Wearin O’ The Green, Revisited

You know how you get really excited about a project and you just can’t wait to start?

So… maybe you start a day early?

And so it was with my Project 40 Countdown.

I didn’t consider the fact that I’m not counting down to 1, I’m counting down to 0. So if I intend on posting my 40th challenge on my birthday… well… I’m a day off.

Whoops.

Never fear. I will return with challenges tomorrow on the actual, accurate countdown schedule.

But for today, in honor of St. Patrick’s Day and the Bobcat Women’s Basketball Team making it to the NCAA tournament, here’s a favorite from 2010.

Part 1

I was up late on Tuesday night working on my shirt- cutting the sides of the plain green thirt and tieing them, giving the sleeves a cuter shape, making a little stencil so I could sponge on that all-important little white symbol… It might seem silly to create a special shirt just to celebrate one day, but this isn’t just any day. This is a day when I celebrate who I am and where I’m from. My green tshirt let’s everyone know about my cultural pride, and that’s important to me.

No, I’m not Irish.

I’m a Bobcat.

And today, I’m goin to the dance.

I’m sitting on the MetroNorth as I write this- I am on the third leg of what will be a very long journey. It started early this morning when I packed the diaper bag and woke Lily earlier than usual so she would be post-nap for the babysitter. Then I showered, got us both dressed in our green, carried the baby, the diaper bag, and my bag to the bus stop, (the baby carrier is in the car) put $2.25 in coins in the little machine, took the bus to the subway stop, balanced the baby on my hip and the bags on my shoulder while I dug through my wallet for another $2.25, (a neat trick, since Lily is fascinated by my wallet) made and fed Lily a bottle on the subway, dropped her off with a caring amazing generous babysitter in midtown, paid another $2.25 to take the subway to Times Square, transferred to the shuttle train, ran to the main concourse to buy a ticket, couldn’t find the machines, called Ryan in a panic, found the machines, bought the ticket, couldn’t find the track, then found the track.

Just in time to see the train pull away.

So I’m on the next train, which left 27 minutes after the one I intended to take. And I will ride this train to Connecticut where Ryan works so I can pick up the car.

And drive it back home.

Because I forgot the tickets.

Some of you may be thinking that this whole thing is insane and way too much work. Other people would have given up long ago. Those people clearly did not go to Ohio university. I’ll make it to the game. And I will Stand Up and Cheer.

I am a Bobcat, and I bleed green. Go Cats.

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Part 2

We just barely made it to the Bobcat Bash in time to inhale some cold burgers. We missed the National Anthem, our seats were way at the top, and people were giving me funny looks. “You’re here for Ohio?” the man in front of me asked.

“Go Bobcats!” I replied.

“Heh. Good luck,” he teased me.

The teams were introduced and I clapped for each player- politely for the Hoyas (I’m from Ohio, afterall) and more enthusiastically for the Cats. I watched the crowd around me go wild for Georgetown. There were some green shirts in the mix, but we were considerably outnumbered.

But I was just happy to be there- happy to have my alumni association nametag that said 1998, happy to have my green and white pom-pom, and happy to be watching the Bobcats play.

I settled in my seat, ready to spend a few hours reminiscing about cheerleading, and band, and friends, and parties, and roadtrips.

But then, we scored first.

And then, we scored again.

“We’re winning!” I joked to my Dad. “We can say we were winning at one point!”

But then, at the half, we were- wait, still winning? Yes! We were still winning! By sort of a lot!

The drunk dude next to me was baffled. “Man, I had money on Georgetown. Who told me to go with Georgetown?”

“Everyone,” I replied. “But they forgot to take into account our heart.” (yes, I really said that to a drunk dude at a basketball game. Once a cheesey cheerleader from Ohio, always a cheesey cheerleader from Ohio.)

We sat and cheered for the beginning of the second half, until things started to swing Georgetown’s way. “Uh-oh, I don’t like where this is headed,” my Dad said. I nodded, but in my head, I knew. And the Bobcats regained their big lead. And we sat, in hushed excitement, for the longest last-third-or-so-of-a-basketball-game in my life. My chest was tight. My stomach was burning. And with about two minutes left to play, it became clear.

Oh My God. We’re going to win.

We got control of the ball with about half-a-minute left, and stood at our end of the court, dribbling while crowd- the whole crowd, even the Hoyas- got to their feet. A standing ovation for an unbelievable upset victory.

As we left the Dunkin Donuts Center we could hear a mix of reactions. Some congratulations came my way- I was one of the few people in green- many were just shaking their heads, and I even heard a few say outloud “seriously though. Who the hell is Ohio?”

Driving home, the tollbooth guy took one look at my get-up and laughed. “St. Patrick’s Day was yesterday!”

“No, no,” I said. “Ohio University. We just beat Georgetown in the NCAA tournament.”

“Wait- Ohio beat Georgetown?!!”

“Yup.”

“Wow- that was a good game then!”

And it was.

They just didn’t take into account our heart. Hey, according to “Damn Yankees” it’s all you need. It’s the heart that makes Matt Lauer chest bump an intern on the Today Show. The heart that makes someone leave at 10:30 am and return home at 2:00 am for one basketball game. The heart that will beat in so many of us as we crowd into bars across the country with other Bobcats tomorrow afternoon, making strangers into friends. The heart that beat in all those students pouring into Court Street last night, celebrating like we’d just won the whole damn thing.

It’s the heart of a Bobcat, and it makes anything possible.

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