Sunday, April 5, 2009

Things I Heard Through The Bedroom Door

I'm about to wow you with my sports knowledge.
Or not.

You see, North Carolina Tar Heel basketball is as much a part of me as pencil skirts and lip liner. My dad is the biggest fan this side of... well.....Carolina. Growing up, basketball nights on TV were to him as sacred as Mass is to Catholicism. To this day, at age 75, he wears a Tar Heel toboggan almost every day, his favorite sweatshirt is Tar Heel blue and gray, he drinks from a Heels mug and walks in Tar Heel blue slippers. The next time he checks his sugar levels I'm going to check and see if his blood is Carolina blue.

It was a
sin in my house to speak during a Carolina basketball game. You could breathe if you were lucky and if daddy was in a good mood - which only happened if they were winning. And EVEN when they were winning it only meant the yelling and cursing was of a kinder gentler variety. No matter the score - even or a double-digit lead - the running commentary never ended from tip off to final buzzer. I knew Coach Smith couldn't hear Daddy's voice from our living room but Daddy didn't. I used to wonder if it ever occurred to my father that the neighbors and half the cows in Texas could hear him as well. I asked my mother, once, if Dean Smith was a member of our family.
I wondered why Daddy would so intimately curse a stranger.....
We went to bed at 8pm on school nights - I so hated that - usually about the time the game began. "Grant!" I remember hearing my mother say through the closed bedroom door in the BACK of the house, "Stop that! The children are trying to sleep!"

He would quieten down for a few minutes......1, 2, 3.....until some knucklehead (that was not the word he used) would miss a foul shot and it would start all over again.

If Duke played Carolina, it was much worse. My mother pulled for Duke. Not out of some alumni allegiance but simply to irritate my father. Purely Machiavellian. Oh, it was a loving enough joust between them I suppose.....my mother didn't yell..... but I could feel the vibrational stomps through the kitchen and the bedroom door. And then there were the ill-timed giggles. How could they be so angry with each other one minute and laugh the next?
I was glad to see North Carolina win over Villanova tonight. I knew he would try to stay awake and watch. He's too sick and weak to scream at the TV much anymore but tomorrow when I visit him at least I'll have the last half of the game in my memory to banter with him about.

It's funny. I made notes as I watched tonight and planned a humorous take on the NCAA. I was going to "pencil skirt ya" and pretend I didn't know a thing about basketball (ignore what I just said, Travis). But when I started writing it, all I could think of was daddy's loud and raucous faithfulness to a team he never once saw in person. Not once.
And that made me sad.

There were no outbursts in Bloggingham tonight. No scorching barbs from an armchair coach. No tender ears hiding under pillows. But I realized the longer I watched, just how much the sound of those squeaky shoes set me on edge and made me anxious. The dance of tangled legs I grew up watching came flooding back in a pile of life I'd forgotten. I know the rules like the back of my hand. Three-pointers, fouls shots and free throw lines. The flow of the game. The smell of the gym floor.

And the sounds.

I know them too.


Goodnite Daddy.


Copyright © 2006-2015 Mimi Lenox. All Rights Reserved.

36 comments:

Speedcat Hollydale said...

KIND OF unrelated ... as kids we used to listen to my father yell at the TV during football season. The Vikings were priority ONE on Sundays. I always laugh when I think of him calling George Foreman a big ^#$^%@! for fumbling.

I have not watched basketball in years. When I did, I prefered college games. We have the Timberwolves as a pro team here. I have met some of the players, but have never seen them play!

Dawn (Twisted Sister) said...

...in a pile of life I'd forgotten.
I like that line. My father's only sport was politics. Lived it and breathed it. And we dare not be seen or heard while he was watching...

Kitten said...

I'm glad your team made it to the title game, Mimi. I'm still in mourning over mine...:(

Mauigirl said...

Great memories of growing up with your dad. I hope his team wins the big one. Touching post.

Mimi Lenox said...

Eric - Not unrelated at all. It is humorous to think of people yelling at the TV!

Mimi Lenox said...

Dawn - Sounds like my household. Different subject. Same atmosphere. So, you wore tip-toe shoes too?

Mimi Lenox said...

Kitten - I'm sorry, Kitten. There's always next year. I wanted CT to end up playing Carolina so I'm kinda bummed it didn't happen that way.

Mimi Lenox said...

MauiGirl - For his sake, I hope so too! Thank you.

Charles Gramlich said...

If only it were football

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - I just saw you leave this same comment at Trav's. Are you pouting? Hmmmm?????

Mimi Lenox said...

Charles - I just saw you leave this same comment at Trav's. Are you pouting? Hmmmm?????

Jean-Luc Picard said...

I could never warm to basketball.

Mimi Lenox said...

Jean-luc - Would you like to borrow my magic heating pad?

Travis said...

As a Duke fan, I can never be truly happy with a UNC championship. I can be pleased for the success of the ACC and root for the Tarheels in that capacity.

Now you have given me a new reason to smile on Tuesday morning should UNC win on Monday evening.

fishingaround said...

you're rooting for the wrong team tomorrow *shakes head*

Southern (in)Sanity said...

What a fantastic post. I'm glad North Carolina one - for you and your dad.

Mimi Lenox said...

Travis - I don't know who will win tomorrow night and personally it doesn't matter - but it would make him happy and that would make me happy.

Mimi Lenox said...

Fish - Smile.

Mimi Lenox said...

Southern - Thanks. I hope they win for his sake.

kenju said...

Since he is such a fan, it is really sad that he has never seen the Heels in person. My daughter and your dad would be a good match. She is the ultimate UNC fan; in fact, she and her brother are in Detroit to see the games now.

Ferd said...

Your dad would fit right in with our family. Loud yells coming from any TV on any given Saturday or Sunday. I have those memories, too, except I am lucky they are still ongoing. Football, basketball, soccer, tennis, whatever really. My parents don't have time to see all the games they tape while watching others. I'm glad they share that passion.
And I now share your dad's Carolina blue passion. They are an easy team to root for! Got my NC Carolina blue t-shirt on as we blogspeak.
Hope your dad is doing okay!

Mimi Lenox said...

Kenju - It is a shame. We'll see what happens tonight!

Mimi Lenox said...

Ferd - He was wearing the shirt proudly yesterday in the emergency room. ARGGHH....My visit turned into an ER visit for him but they gave him fluids and sent him home. And he seems to be doing better!
Tonight, I hope he can stay awake for the game. Go Heels!

The Gal Herself said...

Oh, this made me a little misty. For my dad and I had a most fractious relationship except for one thing: The Cubs. Both sets of my grandparents were Cub fans. I changed my religion and no one batted an eye, but if ever I showed up at a family gathering in a White Sox tshirt (or even worse, a Cardinal hat), I'd be disinherited.

Consequently, I live and die by my Boys in Blue. So I appreciate that sports is as a big a family bonding element as DNA.

And speaking of Chicago sports, let's not forget that the best there ever was, the best there ever will be, was a proud Tarheel before he became a Bull. As he was announced at the United Center, "Number 23, from Noooooorth Carolina, MICHAEL JORDAN!"

Bond said...

WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is about sports!

What did you do with Mimi? She could NEVER have written this...

Mimi Lenox said...

Gal - It made me misty writing it. I almost included Michael in this post. There is a great shot of him with Coach Dean Smith on Google.

Go Cubs.

Homer The Palace Dog said...

I've tied her up in the dungeon, Bond. You're the only one, thus far, to catch onto this scheme. Hurry! Let all the prisoners out! I've got your back.

P.S. I am so tired of her whining for nail polish.....

Mark said...

Good memories, thanks for sharing!

Vodka Mom said...

we are die hard Tarheel basketball fans in this house!! I'll be right over.

The Gal Herself said...

Excuse me, your Highness, but a humble commoner has left an accolade for you over at my blog.

Julie said...

"...the dance of tangled legs..."

Mimi....you are the boss of words! Wow!

Mimi Lenox said...

Mark - You're welcome. Thanks for commenting and visiting!

Mimi Lenox said...

Vodka - You are welcome anytime. They were amazing!

Mimi Lenox said...

Gal - I loved it! Sisterhood! And I shall pass it on. Thank you...

Mimi Lenox said...

Julie - Awww....the boss of words. Another title! I'll work on it.

Desert Songbird said...

My daughter tells everyone that the reason she plays basketball is because it's in her blood - she's part Hoosier, you know. *big cheeky grin*

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