BASKETBALL IS BACK!

bballHowdy!

Basketball is back is finally back! Technically, it’s been back for two months now, but I don’t usually like to count it until college basketball begins. Once I’ve watched my first Butler game, I can officially celebrate it fully!

I made this blog so I could have a safe place to basically unleash anything I thought was important to me, and I’ve had to really figure out if I wanted to do this post. Basketball being at the heart of it, but you will read some bittersweet things too. I just wanted to let it all go and this was the result.


Shameful Beginnings

I like to think how I got into college basketball has a happy storytelling; I feel like I was influenced spiritually by my papaw. I like to tell people who I think he was bored up in heaven and needed somebody to let him watch basketball, so he turned to me because I was the only one that could be open enough to actually watch it. After he died, my family hardly watch a IU or Butler, so when I started, I did like it but I certainly miss the fact that he’s not there watching it on his TV in the kitchen of their house.

I’d really like to say that I felt the most of guilt because of the fact that I never wanted to listen whenever my papaw attempted to teach me the positions and whatnot years ago, but unfortunately it’s not that at all. Although I still feel bad for not allowing him that opportunity, but I think he’d be proud on what I’ve been able to learn on my own and some things that my mom, knows more about basketball then she previously thought, so I think that would make him a happy camper! Basketball has even improve my math too, which kind of still freaks me out, but I’m okay with it.

I started watching college basketball in the 2016-17 season. I literally only had one team but then as the season went on, I did begin to watch some of the other teams in the Big East conference.

A year later, about a month before college basketball was to start I got some unexpected news. Well, it really wasn’t just me, it was the entire family that got the news. On October 22nd, was both a good and also a bittersweet day for me. I found out that I was going to be an aunt for the first time. Now you’re thinking, what could be bad about that? Well, my sister and brother-in-law had been married for about four months and they had basically told us that they were going to wait about 10 years before trying to have children. Selfishly, I was kind of happy about that decision. Here’s why.

As somebody who has a serve physical disability, you are left out on a lot of lifetime experiences. When we were asked in school what we wanted to be when we grew up, everybody had some realistic and sometimes outlandish careers picked out, but I’ve always wanted to be a wife and mother. I think this is because I was around my mom and my nana so much growing up that it’s also been a big interest to me. Honestly, I’ve never really told anybody this, because I didn’t want to pity, but I really want somebody to love me truly and I want to be pregnant, go through labor and delivery, change diapers, give baths, and just love on a small creature that I helped make of my own. So, the fact that this was happening to my sister was pretty devastating to me.

What’s weird about it is that I didn’t necessarily get this feelings when my cousin was pregnant back in 2016 (or when she got married a year later!), mostly because I think she lived somewhat far away and I didn’t really communicate a lot with her. So, her pregnancies have never made me feel sad, it was just my sister and in a way I understood the reasons behind it. So, after she announced to the world that she was pregnant, I remember feeling my heart sink a little, but once I realized that it had done that, I started to layer on the guilt of feeling like that.

Later that night, I thought if college basketball can help me get through my papaw’s death, I was hoping that maybe professional basketball could help me sort out my thoughts of the fact that I will eventually become an auntie, and not a mother myself.

The Definition Of Devotion

I’ll be honest, those nine months were a bitch. My sister had a somewhat complicated pregnancy, mostly with her pain and getting Gestational diabetes towards the end of it. She actually didn’t like being pregnant and she had some problems feeling confident in her own body as well about the prospect of becoming a mother to this small child. She was a mess, and I wasn’t much better.

For a whole month, I had decided to watch about four teams (Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, and Gold State Warriors) but I really didn’t enjoy them, I just watched them to get me out of my head. Every quiet moment had been awful. So many thoughts would come shooting at me from every angle, all of my bad memories would basically come at me hard and those four teams were part of my escape plan at night.

However, the week before the first Butler game was to come on TV, I had watched my first ever Houston Rockets game. They went up against Detroit Pistons and it is the only clear memory I have at that point of time. What I get from that means I probably didn’t watch the others as well as I did this game, because I was so mesmerized on the fact that on each side the players were hitting threes and I was dumbfounded. I’m still mad at myself for never finishing that game, but I was instantly hooked! And then about five  days later, I watched my first Los Angeles Lakers game and again, I was just instantly stuck on these guys.

By the time college basketball was in full swing for the 2017-18 season, I had a total of 10 teams I was watching constantly, hell I would add both Oklahoma City Thunder and Philadelphia 76ers to the list, but not until after Christmas was over. I had a lot of basketball to not only keep me happy but also keep those negative thoughts at bay. It wouldn’t always work, but on the days I really needed it, the sport was there.

Out Of The Ashes

After the championship games were over, I was really worried about what I would do now. I had essentially four months to kill before my nephew would finally be here and I was left to my own devices again and I think that scared me more than anything. By the time, my mom had been told about everything going on with me, she tried her best to comfort me with a whole lot of hugs and wash rags for my nose because it really didn’t matter if it was daylight or not I would just break down.

I’ve never been on antidepressants before this, I feel like I probably should have been on something after I had graduated from high school, and again in 2011, but I was very hesitant about it because I didn’t want to rely on a small pill to help make me feel better, but honestly I had no other options left and I was finally put on my first dose a week after Baby Nolan was born. A part of me was a little mad that we had waited all this time and I started them while he just got here, because I think it would have helped me out a bunch to stop feeling so jealous.

I really love being an auntie to my nephew, which adds to the guilt that I’ve held so deep inside. I’ve never told Blondie or Brandon about all of this before. I could never find the words and I was always afraid they wouldn’t understand or would be angry with me for never saying anything about it (especially my sister), so if they do decide to read this post, I just want to say, I did not plan on this. nobody really does but now that Nolan’s here, I love him dearly and I would do anything for him because I know he’s going to look up to me. He is already learning things that I’ve done in front of him like getting a drink out of my cup. He’s been recorded reaching for his mommy’s frappe once so I’ve already been teaching this little man without really trying and I get so much joy out of being around him. His toothless smiles are intoxicating and I really can’t get enough of it!

Who Am I Watching This Season?

Over the summer, I did something that I never thought I’d ever do. I watched the NBA Draft, NBA Awards and Summer League. Yeah, even my dad was shocked! I mainly watched the Draft because I knew that Villanova was losing four of their best players on the team and I just wanted to know where they were going, so with that being said I now watch the Milwaukee Bucks because that’s where Donte DiVincenzo is playing now. Just for an extra bonus, one of the reasons why I even liked watching the Lakers, Brook Lopez was traded there. I wasn’t originally happy about that piece of news, but I like seeing both of them on the same team now.

When professional basketball started in early October, I had made the decision to cut down on the amount of teams for this season. Since I am increasingly learning more about it in general, I wanted to shrink the list or switch out teams as much as possible. The only one I watch from the original “back up” lineup is the Boston Celtics. I mainly wanted to keep them because I have a “few” favorite players: Jayson Tatum, Aron Hayes, Al Halford (who I tend to get confused with Eric Gordon!), and Gordon Hayward. My dad thinks I like them because their coach Brad Stevens, who is a former head coach of Butler Bulldogs – it’s not true!

When the previous season was dwindling down and LA Lakers weren’t in the playoffs, I had temporary traded them with the 76ers. I really like Joel Embiid and JJ Redick a lot. Ben Simmons isn’t that bad, but he did not deserve that “Rookie Of The Year” award. I can’t wait to see how many other “rookie” players will try to say that in the future. The 76ers is a team that I frequently watch now, but since I’ve only seen probably 8 games total, I don’t have that many thoughts about them yet. Key word: yet.

And finally, I am still watching both the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers. This summer was pretty interesting, I literally watched the NBA Awards in hopes that James Harden would win MVP. I decided to watch that live, but taped it because I’m not an idiot, I fell asleep in the middle of it, so that morning my mom knew who had won but I made her promise not to tell me because I wanted to watch it. I was so happy, but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to get too excited because my dad was asleep in the next room and I didn’t feel like scaring the crap out of him! I also had started following Bleacher Report on Twitter to find out of the different players who were being traded to other teams, and when I saw that Trevor Arzia had signed to Phoenix Suns, I was a bit sad but nothing compared to the nervousness I had at the possibility that Clint Capella could be leaving. Oh my gosh! The day it was announced to resigning with the Rockets was the best! When I saw that, everybody was awake so I was allowed to scream, I was so happy!

Another trade I was upset about, was when Julius Randle left. He was the second person to get me into the Lakers, so the fact that I was now down two out of three was nerve-wrecking. And then on top of that the whole world found out that LeBron James was becoming a Laker. For most people, especially everybody in LA alone, was ecstatic! I was not. It’s shocking that parents, coaches, hell even teachers tell kids everyday that there’s no “I” in team and yet whenever LeBron goes on a team, he’s #1 and everybody else is just a shadow behind him. The reason why I wasn’t thrilled about this, is because I liked the fact that it was the team of youngsters. You have Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart that are all under the age of 25 and they all have real potential to lead a team, and yet now the spotlight doesn’t really shine on them as much anymore.

If you’re wondering about who the final player that got me interested in this team was Ingram, so imagine my face when he shoved James Harden on their first game of the new season. Yeah, I was actually enjoying it until that happened and all hell broke loose afterwards. My heart hurt as it was happening and I was glad that I had recorded the game instead of watching it live or I would have probably been in tears. If you’re reading this part, and assuming that the only reason why I could have done that because I have a crush on Ingram, Harden or any other of the players, you obviously didn’t read the post all the way through.

As far as college basketball goes, I am still and probably always going to watch Butler. Although, I am going to have to get a new shirt as I’ve officially outgrown it. Nolan has finally worn his Butler onesie already, but whether or not he can fit into is debatable, so it might be time for the both of us to get new outfits! And I will watch both Xavier and Villanova every once in a while; I actually don’t care to watch Nova during the Big East conferences, because they are really my team’s enemy. I admire them and practically know everybody’s names and numbers now, but I know better to root for anybody that could make them lose a game!


I feel the need to apologize for the long post, but there was a lot to get out and I thought it would be better to get everything out in one go, so the fact that I’m over 2,000+ words was definitely not planned by any means! I would like to say that if you have read the whole thing, kudos to you for getting through it. Now that everything is out in the open, maybe I can just enjoy being an auntie and watching basketball in all forms! 🙂

snowflake

Why Basketball?

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Howdy!

There are some days I wish I could go back in time and smack myself upside the head. I’ve been wanting to do it a lot lately, I’m not going to lie! One of the reasons why I want to do this is because I still have memories of being in the kitchen at my grandparent’s house, I’d be watching my papaw just sit silently–or in some cases yelling or cursing at the TV–while he watched a basketball game. The thought of seeing my papaw resting his elbows up on the table, his hands clutched together and face glued to the screen is still so adorable to me. I don’t think he even knew we were there sometimes because he was so into it.

I never once thought I’d be like that. Whenever I was in high school, yes, I did enjoy going to games but I figured since I didn’t know what exactly they were doing, I shouldn’t be counted as a fan.

When it was football season I would parallel park my wheelchair against the wired fence that separated the sidewalk and bleachers to the black track and football yard on the other side. I was smart with my placement. I could see the players, cheerleaders and anybody going up to their seats above. It was the ultimate spot.

In August, everybody would be wearing T-shirts and shorts because of the summer heat, but towards the end of September and throughout October, you wore hoodies and blue jeans to help stay warm from the cold breeze. I would be lying if I didn’t mention, I was in two layers on both upper and lower halves, but I wore only one pair of socks so I could still grip my controller with my foot and a blanket on my lap for good measure. I was determined to never go home early because I was too cold. If everybody else can make it through, so could I.

Whenever it was basketball season, I had another lucky seat. I wouldn’t parallel park to the bleachers per se, but I would get so close that anybody that sat above me would ask me if they could put their bags underneath my chair to protect it. I don’t believe those “court side seats” would ever be handicapped accessible. Why? Well, just because I was by the bleachers doesn’t make it safer. I’ve had basketballs (and volleyballs) thrown in my direction and one or two players have passed me in a very fast pace. No injuries to either party, but still it’s the fear that lives in the depths of my being and I’d never want to experience that again!

However, there was one game that still lives on in my mind. During my Junior year of high school, we had a sectional game at home. I was escorted to the space in between the extra set of bleachers. I was confused because my normal spot wasn’t occupied or anything, but I guess since all four of us in wheelchairs decided to turn out to the game that night that we’d get special seating. For the most part, it wasn’t that bad. I remember taking a lot of pictures with my friends and I sat next to a very nice lady, a grandmother of a basketball player on the other team. Everything was going good until the first quarter started to dwindle down. I knew from experience that when the players chances of scoring was fading, they’ll throw that ball to whatever side they need to, to get that point.

And then a fear came over me.

We were in the worst seating imaginable. We were right behind the damn basket.

Once I made this assessment, I began to freak out mentally and sweat started to appear  down my back from second quarter to the end of the game. By the time my mom came to pick us up later that night, I had my sister take off my varsity jacket that I had on all night and I never felt so relaxed in the cold temperature in my life. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you whether or not we won, but you can’t necessarily blame me.

The last high school game I ever went to was sometime in 2012. One of the bigger reasons why it’s been so long is because I don’t know anybody playing now. I’m also a bit afraid to see the “friends” that I used to hang out with in school, but I think I’m just afraid I’d act like we are fine and no harm done, when that’s far from the truth. So I’ve found an alternative route, and I find it really odd it would show up around the time my papaw passes away.

In November of 2016, I just had this strong feeling to watch a Butler game. Maybe I was missing my papaw or it was papaw who just wanted to watch a basketball game from heaven, who really knows!

I knew there was one on because I had seen it all over Facebook earlier that day but since my dad hadn’t watched a basketball game since the previous season, he was having the toughest time trying to find out what channel this game would be on. It took three people and two TVs to search for it. We never did find the game, but I started scrolling through the sport channels on the guide–something that I never did before I might add–and I ended up finding over four channels that I actually played Butler games. I was even impressed with myself!

I watched the crap ton of college basketball in 2016-17 season. I watched most of the games that appeared on FS1 and I even watched the two out of three games the Bulldogs played against Villanova (and won!). Beating out a #1 team always makes you feel good, for both the player and fans too! I went on to watching March Madness, which was that, absolute madness! I watched more games than I had most of the week. Everyday there was a different game and I basically let it consume me for a while. Even after Butler was done for the season, I continued to watch and was impressed by some of the other teams in the tournament.

When March Madness was over, I was a little crushed.

Now what the hell was going to do?

I had watched basketball for five straight months. I felt empty in a way, and then of course I found the NBA playoffs and then I was fine again!

Since I’ve never watched a professional basketball game before, I didn’t necessarily side with either team. I just went by whatever location they were in. I ended up watching majority of the playoffs and even the final game. I was glad that the Warriors had won, but I was even happier to finally go to bed that night too!

And then I was back to feeling gloomy because now I knew basketball was definitely over.

When August came around though, I don’t think I lasted long when I bravely asked my mom when college basketball started back up! If it wasn’t for Blondie’s wedding, I probably would have asked that question sooner, but I was good I kept it to myself for another month.

What’s crazy though is that instead of obsessing over college basketball this season, I’ve been watching a LOT of the NBA! I was only going to watch Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavilers, and San Antonio Spurs but somehow I started getting into Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, and Oklahoma City Thunder. I don’t know how that part happened, but I’m not complaining considering I’m starting to learn names on the Celtics, Lakers, and Rockets team. Since my birthday landed on a Wednesday last year, my own birthday gift to myself was getting through the two games that played that night, but Christmas was even better as I even watched four out of the five games!

Don’t worry, I’m still watching Butler. I’ve even started watching over college teams. I had only watched one IU game in the 2016-17 season, and I didn’t even watch any of Purdue games, but this year I have seen four of Purdue and I want to say two of Indiana games. I’ve watched a lot of the pre-season games of Duke, Seton Hall, Xavier, and even Villanova too!

What has always bothered me is that I still have quite a bit of people who think I am only watching basketball because I must think somebody on the team is cute. In high school, yes, this was the way I worked, but considering I’m watching over eight teams I don’t think this assumption works for this! Although there is one professional player I do like, but he is not the reason why I have continued to watch his team play, however it is a perk!

I think the main reason why I’ve felt the need to smack myself though is because why didn’t I pay attention more to whenever papaw would explain the different positions and terms. Thank god for my mom as she’s been helping me a bit. I have been trying to really pay attention to the announcers so I think I can safely say I am learning, but I just wish I had done it while my papaw was alive. I think he would still be proud of me anyways!

snowflake

Dear Papaw

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I decided to write this post earlier because I figured as the day got closer I wouldn’t be able to find the right words and I also used the Butler Bulldogs game against Xavier to help keep me focused on this too! 

Dear Papaw,

Today will be the one year anniversary of your death and I am sitting on the edge of my bed watching Butler going up against Xavier right now. I’ve watched so many basketball games in these past few months that I surprised I don’t know more of what’s going on within the actual game! I don’t exactly know who to throw the blame on because something tells me if you ever tried to teach me any basketball terms, I may not had been a willing participant! So this is my own fault!

I’ve been pretty proud the team though. They’ve kicked Villanova’s ass, who is #1 in the Big East conference (is that right?), twice this season. Once in November and the other this past month. I remember because I watched both, the first game was the one I watched for the very first time since you’ve been gone, which mom and dad seemed to think was cute! However, I cannot wear my actual Butler shirts on the days they play because in the last two games, they’ve lost, so no more of that until the season is over.

I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve turned your cabinet in the kitchen into my little storage area. Nana and I are only using one section, so don’t worry! I read your Smithsonian magazines and we store them in there! Your railroad magazines go into your bookshelves. I’ve also been using your room a bit too! The next time David comes down, nana’s going to get him (or Laurie) to put the typewriter into your room by the vent for my project.

You wouldn’t want to see your room, it’s a mess! However, if you were to compare yours up against mine, I’m pretty sure we’d be even! You can still see the green carpet and walk through without having that much of a difficulty! Other than that, it has a LOT of stuff around, but everything has a reason to be in there. Nana cleaned the “organ” desk and I arranged most of your family’s books  into the bottom area. I have never felt more like Superman than at that moment! You would have grabbed every single book off of my shin and put into that section yourself if you saw how far out I was sitting on my seat!

If you think your bed got a little bit smaller, it sort of did. Emily and Brandon’s “puppy” Chipper peed on it and Emily, Brandon, and mom took the mattress outside and I think mom washed your IU blanket that evening. Everything’s good now, except for the fact you’re missing a mattress!

You would love Chipper! I think you would be kind of scared of him, but don’t worry I have daydreams of the dog running up on me and basically colliding into me on accident and I end up in the ER with a dislocated shoulder or something, because he’s not small like ChiChi. Oh, no! Chipper is a pit bull, like Chancey and I’m betting you’d treat him just like you did with both Casey and Chance! Why did we name all of our animals in a “C” by the way? That’s like a question, you can ask your relatives up there, why is there a lot of “E” and “L” names in the family?

We’re at nine minutes into the game and Xavier is kicking our butts! It’s not by much though, so we could still take this!

I wanted to tell you that I think you’ve been recraninated into a hawk or maybe a buzzard, anything that soars over my head, confuses me now! Anyways, the day you passed when we went to the hospital and drove back home, I saw over 30 hawks in different places; whether they were flying around or sitting in trees or lamp posts, they were around. As most of the family was thinking you had something to do with the weather, which makes sense since you liked to shake the mini snow globe in the kitchen on the days that mom had to go to work the next day, we drove in both sunshine and snow flurries! I went another route, I thought since you always saw a hawk on the way to the hospital and back home when I was about to be born. I thought you had turned into a hawk.

You now have a hawk like across the street, it has a nice, big nest in the tree next to the house with that fenced-in area where those dogs used to live and bark like they didn’t have a care in the world! I saw it one afternoon and I had mom take pictures of it!

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I don’t where you are, you might be up in heaven or you’ve turned into a hawk. Who knows, but you know half of your family is a comedian so you know this was coming one way or another! I can’t do nothing else, but this for you. You’d rather hear about the happy times and how well Butler is playing than anything else anyways! Oh, and the reason why I haven’t discussed any of the IU games is because, I haven’t seen a single game, except for that one but that was on accident. Mom sat on the remote and she found it and that score, if I remember correctly wasn’t pretty by any means! We’re all in agreement that you were a big party in heaven when the IU coach was fired last week!

Kelan Martin just put a three pointer in the last few seconds of the first half! Hopefully, they’ll continue to do good as the second half starts.

Okay, I’m going to end this here. I think I’ve said a lot the what, twenty minutes? You know me well enough, that in of itself is a lot, even for me! I hope you continue to watch over us, but not haunt us! You can visit in our dreams, but don’t scare the crap out of us, like you were known to do here! I don’t know if I can handle another one of those types of dreams again!

I love you lots!

Meg-HAN! Your “cool” granddaughter 😀

Written on February 26, 2017 – Butler won against Xavier (89-77)  and completed on March 19, 2017!