In 1995, after a few years away from the winner's circle, the UCLA Bruins won the NCAA tournament. It was my first year in Nebraska and I remember watching my alma mater's championship game by my self.
I wasn't lonely; I enjoyed watching the game as much as I always did. But the picture remained fresh in my mind because a few years later I fell in love and now had a fellow basketball fan with whom to share the excitement. And often, as we watched games together, I would think of that solitary game. In those moments I would be incredibly happy for the love that had since come rushing into my world, overwhelming me with a promising happiness that I had never expected to experience. I was incredibly grateful to the universe.
In June of 2006, that happiness came to an end. No one was more surprised than me to discover that "forever" actually meant 9 years and some change. Cue the misery. By the following spring, with the March Madness season upon me, I was still looking for some equilibrium in my life. Of course, it wasn't just me who had experienced the upheaval of our family falling apart, there was also my boy to consider.
Together that spring, JT and I watched a lot of basketball. Often, my memory would return to the 1995 scene in Nebraska. I would replay it in my mind and it was almost as if I was watching my old self. Reliving it, I felt terribly sad for the girl who hadn't yet had her heart broken.
Basketball had been mine before my life with a partner and I was determined to make it mine again. The men's and women's games were a happy distraction in the spring of 2006. I was incredibly glad to share it with JT. In the years since, he has turned into quite the basketball fan. We watch the men's and women's tournament and we compare stats and facts about our favorite teams and players. We talk smack when our teams win and we lie low when they don't. I'm incredibly glad to share the madness with him.