trips other players as compared to Golden State Warrior Draymond Green’s kicking players in the crotch, and who deserves to be suspended. Right now, one of Zebu’s high school basketball teammates is here and they’re talking about basketball intramural games at their respective colleges.

Basketball. Basketball. Basketball.
A familiar song I’m happy to hear.

 

 

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My good, bad, and ugly

Today we pulled the plug on our telephone land line (I know, I know) and our television/cable. That felt really good. We now have an antenna and streaming service to cover our various viewing habits. (Note: we just watched a couple minutes of college basketball and, oh my, the clarity brought tears to my eyes. Also? Jim Boeheim somehow looks even more grumpy in high definition.)

We didn’t cut the internet service yet because we want to get everything in place with new email addresses first, plus I need to go through my 5000+ email inbox to delete and save accordingly. Oh, joy.

And even though I’m not looking forward to that task, I’m pleased we’re enough on top of things here at the ol’ homestead that we didn’t totally eff up that transition. Too bad I can’t say the same for cutting the cable cord. We just discovered that FX isn’t part of the streaming package we bought which means that I can’t finish watching the excellent BETTER THINGS starring Pamela Adlon (who co-created and writes it with Louis C.K.)

better-things-image

I was stupidly savoring the episodes rather than inhaling them in one sitting. And now I can’t finish the season. I’d classify that as very sad-bad news.

Wouldn’t you know the one time evil Comcast immediately responds to my request, it’s to disconnect my service?!

 

 

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Familial Points of Intersection

      

I share a home with three males,
and often feel odd-person-out.
Males and females are different in many ways,
and I'm not just talking an appreciation of farts.

In addition to the gender gap there are also generational divides
between Zippy and me, and our teenage sons.
Oldsters and youngsters don't always have the same outlooks,
and not just because certain people can stay up all night.

There's also the whole issue of us being individuals,
which fosters our unique perspectives on the world.

When I think about it this way, it's nearly a miracle
the four of us can agree on anything.
But we do.
And on days of particularly bumpy familial relations
(I'm looking at you, Today!),
I find it helpful to reflect on the list of our shared interests:

1)  All four of us love Arrested Development!

2)  All four of us love The Clash!

3)  All four of us love Indian food!

4)  All four of us love March Madness!

If you were to draw a Venn Diagram of this household,
those would be the four major points of intersection 
between Zippy, Wildebeest, Zebu, and me.

And as you know, we are now in the month of March
which means we can focus on our shared passion for non-stop college basketball.

Save this family, March Madness!

                   
  

Thankful Thursday: Zebu

I am thankful in many Zebu-related ways, including . . .

Last Friday Zebu and team were on bus coming home from basketball game, everyone singing, when a freshman vomited all over and everyone moved as far away as possible, except Zebu who stayed and held a bag while the boy continued to get sick.

On Tuesday I received a call from the school trainer saying I needed
to take Zebu for x-rays because he’d hurt his elbow in practice but
after rushing to school and then to doctor’s, the x-rays showed no breaks!

Last night when I was in bed reading a book, Zebu came upstairs to ask if we could pick up his friend who’d been in a fight with his father and gotten kicked out, and so we drove around until we found him and then Zebu grabbed his heartbroken friend in a hug to let him know how much he is loved.

It’s been tough this past month but I am exceedingly grateful Zebu has
his friends and teachers. Being a teenager can be so very difficult
and I am thankful Zebu has support which allows him to navigate these years with kindness and dignity.

image from morguefile.com

 

Thankful Thursday: Zebu

           

I am thankful in many Zebu-related ways, including . . .

Last Friday Zebu and team were on bus coming home from basketball game,
everyone singing, when a freshman vomited all over and everyone moved as
far away as possible, except Zebu who stayed and held a bag while
the boy continued to get sick.

On Tuesday I received a call from the school trainer saying I needed
to take Zebu for x-rays because he'd hurt his elbow in practice but
after rushing to school and then to doctor's, the x-rays showed no breaks!

Last night when I was in bed reading a book, Zebu came upstairs to ask if we
could pick up his friend who'd been in a fight with his father and gotten kicked out,
and so we drove around until we found him and then Zebu grabbed his heartbroken friend 
in a hug to let him know how much he is loved.

It's been tough this past month but I am exceedingly grateful Zebu has
his friends and teachers. Being a teenager can be so very difficult 
and I am thankful Zebu has support which allows him to navigate these years
with kindness and dignity.

  
                                                                                image from morguefile.com

                  

Jumping into a New Year

 

HAPPY 15TH BIRTHDAY, ZEBU!



                                                                                                                    Photos by Wildebeest
 

 
Zebu, you’ve got mad hops.
Even if the rim was lowered.
 
Here’s to lots more joy and basketball . . .
 
             

Setting Goals and Reaching Them

                      

Just found out that Zebu made the junior varsity basketball team for summer league.


                                                                                    image from morguefile.com

The boy is a work horse.
Not naturally gifted, but an incredibly hard worker who went after what he wanted.

I could learn a lot from him.
           

Friday Five: The March Madness Edition

      

1) Yesterday Zippy, Wildebeest, Zebu, and I watched four men’s college basketball games
from our seats in the rafters and

 
2) had great fun
 
3) despite the sound of our brackets exploding with upsets (we’re looking at you, Louisville!),
 
4) and are now looking forward to Gonzaga beating BYU on Saturday 
 
5) because in our collective opinion, BYU’s only redeeming quality is having female cheerleaders 
who sometimes do back-flips when a player makes a free-throw.

   

                                                    image from morguefile.com


Keep your eyes on those dreams and have a grand weekend!  

               

                  

Friday Five: The Numbers Edition

              

I’ve invited these big, friendly numbers to help me quantify this week . . .


                                                               image from morguefiles.com

1)  I’m writing my new book 500-words per day. 

2)  I’m reading an incredible book about the 60s: COUNTDOWN by Deborah Wiles.

3)  Wildebeest is shooting for a 3.7 GPA this semester, and thinks he’ll
achieve it by "not screwing around on my elective."

4)  After a three-game dry spell, Zebu scored 13 points in his basketball
game on Wednesday.

5)  Right now there’s sunshine, and we’re supposed to hit 50 degrees later today.

Wishing everyone a numerically- satisfying weekend!

                

Basketball Jones

             

Zebu is now a high school freshman 
and on the basketball team.

Last night was his first game, but I wasn’t there.
Zebu was a bit nervous and told Zippy and me
it would be better if we didn’t attend.

Wildebeest (junior) went to the game
along with three friends.

Apparently they yelled and cheered for everything
Zebu did on the court, and he played a great game.

He said he wants Wildebeest & Co at every game.


                                                                              Image from morguefiles.com

There has been a HUGE shift in their relationship,
and I think it’s because they’re in high school together.
Somehow that’s equalized their kinship,
and now they truly enjoy each other’s company.

I wanted to share this because I know some of you despair
that your younger children will ever be friends.
There’s no guarantee they will, of course, but it doesn’t hurt
for me to dangle some hope.

The hope that someday things would be better
got me through some difficult times with those boys.
                             

March Madness: Bracket Explosion

            

Today’s games and results did serious damage to my brackets.
That bums me out a bit.

But I can’t hold a grudge against Washington for sticking it to New Mexico.
Out of all the games I’ve watched over the past three days
(and I’ve watched LOTS),
I’m most impressed with Washington.

I’m going to make a crazy prediction:
The Washington Huskies are going to the finals.


           

Basketball Jones

          

Zebu had a game last night,
the first in the end-of-season tournament.

I did not go.
I am so glad I did not go.

Zebu’s team won but the opposing team and opposing team’s "grown-ups"
apparently behaved atrociously.

Blatant fouls.
Poor sportsmanship.
Shouts and jeers.
Taunting.
Pounding hands and stomping feet during free throws.
Overall ass-hattery.

As Zebu, Wildebeest, and Zippy described the game,
I kept saying, "No way.  They did not do that."
Especially in regards to the parents’ behavior.

I’m not sure why I’m sharing these details.
Maybe I’m hoping one of you has a magic remedy for dealing with this stuff
since Zebu plans to play basketball in high school,
and I’ll undoubtedly be faced with more of the same.

Have you encountered this during your kids’ sporting events?
If so, how do you cope?
            

Confession time

          

Way back when in high school I tried out for the basketball team.
Despite being one of the tallest girls in the school and quite athletic,
I didn’t make the cut.
(Did I mention I also had a bit of an attitude and a big mouth?)  


(This is the 2006 Canadian team)

So instead of basketball, I curled for two seasons.
And guess what?
I was really good.
I got to be the skip.
The skip tells the others where to throw their stones 
and when to sweep.

In other words, I got to boss people around.

I like to point that out whenever I hear someone dissing shuffle board on ice.

            

Of Balls and Pens

   

Zebu found out he didn’t make the "gold" team in basketball
and is quite disappointed.
I ache for him because I know what that feels like to work hard
but still not reach a goal.

Yesterday we went out and shot 100 free throws each,
alternating sets of ten.
He made 74 out of one hundred.
I made 56.

I said, "Hey, at least I’m better than Shaq."
Zebu said, "I think he shoots 57%."
(I just looked it up and his career average is only 53%.  Take that!)

This morning I went out to shoot another 100,
positive I’d do better than yesterday.
Because, you know, practice always makes you better.

I made 44 out of 100.
I felt pretty cruddy as I missed shot after shot. 
In fact, I wanted to quit early on when in one set I only made 3 of 10.
But I kept pushing through to the end.
And eventually attempted the hundredth shot.

Did I then proclaim "Free at last!"
and head inside for the couch?

No.

Something inside me wouldn’t quit, and I kept on shooting.
And this time I made 56 out of 100.
Same as yesterday.

So does this mean that this morning’s first 100 free throws were a waste of time?
Does it mean I didn’t improve at all?
I don’t know.
On paper, I didn’t do any better than yesterday.

In basketball as in writing, there are no guarantees.
The only thing I know for sure is that if I don’t keep writing,
I will not improve my craft.
And the same is probably true for my free throw percentage.

Either way, just like with those free throws and me,
something inside won’t let me quit writing.
So I might as well get better while I’m at it.
            

SPARTANS!

Okay, so Michigan State won against UConn. 
Which means I jumped from 67th place in the Bransford Blog Challenge
up to 12th place.

It feels good being on the front page for once.

I love me some scrappy basketball!!!

UPDATE:  Because UNC won, I’m now in 7th place.
According to my resident number crunchers, only one person can win besides me.

GO SPARTANS!!!