Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Early Mornings, A Midmajor Party Crasher at the Garden, and A Spamalot School

In November 2007, I was blessed with my younger son Jonathan.  He arrived two weeks early probably because he knew college basketball season just started and he wanted to hang out with daddy at 2:00 in the morning watching replays on now ESPN3.  OK, in reality it was because he was really hungry and wanted his first taste of milk, which to this day he truly loves.

Unlike our first son Matthew, when my wife Chelle was pregnant with Jonathan, we learned during a sonagram that he had a condition that's common with new born children, kidney reflux.  The condition is caused when there is a problem with the valve between the ureter and the bladder.  The result is urine backs up into the bladder.  If not treated properly, it can result in infection of the kidney.  We were sent to a specialist and the specialist diagnosed that Jonathan had a high grade reflux in one of his kidneys.   Often infants grow out of this problem due to the valve correcting itself as the child gets older.

Shortly after he was born, we went to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park for x-rays on Jonathan. It turned out he had a grade 4 reflux in both kidneys.  Immediately, he had to be put on antibiotics, had monthly checkups with his specialist, and we were told that if he ever developed a fever over the next few months, that we should bring him to an emergency room.  Our specialist stated to us that unlike most infants, since Jonathan had a grade 4 reflux, he was probably going to need surgery around two years old.

Well thankfully Jonathan never developed any fever that resulted in him going to an emergency room.  However our specialist recommended that Jonathan have surgery a little after his first birthday.  So in March of 2009, Jonathan was admitted to Schneider's Children's Hospital and had surgery to repair the problem in both kidneys.   Due to his surgery being the first week of March, I missed the CAA Tournament that year. But there was no place I would rather have been.  The surgery was deemed a success but Jonathan had to stay over a couple of nights in the hospital.  While in the hospital, Jonathan was constantly monitored by the nurses which included waking him up at like three in the morning to check his vitals.

Needless to say, he didn't get any sleep and cried...a lot. Well, wouldn't you if you were prodded at 3:00 AM!  I will say this, I have never seen Chelle so upset about anything...ever.  She was not happy with the nurses.   Well when Jonathan got home from the hospital, apparently they affected his sleeping pattern.  For the next several months, Jonathan would get up and be fully 3:00 AM.

And my wife and I have this general understanding.  When it comes to the kids, she stays up late and I get up early.  So for the next several months as Jonathan was recovering, I got up and spent quality early morning time with Jonathan.  The good part of it was that I could write my college basketball articles while he was watching Little Einsteins on Demand or whatever.

Several months later, Jonathan's surgery was deemed a full success.  No more grade reflux in either kidney.   And after nearly two years of daily doses, Jonathan was taken off antibiotics.  And also, thankfully, Jonathan grew out of the 3:00 AM wakeup calls.   But every so often, as it is with two young boys, they get up early whether it's due to being sick or often a bad dream.

Well whatever it was this morning, shortly before 5:00 AM, Jonathan was crying and wide awake.   Two servings of milk and a couple of Little Einsteins episodes later, here I am writing another article on the couch.   And you know something, I actually got used to the 3:00 AM wakeup calls.  So this morning, in a way, it's actually quite comforting.

But hopefully I will get some sleep on the train into the city tonight as I head to the NIT Season Tip-off at Madison Square Garden.  Yup, another Garden Party.  But unlike the 2K Classic, the NIT Season Tip-off is a real 16 team tournament.   There were of course four host sites - Villanova, UCLA, Tennessee and Wake Forest, so thus the odds were in favor of the Power Six host sites.  But C.M. Newton and the folks at the NIT didn't expect that one of the host teams, Wake Forest would get knocked off.

Knocked off is being kind.  The Demon Deacons were actually pummeled by the Rams of VCU 90-69 in the second round of the Tip-Off at Winston Salem,  It was a dominant performance by Virginia Commonwealth as they forced twenty three Wake turnovers while only committing seven themselves.  Bradford Burgess had 25 points to the lead the Rams who had twenty five more field goal attempts than the Demon Deacons.

As a result, VCU faces #24 Tennessee in the first game of the doubleheader tonight at the Garden in front of a national audience on ESPN2.  The Rams promise to "wreak havoc" on the Volunteers in New York City.   VCU has a legitimate chance against ole Rocky Top.  And this time, I won't forget my Canon camera.

Finally, I always get a kick out of the names of some of these Division II and Division III schools that end up playing Division I teams in basketball.  Last week Eastern Michigan defeated Madonna 79-70.  Of course being the idiot that I am, I tweeted the following @gmoore21566 - I know Madonna has a reputation for taking on multiple men at once. But an entire basketball team?  Well, told you I am an idiot and it sets up today's unique school name.

One of my all time favorite movies is Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  And a few years ago, when the Broadway musical Spamalot came out, I made sure I had tickets the night after opening night.  It was downright hilarious and it was casted so perfectly (cmon, Tim Curry, Hank Azaria and David Hyde Pierce?  That's terrific casting!)  So when I noticed that newly minted WAC member Texas State plays, get this, Our Lady of the Lake today, I just had to toss in a scene from Spamalot.  This is Sara Ramirez, Spamalot's Lady of the Lake, singing "Find Your Grail"  from the 2005 Tony Awards.

This Thanksgiving weekend, go "Find Your Grail" and watch some live college basketball.   Happy Thanksgiving!

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