church basketball* is notorious for being the one church activity that commences with a prayer and terminates with angry men swearing, jabbing and storming off. i had witnessed this growing up and i had almost forgotten about it until this year. each week christian meticulously checked the stake tournament schedule. i did the dutiful thing and went to his first game. i sat on the stage amid moms and babies and cheerios. i was a little overwhelmed and read my book, looking up every now and then to prove my interest in the game.
that was the only game i attended. our ward usually played at 9am saturday morning and i could easily find other “necessary” things to keep myself busy. when he returned home he would excitedly tell me about baskets he scored and his total of points for that game. one particular saturday christian misread the schedule and missed his game. his annoyance carried on for several days… at the heart of his distress? he salivates over competition.
this past weekend he informed me that it was the finals. if they won their 9am game they would have a championship game at 11. he kissed me goodbye and i cleaned the house, researched how to register my car, wrote down a shopping list and headed to the grocery store. he called to tell me they had won their first game, obviously. so while in safeway i made sure to buy two cases of capri sun sport. i figured i could be the soccer mom for the team of sweaty, grown and married men.
i slipped into the cultural hall** and realized i was the only viewer there, and it was the championship game! i also noticed that our ward was playing christian’s old ward.*** then i saw that christian just happened to be guarding spencer. a guy i know from my dc days… spencer is responsible for giving me a tour UofM’s campus, he introduced me to the “good luck” terp and there are photographs out there somewhere that verify when we dance at parties with friends, i get very sweaty… i laughed out loud as they shoved eachother and grunted menacingly, not knowing who the other was.
it was an intense game, so it took christian a while to notice me. but i could see his smile from the opposite end of the court. at half time i made introductions and handed off the capri suns to a throng of eager hands. i helped emily with the scoring for the rest of the game and it was while sitting at center court i witnessed what has to be the most hilarious/fabulous basketball/dance move i have ever seen. it’s really a shame espn was not there so we could have replayed it. christian was on a roll. he sped through several guys to get to the basket but he did it with a jump, twist, tilt that can’t really be explained. guys on both sides cheered, and i laughed a loud echoing laugh. too bad christian had dedicated the basket before that basket to me.
our ward won. but not without several heated moments. (kind of funny since both teams were already going to regionals). in the end all the guys were really grateful that i had brought them drinks, and they reminded me that just one thing had been missing… the orange slices. i think they may be expecting the same soccer mom treatment this friday.
*a few basic vocabulary words may help. in the lds church you attend a congregation based on geographical boundaries. the easiest analogy would be a school district. a district is made up of smaller, individual schools. well in church, the district is the stake. and the stake is made up of individual wards (or congregations). therefore the stake tournament consists of each ward’s team playing eachother.
**mormon speak for a room that includes a basketball court and a stage for all your cultural needs.
***before getting married christian attended a singles ward or a congregation for single adults usually ages 18-31.