"Hello Dan, this is Grandma."
"Oh hey Grandma, what's up?" I tried to sound like I didn't mind being dragged out of a really killer dream.
"Did I wake you up? Of course I did...it's 8:30 in the morning. I just got done talking to your mother and she said to call you anyway."
"Oh." I groaned.
"Your mom wanted me to tell you that your Great-Grandma Kreft died yesterday. Grandma and Grandpa Kreft will be coming up there ..."
Come practice time, I was a mess. The news brought by that dreaded phone call had begun to sink in. I didn't think it had affected me until I found myself unable to concentrate for even 5 minutes on one task. We were rehearsing Minnesota's plays in 4 minute scrimmages--coach would tell us what play to run and we would go through the motions so that we wouldn't be surprised come gametime. I would nod showing my understanding of the play we were about to run but as soon as the action started my mind would just go *blip* and I'd start trying to wing-it. It worked at first but after a while the coaches started to notice me out there looking as if I were looking for my lost puppy, so I got yelled at. The only person I had told about my grandmother's death was the professor I met with earlier that morning...I just didn't want to tell anyone else. Why bother?
There is nothing anyone could say or do to bring her back or to make me feel any better and the last thing I wanted to hear was "you can't let that affect you ... you have to fight through it ... this is a test of your mental toughness"-- all just some more of that athlete macho bovine fecal matter. I also didn't want anyone saying "I'm sorry." Why say sorry for something you had no part in? It's a meaningless gesture that I didn't want to have to deal with. As I write this, I still haven't told my teammates (not even Evan, my best friend here in Evanston) and the only people who know are my prof. and Coach Parrish who I told after practice was over.
It's a good thing I like playing at Minnesota and that I was feeling spunky, because in typical Evan Eschmeyer fashion, he racked up two quickie fouls in something like 5 minutes. "Dan, go get Evan"--my favorite four words in my favorite order. After playing the remaining 15 or so minutes of that half plus an additional 3 or so in the second half I wound up *just* short of my career-high record in points. I racked up 6 points on 2/3 field goal shooting and 2/2 freethrow shooting, got one block (officially that is...I guess the stat keepers didn't care enough about my second block in the second half of the game to give me any credit for it, but that's okay) and snagged a whopping 2 rebounds (watch out Dennis Rodman...I'm comin' after ya). This might have been a career night for me in the turnovers department though--a career low of 1 (a miracle considering the number of minutes I played and that the ball was in my hands more than once that night).
Overall, we played pretty well as a team--we made it a tough battle, nothing like the 40+ point embarassment of a year ago...I just wish that Grandma could have been there to see it.