I’m a football girl.
I can’t even begin to express how much I love football and everything that goes along with it — autumn, tailgating, the inspiration to drink beer early in the morning as you await those noon o’clock games. There’s just not much better than the thrill of watching a helmet-clad hero run yard after turfy yard toward the end zone, clutching that pigskin like it’s the most precious possession he’s ever known.
I’ve never been a basketball girl.
I never felt that rush of adrenaline I get from football when I would watch five on five, the screech of sneaker soles on hardwood. Sweaty, grimace-faced men would woosh from one side of the court to the other and I’d lose the ball — and my patience — in the blur of jerseys and dribbling.
I’ve never been a basketball girl. And yet, somehow, I’ve become one.
I’m not quite sure how or when it happened. One day I was that girlfriend, complaining to Russ that I hadn’t talked to him in days, that I didn’t understand how he could be so caught up in his stupid basketball games. And then one day I was sitting next to him on that very same couch, glued to the very same television and riveted by the displays of athleticism before me.
Russ grew up in a family with roots in Indiana, which equates to a born-and-bred love for basketball. When he saw the shift taking place in me, as he relished in my desire to cheer alongside him for his beloved alma maters, the UNC Tar Heels and the Butler Bulldogs, he got me to watch the basketball Bible in movie form, Hoosiers.
How can I not get it after watching games so intense I feel like someone’s squeezing my insides and wringing them out for water? How can I not get it after seeing emotion and desire on faces that are more palpable than you’ll find in just about anyone?
And now, as March Madness comes to a close tonight, I find myself sad to say goodbye. Tonight we’ll watch the Butler Bulldogs take on the UConn Huskies, and I can say with certainty, I get it. I get the excitement. I get the rush. I get the nerves and apprehension. I get the thrill of the Hoosiers-esque game-winning shot. I get it. I’m now a basketball girl.
Oh, and go Butler!