So this is it. The big dance.

Final Four tix

The Golden Tickets

No idea what I’m talking about? Consider yourself lucky. Every year for about a month I become an NCAA Basketball widow. Ish, normally an affable, easy-going guy, begins spitting venom at the television, feverishly checking scores against brackets and engages in bet-laden conversations that depend on barely past puberty boys to “leave it all on the court.”

I’ve complained for years.

I don’t any more.

The change came last year when I was invited, along with the man who should forever be referring to me as “best wife ever,” to attend the final game in Indianapolis.

We made a weekend of it, enjoying the city and hitting all of the sports and cultural highlights. On every street there were basketball fans as giddy as Ish was and it was far and away the most I have ever seen my husband smile.

With Butler – the perceived underdogs – in the final game against powerhouse Duke University I decided early to cheer them on. But it was after we met this man that my heart really fell into it.

Plump and the Gang

Hanging with a hero

That gentleman being squeezed to death by Ish and I? Bobby Plump.

Ever see Hoosiers? Remember how there was that shot, that impossible shot, that won the game? The story is based on a shot Plump took.

He’s led a full life since taking that shot, married, had kids, worked in jobs he loved and started a bar and restaurant: Plump’s Last Shot – where he still hangs out and occasionally shoots on the hoop in the back.

He was such a gentleman when we chatted that I decided there and then that I really wanted Butler to win this for him.

They lost – in a gritty, jump-out-of-your-seat, nailbiter of a game.

But that was last year.

Tonight they’ll get another chance.

And you’ll have to forgive me if I run off to put on my Butler shirt and raise a glass to Plump, Butler and the city of Indianapolis.

Go Bulldogs.

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