Thursday, June 16, 2011

Murphy and Me XXXVIII

[I think I'm reaching the end of my Roman numeral knowledge. Might have to start looking stuff up. Anyway - Here's a new segment for those of you who regularly read here, and those transplanted IP users, welcome to The Wandering Sagittarius. This might be a little easier on your eyes than what HarperCollins has decided to do to our beloved (sometimes infuriating) site. Enjoy.]

Rain spattered against the window, louder and softer depending on the wind gusts. It was shaping up to be one of those lazy Sundays only found in romance novels. Lazy Sundays that meant not getting out of bed until noon and with Murphy probably still sleeping downstairs. We hadn't stayed together last night courtesy of my monthly visit from Mother Nature. Sleeping sprawled face-down in the middle of a twin bed doesn't leave much room for anybody else. And, bless him, Murph hadn't taken more than a couple seconds to figure it out.

I crawled outta bed around twelve-thirty. Felt good to sleep in, truthfully. Brunch didn't appeal to me, mostly because it meant walking in the rain, so on went the computer, some Dave Matthews Band, and hello inbox full of Facebook notifications and tagged photos. Since yesterday was Halloween, it was practically a given.

And, oh, were some of these priceless. But what do you expect when a pirate shows up to a costume party at Robin Hood's house with the Blues Brothers and a grown up Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle? There was a photo of all of us. Then of Murph and Liam in matching suits and sunglasses; Colby looking dapper and Old English-y (tights included, the brave man); Murphy and me; me after having stolen Murph's sunglasses; Murphy and me when he picked me up in an attempt to get his glasses back, one of my arms around his neck and the sunglasses hanging off my nose. Hell, the knee-high hooker boots were even in that one.

Couple clicks later and that was my new profile picture. Yes, I was hopelessly romantic.

Besides - Robin Hood doing a fantastic Captain Morgan impression? Made me giggle when it happened and laugh outright in retrospect.

Lazy Sundays were made for curling up in a pullover, putting a movie on, and settled in with a book (textbooks included). Maybe some chips and salsa, too. Which, I had the chips, but as Jo and I traded off when we jointly went to Wegman's, the salsa was in her room. I grabbed a bowl and trucked across the hallway.

Jo took one look at me and grinned when she opened the door. "Good night last night?"

"It had its moments." Leaned against the door frame. "Do we have salsa left?"

"Yeah." She went to her mini fridge. "Dinner tonight?"

"Five-thirty?" Medium salsa went into the bowl. "Hopefully I can get something accomplished."

Jo snorted. "Right. Good luck."

It'd be needed. Sundays were an enemy. And with the mountain of physics reading that had been piling up it was going to be a battle. Then there was chem and T-S Britain and, of all things, a dog and vampire scene for acting.

Great. Just great.

The bottom dropped out of the temperature midweek, enough to start layering footless tights under my jeans and long-sleeves under tees. As there was no going back when the peacoat left the closet, it was the goal to leave that as long as possible. Winter hats, however, popped up all across campus as the north wind started to blow hard and cold.

Practices got interesting. Namely we broke out the spandex. Nobody wants hexagons on their thighs in this weather unless absolutely necessary. Mostly 'cause the ball felt like it was inflated with ice instead of air.

I spent one late night swearing my way through my T-S Britain paper that gratefully received a B and dropped five points out of ten on an orgo quiz. Physics stayed out of the equation completely, mostly for my sanity, and we slogged through the first full week of November to the weekend.

And, consequently, Liberty Leagues.

The weather forecast going into Saturday sucked. Rain, low temps, and tough competition. We squeaked out a win on Saturday to put us in the championship Sunday. Don't know how we did it, but we did.

It was my first Liberty League tournament. Last year saw me as a sort of flux player between JV and varsity, practicing with both teams in almost equal measure. Sasha was the veteran, and as we stood on the sideline for the national anthem, I squeezed the hell out of her hand and felt Gilly's nervous energy on my right. My family was here - mom, dad, Izzy, El, Dean - and parked on the hill not far from them were my boys: Dev, Liam, Colby, and Murph. Tanya, who said hi to me every time we crossed paths, spread out a blanket on the ground to sit between Colby and Noah.

Dear God, I was going to throw up. All over the sideline and my Puma cleats.

There was a moment, after stepping onto the field and before kickoff, when I looked around, took in the crowd, and temporarily forgot that I knew how to play soccer. Just completely blanked out.

When the ref blew the whistle, it was all muscle memory after that.

We stood poised on the sideline, silent and tense, squeezing the blood out of each other's fingers as we watched Ally place the ball on the penalty stripe. If she made this, we were champions. If she didn't, we went another round of penalty kicks.

Don't think my nerves could handle another round.

It was drizzling. Ally stood at the top of the box, waiting for the whistle. Cozzens Field was eerily silent, so much so that the whistle seemed extra loud when it went. Ally took a deep breath, got her approach, and the entire sideline seemed to stop breathing. We started running before the ball hit the net.

The hill went nuts; we screamed and dog-piled Ally and Gilly and for the first time in my life I was going to the NCAA Women's College Soccer Tournament as a player, not a spectator.

Holy shit. We we were on the road to Greensboro. Granted, we needed to win more than a few to order the charter bus, but damn. It was a start.

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"The difference between life and the movies is that a script has to make sense, and life doesn't."

-Joseph L. Mankiewicz