Day Three: ‘Cuse

by Tom Noonan

We just passed a traffic sign that flashed, “Follow Us On Twitter”.  I’m not sure if those things know how to display exclamation points, but if they do, this was a pretty unenthusiastic endorsement for the highway’s twitter feed.  I’m definitely not going to check it out.

 I’m trying to listen to “The Whole Love” by Wilco but am finding it hard to totally buy in.  Songs like, “The Art of Almost”, sound too overblown, built on deceptively complicated rhythms with simple lyrics sneaking between the cracks.  Maybe this is all the point, but I’m too tired to relate.  I switch over to “American Slang” by The Gaslight Anthem.  I could use a tattooed lullaby.

An athletic 2-3 zone can break down your life.  It upends progress and reveals the turnovers that had been hiding amongst unrecognized bravado.  A 2-3 zone is like going home for a holiday, with everything you’ve built on your own, all that momentum, torn down when old relationships reinstate themselves all around you.  You always think you have it figured out.  You never expect the next year to be the same.  It always is.  A 2-3 zone is always the same.

And the dome wasn’t fully sold out.  It was loud, sure, but not packed.  It’s just that 2-3 zone; it shrinks everything.  The dome felt like a classroom, claustrophobic and restless.  In the last two minutes of the game, I couldn’t wait to get out of there, to move on, to build everything back up.

I’ve spent the majority of this bus ride home reading the first draft of a musical my sister is writing.  It’s about the Selkie people of Ireland folklore and the very human relationships they struggle with.  It’s also about stories, how they’re told, who tells them, and how those two things affect the way we are changed by listening to them.  More than that, it is about choosing yourself over the stories that have informed your sensibilities.  It is about embracing your humanity while treating the stories you’ve been told as memories, points of reference, something to remind you of where you’ve been.

This is also the story of our team, one that will continue long after the 2-3 zone.  We know the story of Princeton Basketball.  We know the pedigree, the birth of the offense, and the UCLA win.  We know this story because we’ve been told it continuously, but now we have to step outside of it and embrace what we have in front of us.  A story can trap you, but, now that it’s past 1 AM on our trip back home from a 20-point loss in upstate New York, we’re done with 2-3 zones.  We’re done being trapped.