Saturday, May 12, 2007


I have a little story to share.

Thanks to Katie Dahl from the Storm, by the way, for providing an extra ticket for my older (and basketball hating) son to come to today's Meet Your Team event. He did like the muffins (sorry to whoever has to clean up the mess, muffins don't mix well with my boys, more on the floor than in their bellies.)

I said earlier today that Connor almost did not make the game last night once he learned that LJ was not yet in town. All we heard today was, "Where's LJ? Oh, there she is. She has yellow hair and a gray shirt. LJ has a black shirt on. Where is LJ now?" LJ, LJ, LJ. OK, I like LJ, too, but this was ridiculous.

They sit through practice, starting out asking questions, ending up wrestling and making noise. I drag them up to the tunnels so they can run around and I can listen to the Q&A. Things wrap up and I am ready to go. Connor, however, has other ideas. Somehow, while he was running around screeching, he heard that the players were going to walk around to different sections. "I want to shake LJ's hand!" I try to explain to him that LJ is tired, she has to talk to all these fans when I am sure that she wants a nap, it will be boring blah, blah, blah as they answer questions from fans, etc, etc, etc. He will have none of it.

After reminding his older brother that this trip was for Connor, we head down to try and find the basketball picture section. I don't know where it was because we quit after the 5th section we hit has lots of empty seats and Alan Horton is saying to spread out evenly. JB is talking. It turns out that we sat in the third station from the end of the day for LJ. He looks at every player and coach that comes by and says..."Where's LJ. I want to see her. Lift me up. Show me where LJ is." Over, and over and over.

Don't get me wrong, I love the boy. He is my basketball child. His brother told me three years ago that basketball was dumb and boring and he didn't want to go to another game, ever. I am very thankful for his unbridled enthusiasm for the only sport I love. This LJ thing is getting out of control.

Finally, it is time for LJ to come. I warn him that she is just here to talk and likely doesn't feel like coming into physical contact with the fans. I know she has a rep for being shy, and now she is bound to be exhausted between jetlag and practice. He doesn't hear any of it. I tell him that he can walk the four steps to stand behind the front row as close to LJ as possible and maybe she will see him and give him a smile. He takes one step and freezes. There is LJ. She walks up to our group and his smile breaks out huge. He starts to giggle and suddenly turns around and runs away to hide. The entire time LJ is in our section the little guy pretends to completely ignore her, not returning until the buzzer sounds and Sue strolls over. After Betty wraps up the day for our section, I try to round the boys up and ask Connor what happened. He won't answer and tells me not to talk to him. Then he sees LJ in the tunnel and says..."That's LJ! I want to go see her." I tell him I'm sorry but she's all done for the day and we have to go.

As we are walking back to our car outside (with Connor on my shoulders) he starts to cry and tells me he's sorry. I ask him why he is sorry and he says that he is sorry that he hid from LJ. I tell him it is OK, he doesn't need to be sorry but he is very upset. Finally I get it out of him that he was too shy (he didn't even have a word for it, I had to figure it out) to say anything to LJ when she was that close. It was just too much for him. Faced with LJ only a few feet away he just didn't know what to do. I told him that it was perfectly normal. I was inches from Betty today and could barely mumble a return "Hi," as I tried to keep the boys from ramming into her. I think about how hard it must be to come face to face with a hero when you are just three years old. I think LJ has to be his first hero (besides Mom or Dad, that is). I think LJ is great (how could you not), but I have always been one to root for the underdog, not the best player on the court. I don't know why he became so focused on her, but he has.

He was still talking about it this evening after his nap. "Next time I will say hi to LJ. I will tell her it is OK for her to come to our house. We can have a play date." I just shake my head and smile. "OK, Connor. Sure. Next time I bet you will say hi to her."

Oh my. He is three. What happens when he turns five? Someone please tell me he grows out of this.

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