i managed to be the first of the family to show at the basketball game and as i walked down the hall from the bathroom to the gym, i was suddenly confronted with the approach of two women obviously from the east texas area. it was a narrow hall with bland white walls and i became alarmingly unsure of where to look. one half of the advancing duo was outfitted in a purple windsuit which had been accented with what i can only imagine were golden bits affixed to the jacket with a Bedazzler. in case that wasn't bad enough, she had the east texas hair. no pretty bangs, i tell you. this thing was frosted and teased from here to kingdom come. it was quite a sight. quite a sight.
my grandparents showed up and we claimed what seemed to be an innocent spot on the bleachers. lo and behold, it turned out that all of the six backboards were fair game for the pre-game shooting practice. i winced and bobbed every time i saw one of those seven-year-olds viciously winding up to blast a ball in my general direction. i began to form a headache at the thought of being killed by an errant ball. i survived a too-narrow brush with death and proceeded to move down a couple of yards after rejecting my grandmother's titter-filled offers to shield me from danger.
more family members arrived and the game began. my grandmother took every opportunity to tell different members of the tribe about how she learned a nurse down at the doctor's office is the mother of the little kull-urd boy on the team. i still haven't figured out what the punchline was to the anecdote.
if you've never been to a beginner's basketball game, i highly recommend it. especially if it's a short one (which they all are). i hadn't believed the familial claims of the inherent entertainment until i witnessed for myself the pack of boys moving like a herd of cattle back and forth from one goal to the other. back and forth. back and forth. a big blur of Whataburger blue, white, and orange. one of my favorites was the slightly plump child who wasn't letting a silly basketball game interfere with his activities as he skipped across the floor grinning.
it's hard to believe that such little kids could throw a ball so hard and so far. and the lack of fear of a hard, rubber sphere fast approaching them is astounding as you see them hurl themselves in front of it.
halftime consisted of a sermon (yes, a sermon. we're in the bible belt.) about godly fathers. i made sure to turn to my father and personally thank him for being so godly.
someone help me remember the adult actor and movie i'm thinking of where he runs like a big kid with pumping arms and slapping feet. because that's exactly how my nephew would run. hard and fast as he could. he was hustling. jim carrey? adam sandler? peewee herman?
after the game, my sister and i were off to see the wizard. we conversed briefly with a friend of my sister's from high school as she related the story of her four-year-old daughter asking if the scarecrow hanging on his perch in the field was jesus on the cross. ha! i was upset i hadn't thought of that first.
ashleigh played one of a handful of jitterbugs who infect the main characters with the inability to stop dancing whilst walking through the woods. the costumes were a little bizarre. green tights, green-sequined wings, and oddly enough... short, curly black wigs with spring-loaded antennae. their faces, necks, and ears were all elaborately painted. unfortunately, due to the low lighting for a spookier effect, this all merged together to make me think i was watching a handful of miniature mustachioed welcome back kotter impersonators. i was quite proud of her for being able to get up in front of all those people.
and as it turned out, aunt beth was able to make a bonus appearance. ashleigh decided to try out for middle school cheerleader and i attended the audition for the student body. i feared for my life once again as the crushing waves of 5th-8th graders began pouring in around us on the bleachers. the kid next to me had zero boundary issues and nearly put my eye out with his wildly flailing no. 2 pencil. the kids had very little time to learn the chant, cheer, and routine ... and top that off with an overload of play practices and performances for ash. she hadn't thought she'd be upset if she didn't get it, but the informative phone call later that night from her tearful friend who had made the squad proved otherwise. it was just too much for one girl to do at one time.
once again, i couldn't have been more proud of my little girl. i would've shit my pants and pissed on the floor if i had had to walk out in front of the entire student body and audition.