La Belle Faim

I never write until I’ve picked the song. Tonight I need to write – there’s a lot to unpack over the last few weeks, plus meeting with Dr Nik in the morning to hear results of my latest scan. No reason to expect anything other than good news, but you never know.

About tonight’s song. I was sorry to miss the Fountains reunion show at Nowhere on Friday night. I was with Sadie at Big South, a volleyball tournament of epic proportions. More on that in a minute.

The Fountains were a staple at the High Hat and we all became great friends. We used a live version of La Belle Faim on my little known attempt at capturing the vibe of our bar – STEADY – Songs from the High Hat.

Here’s to you guys, sounds like everyone had a great time on Friday and I was sorry to miss it.

So, about that volleyball tournament.

I didn’t bother to get official counts on people attending/playing, but there were 66 courts in action from 8:00 am until after 9:00 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – in our building (there were two buildings in the World Congress Center being used). For eight hours a day we were in the middle of 132 teams: two whistles, ~two dozen players + parents per court. The volume, in every sense, was staggering. I had custom earplugs made in advance – thanks Jennifer – they were just what the doctor ordered!

A shout out to Diedre, a ticket taker who addressed me by name by my second time through the gate (you had to present your ticket and ID every time you entered the main hall, and she had to see several thousand people a day). In what can so often seem an impersonal world, especially in such a “corporate” setting, it was nice to see an employee take such pride in her job, recognizing that she’s an ambassador for the tournament, the World Congress Center and Atlanta. Fitting that she was one of the last people I saw before leaving on Sunday. (I got her boss’s email address and will pass the compliment on to where it might matter)

a view from between courts 65 and 66

CCVB didn’t fare well on the court. Both U13 (Sadie’s team) and the U14 team (with three former Clarke Middle teammates) lost all but one of their games on the first day (that’s a combined 1-11), so not very happy campers there. They did have fun riding scooters in Centennial Park before playing on day two, and it was great to explore the park while they rode. And to visit with Alicia and Melissa.

CMS Volleyball rides again

Centennial Park is no great shakes, but pleasant enough in an otherwise desolate downtown (a healthy, decently priced lunch or dinner doesn’t seem to be an option; Waffle House was the go-to breakfast).

Regarding the games.

Sadie is an amazing teammate. She may not be the best player on the team but she’s by far the best teammate you could ask for. Despite being 0-11, and not getting much playing time, she was still cheering in the 12th game. Relentlessly Positive. Can I trademark that? I hope to take a lesson from it at least.

Saturday night we had a fancy dinner at the Sundial (when in Rome, right? – the Westin was the team hotel). I have never been and it was certainly worth doing. We watched as first the southbound lane of 85 and then the northbound shut down due to wrecks. It was fascinating to watch the headlights, then the taillights, compress as traffic stalled. This is why I hate using 85.

the downtown connector gets disconnected

Sadie got to play extensively in the 9:00 am consolation bracket on Sunday, and played very well – steady, consistent, solid. I commented on the drive home that she looked and played calmly and in control. “Oh no dad, my legs were shaking the whole time.” Fooled me. Good for her.

They won the match to advance to the finals of whatever-the-hell consolation they were playing for (someone called it the get-your-money’s-worth bracket). I’m a proud dad, and happy to hear all the positive comments from other parents – they recognized her contribution to the team’s morale during difficult losses on the court, and were genuinely happy to see her end the tournament with significant playing time and solid play.

We were both glad that Clarke County schools had the day off today. She was drained.

I’ll sign off by saying how sorry I am to see the footage of Notre Dame burning today. I’ve never been to Paris and know that when I do get there, it’ll be substantially different. I mourn for our loss.
“The Spire of Notre Dame Tumbled Like a Spear Into the Heart of Something Timeless” – Charlie Pierce

Be well and remember that every person you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. It may be as simple as going 0-12, or as significant as losing a centuries old monument of the beauty of humanity.

Be kind. Please.

Update: significant reduction in three remaining enlarged lymph nodes. More importantly – ZERO “hypermetabolic malignant disease”. ZERO!!!! I’ll continue treatments for another three months to kill it deader, then monitor (forever). Feeling pretty lucky right now!

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