Yes, we had a really nice trip together. Yes, it was great to see my college roommate, E. Yes, I am so grateful to my sister for watching OJ and for the people who helped us to get tickets.
But what I did NOT count on for our weekend away, and every day since our return, is feeling so damn pregnant.
No two pregnancies are the same but since I’ve been down this road once before and never felt quite so awful, I wasn’t really expecting it the second time around. Everything hurts. Nothing fits. I run out of energy before I begin anything. This was NOT in my game plan. Is this the difference in three years and twenty-five pounds, between boy and girl, between a desk job and running after a two-year old? Is this dramatic foreshadowing for what is to come with this baby girl?
But going to the Final Four was awesome. It’s been a lifelong bucket list type thing for me and if you know me at all, a BASKETBALL BABYMOON (pregnancy crap aside) is so fitting.
We are totally pumped for next year, when the Final Four returns to (our city). It’s definitely not going to be the same event because the logistics are so different, but I definitely think it would be awesome if I could get my fingers into some part of the party (pipe dream with an infant).
In the meantime, our weekend in Phoenix–our last good time for a long time.
We arrived EARLY on Friday morning–Phoenix is two hours behind us and the flight time is about the same so it’s like no time passed from takeoff to landing. But it’s a good thing we got there early because it took about a year and half to get our rental car and then after some failed attempts at making a start (e.g. tickets not yet ready to pick up, hotel room not yet ready), we finally decided to make our way to what they call, “Final Four Friday” when the public can watch the teams practice, they have lots of contests and prizes, and there is an “all-star game”.
On our way to the stadium, however, we got caught up in some kind of drug operation so the highway came to a complete stop–what was meant to take 35 minutes took like 1 hour and 35 minutes. But we finally arrived at the stadium…
… a bit haggard, but smiling.
Did you know that the guy in the Pizza Hut commercial in which he orders pizza from his shoes, IS GRANT HILL!?! Did he go into WITNESS PROTECTION!? He looks SO DIFFERENT. Well, apparently these “Pie Top” shoes are a real thing–they only made 64 pairs of them and this kid won the race to get his own pair. Grant Hill–don’t confuse him with Steve Smith.
Later that afternoon–tickets acquired.
And hotel room ready so a quick shower and then a Colgate reunion with my roommate who played softball (as opposed to the one who played volleyball, or field hockey or lacrosse). Apropos of this, after getting dinner, we went to an Arizona Diamondbacks exhibition game. Chase Field, where the Diamondbacks play, HAS A POOL in it. “Value-engineered” Nats stadium–this is not.
Day one: long, and done.
Final Four Saturday: LONG day.
We got to the stadium at 11:00am. There was a large pre-game tailgate setup on the “lawn” outside of the stadium–a nice grassy area setup for just these kinds of events with food, drink, games, etc. Since the stadium here is surrounded by highway and pavement, this is definitely not possible to reproduce next year…
From about 12:00pm, the CBS pre-game hype started so we watched “the guys” live. Lots of people confused Steve Smith for Grant Hill, and nobody seemed to know Seth Davis’s last name. Everyone knew Greg Gumbel and most everyone recognized the coach of the #1 overall seed in the tournament, the guy from Villanova (whose team was NOT in the Final Four). But in watching the broadcast live and in person, I think if I had to write the copy for all this show, I would really hate my job.
At 1:00pm, we entered the stadium. That’s a full TWO HOURS before the first tipoff. But pregnant momma didn’t want to use the porta-potty, and once you were in the stadium, there was no re-entry.
This part was EXHAUSTING. My sister calls it “almost like work”. For almost nine hours, we were prisoners of the stadium. Yes, the first round regional games are FOUR games in one day, but at least there is a dinner break during which you can leave the stadium and breathe fresh air, get a bite to eat and all the free water you can drink.
Next Final Four? Suite life is the sweet life. Dedicated potties, comfy chairs, no long queues for food and bottomless drinks.
So we live and learn but as first-timers, we are so lucky to have had this experience and get to see two great games. I really thought the UNC-Oregon game would be the better of the two, but it was the South Carolina Gamecocks that really came out and gave Gonzaga a run for their money.
In the meantime, the pics we received from the homefront:
Aunt M’s brainwashing has begun. But to be fair, I was also sporting my Beaver Believer best (black and orange).
Text from Aunt M: “He’s looking for you at the basketball.”
This one made me cry. Hormones much!?
So it was a long day on a good day and made worse by being pregnant, but still an AWESOME experience. Before we left, I got my “Colgate at the Final Four” picture, thanks to borrowing from E’s collection (sooo reminiscent of college).
Sunday, we took it slow. We went to the FanFest (against Aunt M’s advice) and it was not worth the energy or time–NCAA at its’ corporate worst. But let’s be real, it’s corporations, not individuals, who get the suites, y’all.
Later that night, we motivated for a date night. First, a round of mini golf. I LOVE mini golf. It’s difficult to play with a two-year old in tow, so we seized the opportunity. And what trip to Arizona would be complete without a round of golf?!
But with this belly–I do not love bending over to pick up the ball.
And then dinner at the CASH ONLY drug-front, motorcycle-gang-run diner. It was really charming.
Before leaving Monday afternoon, we went to the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix called Taliesin West. Our tour guide was really good and the house pretty interesting, with lots of places to sit down during the tour. We couldn’t leave without getting a pitch to become a member of the foundation.
For the first time in my life, I had to purchase DRAMAMINE for the flight because I felt SO NAUSEOUS on the flight there. I’m so glad I did because it was a rough takeoff with a full flight and a talkative, opinionated mother-in-law type sitting next to me.
So glad to land. We had a busy week to follow and I just don’t think my body can keep up! I am working on how to feel better–anti-nausea drugs, if I am honest less coffee (but I already drink less than the recommended max…), and more rest, water, and comfortable clothes. But you will get an earful in my next post, a rant about maternity clothes.