Happy March, sports fans! — and hello, everyone else. As always, March brings us the NCAA basketball tournament, the start of baseball season, some college lacrosse, and leads us into the Masters. Isn’t it nice to have a little routine and normalcy as the rest of the world seems to be in shambles?
Gosh, how old am I? When did I turn into my grandfather?
Anyway, in celebration of spring sports (and warm weather!), I would like to treat you to the “play-by-play” — and that’s being generous — of a basketball game I recently played with Nate. Keep in mind we have a small basement and an even smaller attention span. Also, keep in mind that I am a far better athlete than Nate is. Just thought I should remind people.
So, read this with the same enthusiasm that Bill Raftery and Gus Johnson would. After all, potential NBA careers and a national title are on the line! Or at least my sanity is. Enjoy!
Gus Johnson: Here we are down in the basement with Nate and Erin as they attempt to play basketball together. A lot of excitement in the air! This should be a great game!
Bill Raftery: That’s right, Bill! Sam’s asleep, so Nate has at least two solid hours of his mom’s undivided attention — definitely more than enough time for a mother-son basketball game with a three year-old. No time-outs! No time-outs here!
GJ: This should be absolutely painful for Erin!
BR: Putting the madness back in March, Bill!
GJ: Yep, you’re right. First big challenge of the game: Nate has to find the ball!
BR: Not sure why he doesn’t see it. Erin’s giving pretty detailed directions.
Erin: Right there, Nate….on the floor…next to the green bucket.
Nate: Where, Mom?
Erin: Right there, Nate….on the floor…next to the green bucket.
Erin: Right there. On the floor. Next to the green bucket.
BR: Bill, that ball is the size of a jack-o-latern! That boy might need to get his eyes checked.
GJ: Look at him, circling around, searching up in the sky! How could he possibly think a basketball could be suspended in the air like that? The officials may have to call this one a forfeit.
BR: The win would go to Mom!
GJ: Oh, no. I don’t think she ever wins.
BR: Well, she’s certainly not winning this battle.
Erin: See the green bucket? Look next to it….on the floor. The floor is down. Look down.
BR: Bill, I can actually see her sanity slipping away.
GJ: She’s not getting any smarter, that’s for sure. I hear she used to be literate, though.
Nate: I found it! Here it is, Mom!
Erin: I know.
BR: Well, that took him over two minutes to locate that ball, Bill.
GJ: Don’t I know it, Gus. Painful for the fans to watch, really.
BR: You know, I bet Mom could have unloaded the dishwasher in that time. Or maybe even started to fold that load of laundry that sits in the dryer.
GJ: [chuckling] Oh, I’m sure that thought crossed her mind. Several times. But you know what they say.
BR: What’s that, Bill?
GJ: Good moms have dirty laundry, sticky floors, and happy kids.
BR: Well, then these kids must be partying like it’s 1999 on a pretty regular basis — did you see the size of that blue stain on the carpet? What was that? And the dog hair all over the sofa? Repulsive.
GJ: I was just wondering why there were smoothie stains on the steps up to the second floor.
BJ: Well, at least she has their dinners planned out for the next nine days.
GJ: Gus, if we’re being honest, that actually makes me a bit sad.
BR: Priorities, Bill, priorities! Kids gotta eat.
GJ: And here we are with the tip! The game is finally under way!
BR: Not sure why he had to sort those matchbox cars just now. I mean, what’s the point of putting all those red ones into that shoe box?
GJ: Ah, pre-game rituals, Gus. Must be superstitious. First possession of the game goes to Nate! Whoops! — and he immediately loses it as he places the ball on the floor next to his wooden train puzzle.
Nate: Look, Mom! A cricket! What’s he saying to me?
Erin: It’s a cricket. He’s not saying anything.
Nate: Yeah, but what’s he saying to me?
Erin: Ok, fine. He’s saying, “Oh my gosh, Nate! Please don’t kill me!”
Nate: [excessively dramatic and sympathetic] Awww. He’s so little. I love him. And I love my monkey. And I love Sam. And Tighe. And Wally. And you, Mom! You’re so pretty.
GJ: And they’re hugging! You don’t often see opposing players embracing during a game, Gus.
BR: Nope, you don’t, Bill! In fact, the officials seem to be debating whether to call a foul there.
GJ: Can we get a rule check? This is a lot of contact!
Nate: Mom! Let’s be minions!
BR: Are minions eligible to play according to NCAA regulations, Bill?
Nate: Mom, where’s my water? I need a snack now.
BR: A snack! That’s tremendous — this kid is incredible! It’s half time! Let’s talk about what each team needs to do to win in the second half.
GJ: Well, Nate should actually maintain possession of the ball. Maybe take a few shots. He’s shooting zero for zero at the moment, Bill. And Erin certainly has the height advantage, even on her knees.
BR: Yes, she’s just been reaching up and dunking with relative ease — nothing but nylon! And rebounding has been no problem for her — there’s really no defense at all, Gus.
GJ: Alright, let’s get back to it! Here comes Nate, the little guy! Like he’s been here before!
BR: He’s gonna need to foul here to try and take the lead! For all the marbles!
GJ: Nope, he’s trying on football helmets in the corner, Bill!
BR: Oh, football helmets! This is one tough kid!
GJ: Do you hear what I hear, Bill? A baby crying!
BR: Whoa! Uh-oh, oh no! Sam’s awake!
GJ: And that can only mean one thing — lunchtime! Tremendous!
BR: Whoa! Lunch time! Yes! Onions! Double order!
GJ: Actually, I think they’re having peanut butter, Bill. And baby carrots! And my scouting report says Sam loves strawberries.
BR: Yes! Strawberries! The little guy! Knocking ‘em down big time!
GJ: Nate’s downing the apple slices now like he really wants it! What a shot! He’s gonna do it himself!
BR: Look out these crackers! All on his own! Look at the contesting!
GJ: Rise and fires off the top of the plate, NO!
BR: Oh, baby!
GJ: Erin, in the corner, folding that basket of clean clothes!
BR: Get the lingerie off the deck! Whew — explosive!
GJ: Eleven to go…oh, no! Will she bring out some shamrock cookies? Oh, baby, that’ll do it!
BR: Whoa! Wow! What a lunch!
GJ: She screens, she moves, I’ve never seen anything like it!
BR: Unbelievable! Send it in, Jerome!
And it’s nap time. Athletes? Not so much. Not yet, anyway. But we’re all extraordinary eaters. I’d like to thank the selection committee for noticing. Happy March!