Did you see that great-looking woman at the top of Page 1B on Sunday? That was my lovely wife, who proved with her Pinch-Hitter column that, like everything, anything I can do, she can do much, much better.
I remember like it was yesterday the day she talked about in her column, that night when UNC’s Dante Calabria needed to tip in a shot at the buzzer to lift Carolina over Maryland.
My wife and I go way back. I mean, waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy back. We met in kindergarten in Winchester, Va., and were in the same first- and second-grade classes. We even sat next to each other in the second grade — something the teacher set up, because I can remember getting to Ms. Jones’ class on the first day and walking around the room looking for my name, which was supposed to be taped to my desk. After finding my desk, I walked around the rest of the classroom looking for Becky’s name and couldn’t find it. I knew she was supposed to be in my class, but I couldn’t find her name, and she wasn’t there yet. So I went back to my desk and sat down, looked over to my right, and there it was. Honest to God.
My family moved to South Carolina, though, midway through my second grade year. What neither one of us remembers is who wrote the first letter. It didn’t matter, because before the age of e-mail and cell phones, Becky and I corresponded by mail for the next 12 years, all the way up to our sophomore years in college.
We saw each other twice in that 12-year span, never visiting more than an hour. But in college, we decided to get together for an extended period of time. We tried August, but it didn’t work out. Finally, over the end of the holiday break, we worked out Jan. 3-6, 1996. She flew down to RDU, I picked her up and she came to visit my family and me for three days at our house.
Her first night there, my mom had fried chicken and corn on the cob for dinner. Think about that for a minute. Chicken and corn on the cob. Are there two more difficult things to eat in a polite way? Needless to say, Becky ate like a bird. (None of us had a clue. Becky had to tell us her side of the story years after we got married.)
And then later, the Carolina/Maryland game. I actually had tickets to the game, but gave them away since Becky was coming. It probably would have actually made a pretty good date, maybe even an impressive one, but what did I know? I was just trying not to come off as a complete idiot.
Um, no luck.
Becky’s recounting of the evening is accurate. I started the game on the loveseat couch seated next to her. I finished it on the floor inches from the TV next to my dad, screaming at the top of my lungs. A real catch, huh?
But Becky just laughed. Laughed the whole night. And we found that we didn’t want the weekend to ever end, that fireworks really do go off and that there was a reason for all those letters.
Becky seems to think she’s come to this epiphany that she’s somehow morphed into a brand of sports nut. That some way, maybe by some strange form of osmosis, the fanaticism that rages inside of me has latched onto her.
I disagree, though respectfully and lovingly. I think it’s been there all along. It just needed an avenue, a way to come out.
I guess I showed her the way.
She’s showed me everything else. And I love her for it.