Monday, March 06, 2006

No cure for Tubular Zagomania

It was a REMOTELY busy night last night as we sat in front of the tube with two important programs to watch. All of us wanted to watch the Zags, and all of us wanted to watch the Oscars. Both started at 5 p.m. PST.

We'd thought about this weighty situation all day long, about how we could do both. With one TV in the back bedroom and the other, in the living room, I figured we could just leave both televisions running. But, that would mean we'd all be constantly running down the hall. We finally gave up on that thought as fairly impractical.

About 4:30 p.m., I ordered a pizza from Second Avenue. Bill went to the store to get salad makings. Then, Willie and I sat down on the couch just before 5. He suggested we watch Jon Stewart's opening monologue on the Oscars and then switch to the Zags.

Jon Stewart ranks right up there with Morrison, Batista, et. al. in Willie's book, so Oscar night was just as important to him as it was for me to see which stars would make total fools out of themselves in their acceptance speeches.
We watched Jon until commercial---then, switched to ESPN 2. The phone rang. I knew who it was before picking up the receiver.

"It's ESPN2," I announced, before my mother even had a chance to ask, "Where's that game?"
"What channel?" she asked.
"ESPN2," I repeated.
"Okay," she said. "I hope it's not one of those you have to pay for."
"Well, we don't," I assured her, "so give it a try."

She did not call back. The complexity of the evening in front of the tube had eased considerably over what it had been a few nights ago when Mother's satellite package did not offer Fox28. The Zags were playing their Senior Night game against San Francisco, and, of course, the contest was being aired on yet another channel. I think they've played on at least 30 different channels this year. That's not been good for Mother, but she's managed to track 'em down most of the time and root for her Zags.

The San Francisco game, however, was not to air at her house. Our telephone kept ringing throughout the first half.

"What's the score?" she'd ask, disgustedly.
"They're ahead by 2. Why don't you just pay for the program?"

"Because I'm mad," she told me.
"Well, it's only a couple of bucks. You can afford that."
Her next call came just before the half.
"Did you order the game?" I asked before she could get started.
"No, what's the score?"
"They're tied, and it's almost halftime. Why don' t you just order that channel or have Barbara do it for you . . . I'm gonna call Barbara and have her order the channel."
"Okay," she said.

I called Barbara and learned that it wasn't a matter of just ordering the game----Mother would have to pay for the whole channel to be installed. Barbara and Laurie live just a hundred or so feet down the driveway from Mother. Barbara told me she was sure they didn't have Fox28 on their TV. I asked her to check anyway.

"Hey, there are Gonzaga basketball players on the screen," she announced.
"Then, you have the channel. Bundle Mother up and get her down to your house before she goes nuts!" I ordered my younger sister.

We made it through the rest of the San Francisco game with no more phone calls. At its end, everyone was thrilled. Mother called later to give her final play-by-play analysis and to assure me she'd been wearing her Zags sweatshirt. In her mind, Adam Morrison behaved himself that night.

So, last night our biggest challenge was knowing we were missing the best of two good programs. We finally just gave in and stuck with the Zags, flipping back to the Oscars at halftime. The Zags drove us nuts last night because they seemed to have a comfortable control of the game in the first half. I was even figuring we might be able to go back to the Oscars earlier than anticipated with their 10-12 point lead.

But, the Zags like to give people their money's worth, and last night, in the contest against a scrappy San Diego team, they had their hands full throughout the entire second half. And, their big Brazilian star J.P. Batista sprained his knee. He alternated between the locker room and the game during the last half. Even with a limp, he made the difference in the game, which extended to overtime. Finally, the Zags did what they've done all year long-----they found a way to win.

We could finally go back to the Oscars in time to see the Best Actor, Actress, Director, etc. During the finale, we watched something on the Oscars that we were afraid we might see in the Zags game---an upset.

I could almost feel a tidal wave thundering across the nation when Jack Nicholson announced that
Crash had crashed the Brokeback Mountain party. For the most part, I thought what we saw was pretty satisfying----nice distribution of awards and good speeches by most of the winners.

Fortunately, in Spokane's West Coast Championship tournament, our much-beloved Zags have hung tight and, so far, have withstood the upset potential. At least, when they play Loyola Marymount tonight, Mother has the channel on her TV set, and we won't have the Oscars to lure us away from one second of the WCC championship game.

And, I've learned from this morning's paper that when we watch tonight, we'll be watching a member of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Basketball Team---Mr. Adam Morrison.

Go Zags!

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