Basketball has always been special to me.
My childhood was spent in packed Southern Indiana high school gyms where the air was filled with the smell of popcorn, shoes were sticky from spilled Cokes, throats sore from cheering, and countless renditions from the band of the school song was the soundtrack. These images are so strong in my mind, so intertwined with my love for the game.
I was going to high school basketball games before I can even remember– as a tiny baby in my mother’s arms while she cheered on my dad’s team. Some of my very earliest memories are from the Harrison High School gym– watching my dad coach as he paced up and down the sidelines, staring in awe of the cheerleaders, being carried around by the players, cartwheeling on the court floor after games.
There were also all those games cheering on my older brother as he played all through grade, middle, and high school. We traveled all over the state watching Tyler, feeling proud when he’d have a good game and feeling sad and frustrated when he didn’t get enough playing time.
Like so many other Indiana families, I also grew up knowing nothing but love and undying devotion to the Hoosiers. I have memories of my mom and dad betting on Butler vs. IU games, taking in games at Assembly Hall, and countless road trips narrated by Don Fischer. Bob Knight is still a giant in my world, and the 1976 Hoosiers are sacred.
I was never really much of a player myself, but that never stopped me from getting lost in being a fan. Basketball isn’t just something I’m passionate about, it’s a part of who I am. I’ve had my heart swell with victories and break from hard losses. My dad and I religiously follow all of his former player’s teams as there are several who are now coaching at the elite level, and from November through March, we analyze games via texts and phone calls and travel to random places to cheer them on. My husband, a diehard Duke fan, and I bonded over our shared love of basketball when we first started dating, and every year since we’ve been together Selection Sunday has been as big of a day as birthdays and anniversaries.
I always say March Madness is my favorite time of year. The buzzer beaters, the underdogs and Cinderella stories, the rivalries– collegiate competition at its finest! I can’t even articulate how much I love it. I watch every single second, from the play-in games to the Championship, and I LOSE myself in cheering for the small schools and the great coaches while taunting and booing the Kentuckys and Syracuses and the like. This year, I’m so happy to cheer on my Hoosiers (who barely squeaked in) and my alma mater, the Belmont Bruins.
Tim and I always have the best time filling out our brackets, and each year we’ve been together we’ve made it a fun competition. We both tell ourselves each year we aren’t going to pick with our heart, but both of us always end up doing it anyways because it’s impossible not to. This year, we did the whole Selection Sunday process with our best friends who are equally as smitten, and it was wonderful. I think it’s safe to say we’ve started a new tradition and I couldn’t be happier.
List accomplishments as of last post:
- Obviously, as shared above, we started a new tradition with our best friends. There are two photos below.
- I made this Tuscan white bean soup for my weekly recipe and it was amazing!
- I finished book #6, Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward. Stunning and sad and perfect.
- I’ve stayed really dedicated to writing and taking photos daily.