glad…i guess.

now playing: crosby, stills, nash and young, “tell me why” (the bootleg version)

yeah, it’s a mellow afternoon.

yesterday, at this time, i was in the bleachers at southwest middle school losin’ my friggin’ mind. now, if you’ve read the posts from days before, you know that jayda’s basketball tournament was this past saturday, and they made an amazing showing for a team that has been losing consistently all season long by a point ratio of two to one.

yesterday, they played their last game of the season against the tournament champs.

i had barely gotten into my seat before they’d opened up a 6-0 lead against northwest middle school, and they kept them within four points of them for the entire game. the lead went back and forth a couple of times, but it was never out of either teams’ reach. with less than a minute left in regulation, the score was tied, 25-25. the officials set the clock for a two minute overtime and they took the ball out and the clock started…again, the score teetered back and forth for what seemed like an eternity, and northwest was ahead with less than a minute on the clock when jasmine dropped one to tie it up again, where it stayed as time ran out on the first overtime.

so, again, they set the clock for two minutes.

jayda’s team came out with the first basket, but southwest crept ahead by a point going into the last minute of the game…then, with less than 20 seconds on the clock, one of the opposing girls drew a foul as she was driving for the basket, and sank two free throws, bringing the score to 30-27.

they got the ball back and immediately started driving for their end of the court, but there was more court than clock, and they lost the game.

but i don’t think it was lost on anyone on that team what a turnaround they made in just the last week or so…after losing that heartbreaker to southern just last week, they seem to have found something in themselves in the time since.

in all seriousness, i don’t think i’ve ever experienced that much tension during any sporting event in my life, save for maybe the 2001 patriots postseason. i was screaming my fool head off…which turned out not to be a good thing later on, when i was trying to pull my singing voice outta my ass for the grape street swan song.

i had almost talked myself out of going before i ever left, because i was just plain friggin’ tired. but went i did…

first person i saw when i got there, walking up the empty street, was lee schusterman standing on the sidewalk out front. i introduced lee to wendy and we went inside.

the place looks pretty much like it always has in most ways. the mural is gone from the wall behind the stage, and the lights and backline are nicer, but it’s the same shithole it’s always been…i went upstairs to the bathroom to find the toilet filled all the way to the rim, and not appearing outwardly flushable (the porcelain cover on the back looked like it had been sledgehammered) – i couldn’t help smiling. the upstairs had gone largely back to looking like a deserted city apartment…empty rooms with beer-soaked carpet and no furniture (there used to be all sorts of easy chairs and such up there, and it was open, but not to the public – if you get my drift…but later they opened the doors to the general populace and put a bar and a makeshift stage up there.).

after lee, i ran into mike lightkep, the soundman – he gave us a rundown of the new place, and the hassles they’d encountered in getting the place up to code and pacifying a hostile community group…then i turned around and there stood tom del colle (the only real reason i entertained the thought of going in the first place).

tom and i caught up – he bought wendy and i a round of drinks and brought us up to date on how things had been at superior pasta (his place on rittenhouse square in the city) – he and marilyn finally got married after living together since harry truman was president (exaggerated only slightly) and they’d gone to amsterdam. he brought me up to date on some of the faces who didn’t show up, as well…garry lee chief among them. apparently dave ringler from isle of q has fallen off the edge, too…although no one was forthcoming with any actual details…

but, not long after tom showed up, everyone started showing up – jake carlin, the original grape bartender and first guitarist with june rich…the guys from four way streetjim boggia, ben arnold, joseph parsons, and scott bricklin…jack faulkner was there, kevin hanson from the late, lamented huffamoose, bruce reinfeld of polar creep (another band i used to be in for a while) – plus a veritable assload of people i never saw before in my life. conspicuous in their absence, as far as i was concerned, were garry lee, ray naylor, steven wellner, matt sevier, derek dorsey, nik everett…and more that i’m sure i’m missing….

i left with a good feeling, and was glad that i went. it was probably as close to a high school reunion as i’ll ever get, but without the hangups that accompany that era of your life. it was nostalgia, but it was good nostalgia…no awful flashbacks of the time you tripped in the cafeteria and fell face first on your lunchtray and wore salisbury steak to all your afternoon classes.

glad i went.

glad i played.

glad it’s over.

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