Monday, March 08, 2010

Serious Fun

Our Santa Monica Girls basketball team, for the first time in our school's history -- since 1891 when we were hooping it up in long, wool black dresses and sporty hats (and you know I'm giving SAMO the benefit of the doubt that they even let us ladies look at a basketball then) --, we will raise a banner in the gym stating that our girls are the Southern Section Division 1A CIF Champions. We are the Champions! We start our state tournament at home on Tuesday.

The night we won the CIF finals, we traveled down to Orange County in ancient school buses, yellow rounded bullet-type buses where the insides looked like vaults; the best that a shoe-string budget can buy. I haven't had my teeth rattled like that on a road trip since my own high school away games. Maya traveled on the team bus and Mina and I traveled on the family bus. There was a third bus that transported faithful students, and the entire boys varsity and JV teams. We brought the noise. We screamed, we stomped, we competitively bantered with the opposing crowd across the court. Man, I swooned when I saw our boys teams clustered together with their rally shirts and painted faces, jumping up and down and creating chants, stomping their feet. In the end, our girls were too strong. They played amazingly.

Security wouldn't let us rush the court after the game. The post-game glory was for players, coaches and media only. I gave Mina the camera and told her to weave among the trees on the court and get us photos! They didn't stop her. Here the girls were posing for our local newspaper.

I love this picture of our star player, the one signed with a full scholarship to UCLA for next year. She already knows interview politics. All star athletes do, but I love her nervous tick of shoving her hands in her uniform like that. She does it during games too, sometimes. It's the only vulnerability she shows usually. All the players know Mina already. Here's Mina showing love to players she looks up to. I ask Mina, "Will you play that intensely when it's your turn?" And she says, "Shoot, more intense." I believe her. Here's Mina with our other star player, my favorite player. Both of these girls have a competitive intensity that is incredible to watch. I love when it makes people a little uncomfortable, like, yes we want them to win, but should young ladies act this way. And most of us shout, Most Definitely! Git 'em girls! We like our warriors with swagger, please. And we love them even more when they're gracious and loving to our warriors-to-be.

Sunday morning, I ran the Malibu Creek Trail 10K to fulfill my fundraising promise. The night before and the morning of, I thought about blowing it off. It's a normal nervous reaction, not something I consider seriously. Of course I thought of the Face Your Wall speeches so off I went feeling underprepared and out of my league. The morning was beautiful, blue and cool sunshine, not the rain we were anticipating. But it rained the night before so I knew we were in for a muddy trail. The crowd was mellow, laid back even. It was a different vibe than a road 10k, like people were happy to be in nature, they didn't seem as nervous. The elite runners even seemed more down to earth. The crowd was fairly small. Just about 150 runners were there for the 25k and 50k events and about 110 runners for the 10K. As they announced the start of the 25k & 50k, before my race, they explained the markings of the trail and that the Malibu Creek, which they'd be crossing, was about waist deep now. I thought, Whoa. Then I got myself all excited about the prospect of jumping in a deep creek, soggy shoes, the shock of cold water only to be told the 10k'ers would not be crossing the creek. Damn. 90% of my route was a single track trail with sharp, stair-like inclines, leveling out then steep descents. 60% of the single track trail was layered with four-inch deep soft, wet mud. We slipped and slid up and down the thousand foot elevation. And man, I laughed every time I slipped, every time someone else slipped. It was so fun. In my mind, I thought I was very strong on the hill especially in the mud. Good runners were tentative, but as a good athlete I just jumped in and when I slid I was strong and balanced enough to not go down and to keep moving. The last three quarter mile, the flat stretch before finish, was the most challenging part of the race for me and I got passed by a strong runner who I had passed on the mountain. I was tired and I questioned why I thought it was so hard at that point, but lord if I didn't keep plodding away. I slowed considerably, but I plodded along. I finished unceremoniously with the pleasant staff telling me good job. I got my tote bag, touched my toes, looked around and shrugged and headed home. I had had a complete blast. This morning I'm sore from the mud stair climbing and stabilizing my ligaments and joints on such an unstable surface, but I feel great about the whole experience. And when I got an email this morning listing me as the third place finisher out of twelve in my age group, my head swole up to the size of a hot air balloon. Man, that felt great. I compared my time to the 30-39 year olds and I would have come in 4th in that category. I compared my time to the youngins, the under 30's and I would have come in 10th. Head = swollen. Now I'm jazzed for the next race. Now I'm jazzed to get even stronger on the mountain.

Five minutes after I crossed the finish line.
5lbs of mud on each shoe is a challenge. The best was when I thought I'd lose my shoes entirely in sticky mud puddles.Here's the mountain we climbed. I don't know if the 10K'ers got to the top.Coming home with my fancy tote, which reads "Serious Fun" at the bottom; my girls yelling, "Mami, we're proud of you!"I represented the SAMO girls during the race.


Maven said...

I'm proud of you.

domenica said...

Longtime reader here... I was hiking Griffith Park today and sent you some good vibes from Dante's view:)

Madame One Tree said...

This is a wonderful read. Congratulations to the SAMO Warriors with Serious Swagga! Congratulations to You. You own a huge piece of Swagga, yourself!

madness rivera said...

Thanks Mavie.

Hey D, nice to meet chu, and thanks! I think I felt them.

Thanks MOT. I'm still strutting high with my bronze.

Melinda said...

Agree re: the Swagga of Madness!

State tournament starts Tuesday -- as in tonight? Woot!! So psyched to hear how it goes!

jagosaurus said...

Hooray! Your head should be all swole up like a hot air balloon.* You're the bee's knees.

*I'd say it this way so you could enjoy the full benefit of my hillbilliness if I were there: "Yor haid should be all swoled up!"

madness rivera said...

I love your hillbilliness.

Yup! Tonight. On my way to the pep rally.

lagata said...

Woot Woot! Congrats to teh SAMO Warriors - I wish them success in the State Tourny!

And to you! How awesome is that!

Marigoldie said...

This is super awesome and sounds like a lot of fun. Hooray for Madness!