Sunday, January 22, 2006

Pack The Place

Pack the Place: The School's biggest "to-do", spirit night, whatever you'd like to call it. It's all basketball, 5th - 8th grade, all night. It's running through banners (like this one, for girl's team), it's having starting line ups announced, it's pizza, it's raffles, it's shoot for cash, it's everybody-in-the-whole-school-come-out-night, even-if-you-don't-play-or-have-a-child-or-sibling-who-plays-basketball. It's hats, it's beads, popcorn, hot dogs, balloons, streamers, blue hair, blue & white Seuss-like hats. It's the night when they players play their tops, they go all out, even if they're playing a bad, or worse, team. It's LOUD, it's the peak of excitement, it's no where to sit unless you get there for the 5th grade game and stake out a seat for the 7th and 8th grade games. In short, the place is PACKED - standing room only, the balcony is open and it's still packed.

Friday after school, Girl stayed to get prepped for the game. Nope. This didn't involve practice, meditation, pre-game, Phil Jackson like Zen, nothing like that. It began with the ritual of the hair braiding. Usually one of the moms volunteers (or gets suckered into) braiding the teams' collective hair. This year, one of the teachers offered and the girls more than happily accepted her offer. It took poor Mrs. G 2 1/2 hrs to braid the whole teams' hair. Girl just stayed, she had brought her basketball stuff to school, since she had wanted to be there for the 5:00 game anyway. I didn't see how the 5th grade did, but the 6th grade lost, fighting furiously in the final minutes of the game. When Girl last played this team, the game had been very physical with three girls getting injured, between multiple elbows and a head bang on the floor (nope, not the game that girl got hurt, although she got an elbow to the cheek that game). I'm certain that everyone was expecting this game to be physical, also. (Oh, btw, I would be remiss if I failed to tell you that the fire around the jersey in the poster was Girl's idea).

The girls were pumped. As soon as the final buzzer of the 6th grade game sounded, the 7th grade girls bolted to the hallway to get ready for their big entrance when the team was introduced. As the fans lined up along the "entrance route", the team began chanting in the hallway, behind the banner, pumping up not only themselves, but all of the fans within earshot. The room was thick with anticipation. Finally, Mr. G - who ALWAYS announces, also one of LargeBoy's coaches last year, began his long awaited - BIG ENTRANCE. The team burst through the banner, ran through the human corridor and high-5'd all the way, while making their way to the bench to await the announcement of the lineup. They chanted and cheered all the way to the bench. The crowd chanted and cheered. It was so exciting! The girls were pumped. They were determined to win this game. The coach abandoned the "squad" rule and told the girls they would finally be allowed to play as a team (which shows you how HUGE this event is).

The line up was announced and the girls got psyched for tip-off. Honestly, I can't remember if we won the tip off, because all of us collectively exhaled from the anticipation and then drew our collective breath again to await the outcome of the just started contest. (In the picture here, of the braids and the lineup, Girl is 3rd from the right, #33). It was sometimes funny when watching the game and calling out, "Good Shot, Girl," only to look at the number on the jersey and find out that it wasn't her at all, but #51 who also has blonder hair and in 2 french braids. There were some GREAT shots made at this game. Girl had a couple of points (including a long two-pointer swoosh) on the night, some fantastic defense, and didn't foul out. No need. She played her defense well, the game didn't get too physical, although, I do think the other team left a bit of skin on the court - but not too much. The game was great! At halftime, the visiting team only had 1 point off a free throw to our 15 or 17. Ultimately, our girls prevailed and we pummeled the other team. It was a great victory for them. The carried that energy over to the game they played Saturday night (at 9:00, no less) and won that game, too. Tonight they play at 7:30, a make up game, and then the playoffs begin. No, there won't be too much withdrawal, volleyball starts up right after basketball, sometimes they even overlap, and softball tournaments start in April. YIKES!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are truely and extraordinary woman.