Sunday, April 15, 2018

This Is How We Do It: Thoughts on National Championships and Siblings Day

Both NPR and Facebook reminded me that National Siblings Day is observed every year on April 10. As written on the National Day Calendar's website
Siblings Day is a day created to honor our brothers and sisters.  
Siblings. They are sometimes our best friends or our worst enemies. At times, siblings will provide us with our biggest competition, strongest encouragement and remind us of our most embarrassing moments.
I have always felt lucky to have one of each. In addition to their companionship, love, and support, my older brother and younger sister taught me I am not the center of the universe. Because of them, I have had to learn how to manage conflict in order to survive. We fight and we forgive. They believe in me, they challenge me and well,...they annoy me. (I can say with complete confidence that I annoy them too. Regularly). And yet, I wouldn't have it any other way. I say that because living in a crowded city like San Francisco, working with teenagers, even playing a game like golf means that I am annoyed on a near regular basis. Having siblings has increased my ability to withstand that which is annoying. Thank you, Mark and Sarah! I hope you can thank me too.
Just because something is annoying, however, doesn't mean it ought to be completely done away with. No, when I am annoyed with something or someone, I am reminded of my humanity and theirs. Often, my siblings' annoying actions can be a source of frustration at the time and humor much later. The Notre Dame women's national championship brought this truth to my attention.

I can't tell you how lucky I feel that I got to watch the semifinal and final round of the Women's NCAA Basketball tournament with my two nieces. Visiting Washington DC for Easter, I stayed with my brother and his two daughters, Grace (almost 11) and Lucy (9). They were as excited as I was to see the Irish clinch two clutch wins. 

On Good Friday, in the Final Four game, with 20 seconds to go and up by 5 points, rather than keep eyes glued on the TV, my brother started to play Montel Jordan's hit "This is How We Do It." I did not want any distractions from the game and this hip-hop melody just wasn't necessary. As history will tell, what the Irish did, or rather what UConn did was send the game into overtime. ND held on and beat the mighty Huskies. As everyone was doing what we could to process what happened: WE BEAT UCONN! my brother—once again—queued up this hit. I wanted to hear Coach Muffet McGraw speak....I wanted all the commentary I could get from Rebecca Lobo et al. Nope....instead all I could was "This is how we do it. All hands are in the air!" #Annoying.

Two days later, in the Championship game, the setting, the excitement, the drama and even the game-winning shot wasn't that much different. Neither was my brother's response. I was so annoyed part of me wondered if he enjoyed playing this song more than seeing the Irish win. Grace, Lucy and I continued to jump up and down, high five and celebrate. All Mark wanted to do was dance to "This is How We Do It." Super Annoying.

Still on an emotional high from the win, I went nuts when I heard that Irish guard Arike Ogunbowale, the woman with "Ice in her veins—TWICE!" was invited by Ellen Degeneres to appear on her show. Carrying the NCAA Championship trophy, wearing a Notre Dame women's national championship t-shirt and a beautiful cross around her neck, Arike talked about the adversity the team had faced all season, how their coach made adjustments and believed in them and what it was like to win and complete the game-winning shot. Ellen profiled the public's response to Arike's Easter basket. Not only is Arike featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who was in attendance at the game vs. UConn took to the Twittersphere to give props. Arike laughed and nodded with humility—she added that the media attention, the moment, even the response on campus has been extraordinary.
As sports fans know, great moments beget others. Ellen played cool and asked Arike about being a Kobe Bryant fan. Arike admitted that she wears 24 for him and even named her dog after the Black Mamba. She shared that she had never met her idol. "Really?" asked Ellen. "Well, that's about to change."

I should see these moments coming from a mile away. I don't. I get so excited by the moment—as it is unfolding—that I almost can't imagine the next one is revealed.

It's Kobe! Of course, it is.
He's on the stage to meet Arike Ogunbowale. Of course, he is.

They are adding a chair so the Black Mamba can sit next to the new superstar.
Oh, wait...what's that song playing in the background.

No, it's not....Oh yes, it is
They could have played a million different songs, but what is queued up and ready to go?
Did my brother know this all along?
Is this really how we do it?

There was nothing annoying about that song at this moment. Rather, those notes tie together fantastic memories from a legendary victory and make me ever more grateful I was able to share that moment with one of my siblings. 

Photo Credits
Kobe Tweet
Kobe and Arike

1 comment:

  1. Great article. Poignant. What is annoying one moment can be celebratory the next. Context is everything