People unfamiliar with farm life here in Indiana often ask me about what it's like at various times of the year. It is definitely a seasonal and calendar driven life. I believe that most people have a nostalgic impression of farm life and given its realities and the speculative financial nature it is best to let them think of Lassie and Timmy. But none the less allow me to tell you about this season and what you could expect if you came here on the farm for a visit.......
As the days begin to lengthen and the thermometer begins to slowly climb the pace on the Indiana farm begins to quicken. It quickens in preparation for the season ahead and the excitement if not the unpredictability it brings. I as a farm wife do my share of the preparations for the changes that will dictate our waking hours the next few weeks. I shop at the grocery store and lay in the appropriate provisions....quick energy food, sandwich items, anything that can be eaten with the left hand while the right hand operates the equipment. All sorts of beverages are purchased that will quench the strongest of thirsts. My husband Leslie does his part in making sure that all the equipment is in working order. When I say working order I don't just mean it runs when you turn it on...I mean maintenance to make sure that it can run for hours without stopping because an equipment failure can be devastating in the overall outcome. He also devours all the latest publication information so that he is up to date on the latest trends and statistics...because lack of information can also be the land mine that blows everything skyward. He consults with all his farming buddies and they exchange opinions and predictions. And let's not forget the experts on T.V. and the print media because they are never at a loss to express their choices for the coming season. With the preparations, fortifications and the badge of experience from previous years we enter the season.......the season.....of.....
That's right folks! Here in Indiana the cradle of civilization for basketball there is nothing as important as filling in your brackets and following your favorite teams. Not only is college basketball important but as the movie "Hoosiers" so accurately depicted, high school hoops are the next best thing to marrying off your daughter to the farm implement dealer! In Indiana traveling to a tournament basketball game is akin to a pilgrimage to temple. Instead of a mark of ash on your forehead you get a thumbprint of nacho cheese or ketchup. I was raised with Bobby Knight just down the road. I saw him more than once show up in a local restaurant for "all you could eat fried chicken" night. I graduated from the high school of John Wooden and I can almost see his birth place in Hall from my front door. I played basketball myself in high school in the pioneer days of girl's basketball in this state. I was going to take my Indiana High School referee test but the preparation for my upcoming wedding took more energy and brain cells than I could spare so alas I never wore the black and white. I have given you MY background credentials but the March madness maniac at our household is not me...but my husband Leslie.
He loves basketball...boys...girls...college... he would watch more pro ball later in the season but by that time he has to go to the field. He and his friend Bob, comrade in basketball passion , use to pick a high school team to follow for the season. Now this team did not always fall geographically close to home so they were known to travel everywhere following their "Cinderella team". I have sat in gyms pretty much all over the state. I could write a blog on the pros and cons of gymnasium design from the prospective of a woman with ample cushion. But where the real magic happens in our house is the NCAA tournament. They named it the "Big Dance" appropriately because Leslie prepares for it just like he was going to the prom. I have to tell you that "I am the man" because I bought him a new wide flat screen T.V. for Christmas, we have satellite as well so he is watching in the highest tech I can afford.
He has the recorder all ready to tape games so he can go back and watch a play. He has extra batteries because heaven forbid the remote control would go down for the count in the middle of a commercial. Oh, commercial you say....that is when you jump to ESPN and watch the women's college tournament, the NIT or the Indiana High School tournament. It's enough to cause a person to have gender affinity problems. I needed to do some sewing this weekend so I sat up a table in the living room so we could "share some time together" while he watched the games. I would sew a little and watch the men's college teams. I would then look up and remark that "those guys don't look old enough to be in college" only to find out that there had been a time out and he had switched to the high school game. When I really began to doubt myself is when I looked up the next time and all the players had breasts! You got it; he jumped to the women's games during the Lite Beer commercial.
The living room looks almost like Houston control and it would be if I let him have a couple more T.V.'s in the room. Last year he tried to watch the women's college tournament and the men's at the same time by...now make a mental picture of this...standing in the middle of the living room so he could see the living room television and turning the T.V. in the bedroom so he could also see it from his vantage point. Both games were near the end and close in scoring, I thought I was going to have to get a crash cart and recuscitate him. He is surrounded by all his print outs, remotes, pens and newspaper commentaries. He works on his "bracketology" like I wish he would work on the porch light I need installed. He gets up only to get nourishment and take care of necessities. I personally think someone has missed the boat in not marketing the "Final Four Do It Yourself Catheter, designed so you won't miss a single moment of the action". I can tell you the Monday aftermath around command central looks much like the Snake Pit after race day of the Indy 500 .
I have to say that I am thankful that he chooses to indulge his passion at home and not go to some bar and watch the games surrounded by bar babes....like he would even notice a babe when a well executed hook shot has just sent the game into overtime. I will continue to cheer on my team of choice and try and stay focused as the channel changer jumps from game to game. I am aware during this time of year for me to be wearing what he considered provocative attire I would have to have the Big Ten Stats pasted to my chest. I will not be seeing much of him later on as the planting time starts so I will treasure these intimate moments we share together like when a player suffers an injury and they break away to an update and we actually exchange a passing glance. I like it that we can share this wonderful time of year. Go Team!
All decked out in team colors down on the farm.