As I feverishly clicked "refresh" on my Treo Saturday night, I noticed a slight tinge of pain in my side. At first I ignored it, but the intensity of the pain grew with each passing moment and forced me to deal with it. Calmly, I put my Treo back into my pocket and asked my wife to remove her elbow from my rib cage.
It's hard to get mad when the woman jabbing you in the ribs is a knock-out in an evening gown, and it's even harder to get mad when you know she's right. I was being a schmuck.
It'd been about ten minutes since I'd uttered a phrase other than "stupid Verizon" and I'd been so engrossed in my phone that I had pretty much forgotten about the seven other people at my table. My wife and I had just come from a beautiful wedding for two of our dear friends. So that I wasn't temped whilst in the church, and further risk angering God more than I normally do, I even left my Treo in the car before heading into the wedding. This was their moment and I wasn't about to screw it up by ignoring it so I could gaze into a two and a half inch screen ceaselessly scanning the message boards for score and scoring chance updates.
The reception, however, that was another matter.
As a show of love and compassion, our friends sat us at the closest table to the bar. They are good friends. This afforded me the opportunity to make friends with the bartender and stick a crazy straw into a bottle of Makers Mark for the remainder of the evening. It also put us out of the sight lines of the remainder of the wedding guests and allowed me to check and re-check the scores. Again. These are good friends.
But, like all people, my wife has her limits. She looked great, and there was no way in hell she was playing second fiddle to plastic box for the remainder of the evening. So away my little score updater went for the evening, save the occasional text message from my buddy MB who was sitting in a bar in Madison watching the game. In hindsight, I'm glad I missed it.
By all accounts, this was a miserable game to watch. Clutching. Grabbing. Penalties galore. 19 penalties.
That's absolutely insane. It's like the ghost of Shegos wanted to smite not only Michigan but the game of hockey in general. Save for a handful of brilliant saves by Billy Sauer and the spectacular play of Michigan's big guns, it seems like this was the type of game you only want to watch if you win.
However, Michigan did, and now they move on to face CCHA rival Notre Dame in the Frozen Four. This is the same Notre Dame team that gave Michigan all it could handle two months ago at Yost, but also the one that almost missed the NCAA's with its lackluster play leading into the tournament.
Anticipate more of the former than the latter when these two teams meet next week. Notre Dame pumped in five (goalie-in) goals on #1 seeded UNH and 3 more on otherwise stingy MSU. The Domers are hot at the right time. Leading into the NCAA's the Irish had scored more than three goals once since February 1. Minus a 6-2 win over Ferris, who is not good, the Domers put up three goals twice in 13 games. Now they're knocking off UNH and MSU on their way to their first Frozen Four ever. Leads aren't safe, UNH was up two goals before the wheels came off. Notre Dame has been the stronger team in the second and third periods their last two games, so expect them to rally as the game goes on.
As the early evening faded into nighttime, I retreated back to the bar in between songs to refill my glass and sneak a peak at the scores. That's when MB sent me the final "2-0 UM WINS!" text message. Upon reading it, I smiled, turned my phone off and met my wife back out on the dance floor. She saw my grin and knew the outcome without my saying a word. She smiled a bemused smile and shook her head a little bit before taking my hand, and full attention for the rest of the night.
As we danced I whispered into her ear "Notre Dame won too." At that point, she stopped dancing, smiled, and immediately left me and the dance floor to tell the other ND fans in attendance of the outcome. Funny. Every school is different, but their fan's and alumni's reactions are the same.
So I stood there for a minute, sipped my Makers, and waited for her to return. I figured I'd let her have a moment of fun before I told her Notre Dame's Frozen Four opponent was Michigan.
Did I mention it was one hell of a reception?