Friday, March 26, 2010

Unique New York*

My alma mater won last night. Maybe you heard. If not, feast your eyes on highlights:

And it's sort of a big deal that they won. Sort of a "they've never made it to this level of tournament play before" big deal. But I know that a lot of my friends don't really follow basketball and, you each their own. Whatever. But I do. Specifically, I care about the NCAA tournament, and to be even more specific, I care about Butler in the NCAA tournament. So I was pretty excited about this win.

I didn't get to see one minute of the game, thanks to ochem.

What occurred instead was one of the most unique situations that I've ever been in.

Thinking ahead, I set up z and the boy to send me text updates as the game progressed. I knew I would have zero access to internet or to a TV during my lab, so I thought the text messages would be the best option to keep up on the game. What ensued was hilarious.

The first part of my lab was a lecture. In the basement of the science building. Where cell reception is spotty anyway. And where my lab TA has been known to confiscate cell phones that make noise. (true story.) So I set my phone to silent and took the desk closest to the door of the classroom. I put the phone on my desk and kept surreptitiously checking when a new text would come in. I would carefully type responses so as not to draw too much attention as the lecture progressed. Keep in mind that this was happening in a class of 13 people. THIRTEEN. Looking back, I'm pretty certain the lecturer knew that I was up to something.

As fate would have it, the lecture broke right as we hit halftime, and I got my final update: "35-25 at halftime. Fewest points in 1st half, biggest deficit at halftime for Syracuse." I almost danced up the stairs to the lab where we would begin our experiment, and started plotting ways to keep my phone in my back pocket, but still be able to check messages regularly.

On our way to the lab, I heard the lecturer (who was also leading this lab) ask someone else if they knew the Butler score. I almost tripped up the stairs, when I whirled around to blurt "35-25." He responded, "Syracuse?" to which I answered, "Nope. Butler. Can you believe it?"

What followed was a three minute conversation about Butler's chances, how the first half had gone, and how we couldn't believe they were up 10.

After that conversation, I went ahead and took the liberty of placing my cell phone in the same hood where my partner and I were conducting our experiment. Since the lab leader kept coming by to get the updates that I was getting, I figured I had a bit of license to be somewhat distracted.

Because both z and the boy were sending updates, I was getting different perspectives. When Syracuse pulled ahead, z was careful to never tell me the score...only who had possession and what foul had just been committed. The boy's updates were more irregular and more shorthanded (almost to the point where they could not be understood) but since he was giving me the score as Syracuse first caught up to, and then passed Butler, I could understand his stress.

Then suddenly, for a good five to ten minutes, both boys stopped sending updates. This coincided with a point in my experiment where I was washing my product with reagent and letting it sit for five minutes at a time - three washes. Three intervals of five minutes to obsessively check my phone for updates when, during the last two washes, none were forthcoming. I was fah-reaking out. We've already discussed how I can not handle suspense. And I had nothing. No way to check anything that was going on.

And then there was an explosion.

It seemed that everyone I knew was sending me a message. From "down by 4...they can't buy a basket... 4 min left," to "Woah, your boys r gonna win crazy!" to "holy shit!" to "62-56," "63-56. Syracuse ball," "63-58. 23.6. Foul on Syracuse," "Missed. Foul on Butler. In bounds to Syracuse," "12.7. Shooting foul on Butler. Almost made the shot too," "63-59," "Missed the second! Foul on Syracuse. Two shots. 9.9," "Missed the first," and finally "BUTLER WINS!"

These came in one after another after another. At one point I had 13 messages that I just could not keep up with even though I was reading them as they came in. Usually the first update would come from z (most of the messages above) and would be shortly followed by some variation of the same information from the boy. And then? Then came the Facebook updates after the win where EVERYONE freaked out.

It was unreal.

I know the game was stressful. I've seen the highlights and sorted through the text messages. Watching it would have been awesome. But this was a completely unique experience that was not the completely miserable situation I anticipated. My experience was tension from not knowing. Was jumping up and down while impatiently awaiting the next update and still managing to focus enough to time my reagent washes. My experience was excited chatter with others who didn't really have a stake in the game, but were catching on to my nervous excitement. It was sorting through a plethora of information that came all at once after a long period of knowing nothing at all. And finally it was jubilation that my team had just earned a huge win.

I was supposed to go home and go to sleep after that? No way. I live about five blocks from campus (if that) and if you stepped out on my porch in the rain, you could hear the noise from the students. I couldn't sleep. I watched highlights, I read Facebook posts, and I reveled in the excitement.

And I know that sports don't really matter. I know that I could be posting about any of several other more serious topics in the news lately. But when your team is the David that just beat Goliath? When the underdog gets a chance to say "Nah nah na nah naaaaaah?" It's a unique type of celebratory feeling. One that you want to revel in. To roll around in like a dog in an interesting smell. So that's my PSA for today. Get into sports. It's cheaper than drugs, and the highs are just as high. (just don't ask z about the lows.)

Now cross your fingers for Butler's next game at 4:30pm on Saturday, and if you have a time machine so that I can get study time in (for two tests!!) in ADDITION to watching that game? It would be appreciated.

*bonus points if you can tell me which movie the title came from.


Candace said...

I am glad that this win and fun updating allowed you so much adrenaline. Not a bad way to get it.

zlionsfan said...

So, just to explain what actually happened, what I was doing was sending updates at each time out, up until the four-minute timeout in the second half. Basically, that meant most of the updates had Butler in front. When Syracuse took the lead and held on for a while, play didn't stop, so I wasn't sending stuff. (Keep in mind I was well aware of the martinet's no-cell-phone rule and didn't want to get ems busted.)

In the final four minutes, I tried to keep ems updated on everything that happened as best I could. What apparently happened was that the 500 people that Verizon supposedly has stalking you aren't really doing anything, so when I sent all those text messages just like everyone else in Indiana was, Verizon's network went OH NOES and freaked out, dropping them all over the floor, grabbing whichever ones were nearest and sending them randomly.

Of course they could have been watching the game online through CBS, but who knew?

ems said...



Lindsey M said...


Is it Anchorman?
We used to say that in speech team.

Unique New York
You know New York
You need New York
You know you need unique New York.


ems said...

Lindsey - yes it's Anchorman. You win!

(I had no idea that this was an actual "warm up your voice" thing. I just learned something new :-)