by Rachael Phillips
Pursuing a tight deadline this past February wasn't so tough. The crappy Hoosier weather encouraged long hours of writing at a computer. The gray boredom of Indiana mid-winter also contributed to my prolific outputs. Only Valentine's Day, when the love of my life offered me a tacky plastic rose that lit up like a clown's nose, interrupted my concentration.
But March weather, which usually cooperates with the worst combination of drizzle, sleet, blizzards and tornadoes, has turned traitor, tempting me outside with seductive warm temperatures, daffodils and trips to Ivanhoe's for ice cream. Even if I do my writing duty and remain inside, echoes of slamma jamma dunks, referee whistles and the drama of crowd agonies and ecstasies drift throught the cracks under my closed door, creep through the ventilating system into my office--and I salivate as if I actually sneaked off to Ivanhoe's. When I wait too long for a basketball fix, I get the shakes.
I am a basketball tourney junkie. I blame this, of course, on my childhood. I grew up with small-town Hoosier basketball: the hats-off-hands-over-hearts moment of thin civility during the playing of the national anthem. The gym-compressed Coliseum roar of a crowd segregated by school colors. The stunning, wild choreography of young bodies in and out of sync, driving, diving, shooting the basketball. The blast of songs by a slightly off-key, bobble-headed band. The joyous aboriginal screams of the winners, accompanied by tons of popcorn confetti as fans stormed the court to lift teams high above our heads, and the all-night celebrations around bonfires down by the fire station.
March Madness, with its tsunami of basketball games, messes with me, with my strict writing schedule. Even the impossible-odds games lure me to the television--what if I miss the one game in NCAA history in which the number 16 seed defeats the number one? (Or what if number one defeats number 16?)
Strangely, my passion for basketball does not translate to reporting it. I really do like writing novels, and I have figured out how to make my May deadline and still watch all the basketball I want in March.
I simply won't sleep during April.
Any other basketball/writing addicts out there? Or do you struggle with some other time/energy-sucking pastimes? If so, how do you make your daily word counts?