March into Madness

**Disclaimer: Much of this post was in my Facebook status yesterday. I took my thoughts and added a bit more to come up with this blog post.
 
Sometimes it’s hard to come to grips with the fact that my three girls (ages 9, 8, and 4) don’t get excited about the prospect of driving two hours round trip for a regional basketball tournament game. Actually they don’t seem super enthused for a drive half as long for a regular season matchup.
 
Maybe I’ve failed them in some way. Perhaps there are more distractions now than there were when I was a kid. I lived for trips to games with my dad when I was their age. I had no idea that madness was contained to March for people outside of the mountains I called home. Wasn’t it normal for at least three months out of the year to ask “Hey, which region are you from” instead of what town?
 
How can I describe to my daughters the thrill of walking into a gym packed to the rafters with the rest of the town watching a round ball determine joy and sorrow?  Is there anything more satisfying than a bag of popcorn, a cold Pepsi, and running to the car to beat the crowd after the final buzzer? I can close my eyes and hear my dad make call after call and feel his frustration grow because the refs never listened to his advice. 
 
Maybe it isn’t the sport after all that I want so much for my daughters to love the way I do. Perhaps I want to live it all again through their eyes and recreate  a brief moment in time that made all the difference to a skinny little girl with braces who would write about many basketball games but never actually play in one. I wish I could share the miles of words and moments that took place on twists and turns of every road my dad and I travelled together to see yet another Friday night barn burner. The invisible map of that journey is one of pure joy and love and is forever imprinted on my heart. If I could show my dear children that map, they could see that even though their Poppy is no longer on this Earth, he left behind a beautiful trail for them to follow.
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