Previously on MomJovi, Syracuse had lost its Final Four game and Jackie and DadJovi had to essentially reenact scenes from The Walking Dead to get back to the hotel. Back to the story.
After Saturday night’s disastrous trip back to the hotel, we took it easy Sunday morning. Of course, Mr. I Never Sleep In Anymore woke up bright and early to go run in the hotel’s gym. When I finally woke up around 9 or so (I wish it’d been later but he was already back and making too much noise), I dragged myself out of bed and he guilted me into doing some kind of workout. Party pooper.
Since my legs and feet were KILING me from being on them for hours and hours the day before, I decided to take advantage of the fitness center’s indoor pool and do some laps. I hadn’t been in a pool in a loooong time and those first few laps were rough. But after 20 minutes, my body was surprisingly feeling much better. I hate when exercise actually makes me feel better. I’ve told you before that I’m endorphine-intolerant, so it always makes me suspicious when I feel any sort of post-exercise high. It’s a feeling that can’t be trusted.
Sunday’s plans included heading down to Brackettown so I could check it out for the first time and DadJovi could try — again — to meet his hero Christian Laettner.
Thankfully, our trip down was much easier than our trip home the night before.
After we got off the MARTA train, we had to walk back by the hub of the previous day’s activities, including the Hudson Grille. It was a much sadder place.
I was definitely wallowing in our loss. I kept trying to remind myself how great it was that we even made it to the Final Four, but it wasn’t helping. I was freaking bummed out.
This did not help.
I figured it was finally time to suck it up and buy a Syracuse Final Four shirt. I figured wrong. They were nowhere to be found. Nowhere. I went into every Final Four store that we passed, and every single Syracuse shirt, except for a few XXLs, was sold out. We may not have conquered but the Syracuse faithful certainly came. The stores still had plenty of Louisville and Wichita State items and a few Michigan shirts, but Syracuse shirts were hard to come by. Go Orange.
I figured, “Well, at least they’ll probably have some in the Dome on Championship night.” As you’ve probably gathered by every other guess I’d made this trip, I guessed wrong.
When we arrived at the Brackettown line, we couldn’t figure out why it was such a long line to get in. We arrived right around noon, and even though it’d opened at 11, the line was huge. The weekend will forever be known as the Weekend of Waiting.
As we stood there a few minutes, we also noticed something else odd — there seemed to be a lot of tween girls in line. A lot. Hmmm, somehow, I didn’t think they were there to see Laettner or Kareem Abdul Jabbar (who was also doing an autograph session). Those men are ANCIENT to them.
Finally, I asked the family behind us. They were there WOOOO to see WOOOO Cody Simpson WOOOO. Yes, they were woo girls. Who the f is Cody Simpson? Honestly, I can’t even be bothered to Google him that’s how little I care but from what I gathered, all the tween girls love him. (It’s a him right?)
In fact, the girl behind was so excited that she — and I shit you not — THREW UP into her jacket, right behind me. Better her jacket than me, I guess.
Seriously, this was not helping with my wallowing.
After about 30 minutes, we finally made it inside. And it was massive. DadJovi headed to the Laettner line, and I set off to explore.
Brackettown was a giant fan zone with booths set up by all the sponsors. E would have loved it. There was whiffleball, hockey, basketball (obviously), video games, and, best of all, random photo opps.
Why, yes, I do look good in a Rakeem Christmas jersey. Thanks for mentioning it.
After I’d made my loop around the convention floor — and avoided all the woo girls who were, by this point, SCREAMING from their seats for the show, a full hour before the concert started — I went back to find DadJovi, still waiting patiently in line.
As I got near him, I saw the man, the myth, the legend himself … milling about the kids’ hoops with his kids (I think).
I couldn’t tell whether he was happy I was taking pictures of him … or if he wanted to kill me.
DadJovi was NOT happy that I snapped the picture. “DON’T RUIN THIS FOR ME” is what I think he yelled at me.
Let’s just say, he was getting nervous.
OK, I’m sure even you casual basketball fans have heard of Christian Laettner. But if you haven’t, he’s a Duke player (obviously) who hit probably the most famous shot in NCAA tournament history. Seriously, watch this clip now.
You have no idea how many documentaries my husband has made me watch over the years about that damn shot. And to be honest, watching all of them has kind of made me fall in love with Laettner and his arrogance. I know, I know. But he just freaking OWNS that he’s cocky and that he made the greatest shot of all time. Seriously, look at his Twitter bio.
I mean, that’s awesome, right?
Well, DadJovi was all worried about saying the wrong thing to Christian. And if that wasn’t enough to stress about, just as Christian was about to take his spot, the organizers made an announcement: He would only be signing the handouts they provided. This was a disaster. For two days, DadJovi had been lugging a giant tube around Atlanta that contained a poster of The Shot. When he realized Laettner would be at the Final Four, he rush ordered it in the hopes he could get it signed. This was probably item 1 on his life bucket list (I know. He needs to aim higher in life).
When they made that announcement, everyone started loudly groaning and grumbling. But Christian heard his people, and a moment later, they came back on the microphone to announce that yes, he would in fact sign one outside item per person. Crisis averted.
Finally, it was our turn.
Look how earnest he is, trying to impress his hero. And he was a success. Look at that genuine smile on Christian’s face!
Actually? I think Christian made himself laugh. Here’s a rough transcript of their conversation:
DJ: Hey, man. Good to meet you. I’m a really big fan.
CL: Thank you.
DJ: I’m class of ’98.
CL: Oh, so you missed all of the good stuff?
All that “good stuff”? That’s him. He left Duke in 1992. And he’s not lying. During Christian’s four years at Duke, he went to the Final Four FOUR FREAKING TIMES. And, they won it all twice. Unreal. During DadJovi’s four years there? No Final Four appearances.
But a Duke grad is a Duke grad. Say cheese!
As we were wrapping up our visit, I said my hellos and Christian says to me, “Did you go to Duke too?”
“No, I went to Syracuse.”
“Oh, sorry about your game.”
What a good guy!
We were starting to get ushered out by the handlers and I said, “Do you think I could get a picture, too?”
“You can have anything you want,” Christian says to me.
BAM! That’s how the Big Man on Campus still talks, 20 years later.
I even got him to sign one of those handouts for E.
So, my hoop dreams may not have come true that weekend, but DadJovi’s did. He hasn’t stopped smiling about it yet.
IMPORTANT UPDATE to add this. This just happened. My husband may never recover.
We celebrated by heading to his cousin’s house.
His cousin is the one on my right (in the UF shirt). I love all these guys, and wish we lived closer. We had the best Sunday afternoon ever and I got pretty day drunk. It ruled.
They have an incredible group of friends, and since it was one of the first nice spring days in Atlanta, everyone was game for joining us at an outdoor bar near their house.
At some point, we went for pizza at an amazing place called Ammazza. Look how cool this place is.
I can’t remember specifics, but we ate a lot of pizza. A lot. Fact: carbs soak up booze so I just figured I was warding off a hangover.
And since I spent all weekend obsessing over seeing a celebrity (it never happened), I almost had myself convinced I’d not only found one but someone from one of my favorite shows ever, the short-lived BFF. Thankfully, somehow Missy and I have been real-life Twitter BFFs with the show’s stars.
God, I love Twitter. It completely redeems my drunk tweets and ramblings at times. Oh, Luka, don’t you think that I won’t find you somewhere.
Know what the best part of getting day drunk is? When you pass out by 9:30 p.m. (true story) you wake up feeling awesome. And I needed all the energy I could get for the next day.
Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion to my Final Four weekend saga.
I have no idea who Cody Simpson is either. I have this dinner club that’s sort of defunct because people keep canceling and for our last meeting, we were supposed to go to Ammazza but then everyone cancelled and we didn’t go. I’m sure you didn’t need to know all that but glad to know it’s good!
You’ll have to try and make there another time. It was SOOOO good. We got a couple different pizza options, and even a plain Margherita was just spectacular. You might want to consider eating meat just for their meatballs. They’re the stuff of legends! 🙂
The Laettner encounter is pretty epic. I don’t blame him for owning his awesomeness, if I had that career at Duke I’d walk around with a video monitor on a chain showing a looping highlight reel of myself. Don’t tell him though, but Grant Hill’s pass was the truly amazing part of “The Shot.” Shhhhh….
You have to come back to the post to the see the pretty epic tweet Laettner just sent us!
And as for Grant, you have to watch one of those documentaries sometime. Perhaps the greatest line of the entire thing is when Laettner says, with a completely serious look on his face, “I’m just glad Grant didn’t screw the throw up again like he did last time.” Apparently they’d been in a similar situation in another game that season and the pass didn’t make it to him. It’s so priceless.
And I’m pretty sure if he thinks of the video monitor idea he just may do it.
One other funny Laettner Final Four weekend story. They handed out these awards to all the greats for top 15 greatest players in NCAA history and something and all these guys — Kareem, Legend Larry, etc — and when each of them got their award, they took it and waved to the crowd. Not Laettner. He took the award and raised it over his head like it was a NBA trophy or something. It was amazing.
Nice. You had quite the celeb-filled twitter weekend. My shining twitter moment was a running thread I had going with Mario Batali about how to best spike egg nog (the great man’s rec, bourbon and grappa.) I’m more proud of that than a grown up should be.
Too funny about Laettner’s reaction. Larry and Kareem probably get something similar every 20 minutes, so doesn’t mean as much to them.
So much excitement. Love reading your re-caps… 🙂
Kashi @Cape Island Runners says
A lovely part 2! I am really sorry that your team lost and I also have no idea who Cody is, but anytime you can snag a weekend adventure with your husband is a winner to me. This is making me want to go away on one with mine 🙂
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