Saturday, March 11, 2006

It Was a Very Bad Surprise

I like to think that I carry little pieces of other people’s perspectives around with me, that knowing someone and appreciating appealing pieces of their personalities is a gift that I can continue to cherish, even if they’re no longer in my life.

When we lived in Detroit, in the late 60’s-early 70’s, I became great friends with Vicki G. We had lots in common: we lived in the same high-rise apartment on the edge of downtown and our husbands were young professionals, overworked, struggling to achieve, and away from their families many more hours than most men their ages. But most of all, Vicki and I had our darling children: her Davey was several months older than my daughter, A, so we would often babysit for each other, giving each of us time away from otherwise cooped-up lives.

Vicki had a great sense of humor and liked to find special girley presents for A. Perhaps the best one was the pink plastic teething toy that Davey gave A. It was a giant engagement ring, replete with an encased liquid filled sparkley "diamond.” We’d put the 6-month-old infants down on their tummies to stare at each other and make great exertions to reach their shared assortment of toys; the engagement ring was one of their favorites.

It was from Vicki that I picked up using the term, “trick” to describe new developmental milestones. For example, “Davey’s newest trick is turning over on his belly!” or “Guess what? A has a new trick: she grabbed the ring away from Davey for a change!”

Since then, I’ve found that all new parents connect with that term and I often ask a woman at her 6-week-postpartum check what new tricks her baby is doing. Inevitably, she understands the shorthand and happily launches into great detail about the "clever” (another Vicki term) things that her baby does.

But the Vicki-ism that applies to my life today is “It was a very bad surprise.” Vicki would use that whenever Davey or A hurt themselves. I continued to use it with both A and P and even use it with Johan now. (Although I’ve discovered that he doesn’t even want me to characterize his bad experience, as though he needs to own it all himself.)

The very bad surprise in my world today is that our splendid University of Illinois Basketball Team lost to Michigan State last night at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. Dennis and I were there to witness the ignominy. If there were ever a perfect depiction of the expression, “Third time is a charm,” this was it, as the Illini defeated the Spartans twice in the last few months. Michigan State finally figured out a great defense that worked. Of course, it didn’t help the U of I’s cause that there were several crucial fumbles, miscues and general inattention to the game plan, as all of the above contributed to the unexpected loss.

However, Tom Izzo is one of my favorite coaches and his team has had an unusually frustrating season, so this truly was a case of the best team winning.

Dennis and I were fortunate enough to unload our remaining tournament tickets for $50 under face value and then had the delightful surprise that our hotel wouldn’t charge us a cancellation fee, so we came back home this morning. I’m getting ready to watch Michigan State take on Iowa in a little while, simultaneously doing loads of laundry, so it’s turned out to be a perfectly OK Saturday.

Nevertheless, it was a very bad surprise.


At 3/12/2006 1:29 PM, Blogger Sara said...

I had to scold the sports editor last night for making fun of my alma mater, Vandy, who lost to LSU the other night in the Big 12 (I think it's the Big 12, I don't know that much about basketball, really). It's just a matter of loyalty...blind loyalty, lol. That, and I work with too many LSU alumni/fans who need to be taken down a few pegs. I think I'm going to dress my desk in black and gold, with obvious signs of Vandy, as they might confuse the object of my zeal with the New Orleans Saints, who are just a ridiculously baaaaad football team.

At 3/13/2006 7:15 PM, Blogger theactivesoul said...

The Girl,

Vanderbilt and LSU are in the Southeastern Conference (or "SEC" for short). I had the privilege of watching your Commodores get the tar beat out of them by Kentucky in Lexington a few years ago.

For the record, the Big 12 conference consists of teams from mostly southern and western plains states like Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Colorado.

At 3/16/2006 9:55 AM, Blogger Kathryn said...

Thanks to P's (and it seems your entire family's) enthusiasm for college basketball, I too have been drawn into the excitment of March Madness...I've even entered our office pool. And of course, I now watch Illinois with great interest. I wouldn't have guessed I would become a basketball fan, and yet, here I am.

At 3/17/2006 5:54 AM, Blogger Rosellen said...

There's something about the speed, grace and skill of college basketball that fascinates me. It doesn't hurt to have a coach who says exactly what he thinks in a hard-working, blue-collar sort of way, either.

If the Illini make it to the Sweet Sixteen Tournament, I'm going to wear my newest pieces of orange to work next Thursday--orange shoes.


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