When my folks travel during the season it's not unusual for them to plan their trip college town by college town, hitting basketball games wherever they stop for the night. People have said to me, "Your mother must be patient, putting up with that" but the truth is, Mom caught roundball fever first, way back in 1979 when Judd Heathcote and Magic Johnson took Michigan State to the national championships.
State played UCLA while Mom and Dad were visiting, so I got to watch the second half of the game with her (although in my family I'm the child switched by fairies when it comes to sports fandom). Mom usually watches basketball with the sound off because she doesn't like the commentary, but she don't need no Dick Vitale, she keeps up a running narration of her own:
Only up by 10 points–there's too much time left–I can't stand it! Oh, Izzo is getting bald–he's so mad right now–he's going to have a stroke one of these days…There's another player with a big ugly thing (1) on his arm–why do they do that? That's Love on the other team (2), look at how focussed he is, his whole life must be basketball, that's his dad in the stands, that must be his girlfriend next to him…why didn't he come to MSU? Oh, dum-dum! why did they do that?…That's Lowe (3), he's a true freshman, Markus is another but he always acts like a big toot, Izzo needs to work on him–oh, shoot! (4) Only six points up now…look at that guy's hair (5) ! That's Nidus's parents in the stands, his father's a coach, look at him–he can't believe it (6) and his mother just said sh*t. Oh, it's done now, turn it off, I can't stand it, I'm going to bed–turn it off!
(1) a tattoo
(2) Love is the Titus Pullo of basketball
(3) I don't remember the real names of the State players, so I'm just going to make some up
(4) an exclamation, not an instruction
(5) he had flaming basketballs shaved onto his scalp
(6) Nidus whiffed the three-pointer that would have tied the game
After the game Mom announced that basketball was a stupid game and she wouldn't be watching it any more, but Dad had found a couple of games to stop at on their way home so we'll see.
A fashion note for the people who pick basketball uniforms: please choose a fabric that won't make your players look incontinent when they sweat through the pants. UCLA, I'm looking at you.