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Saturday was a GREAT day.

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Zip Watcher

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This is not really game analysis stuff, so I'm posting separately.

It doesn't really live up to CK's "Run Son RUN!" tale from the U@B game at the Rubber Bowl, but I'm passing it along regardless.

People ask me all the time why I'm such a big Zips fan, not being an alumnus and all (grew up in the area) .. and my only response is that it was one of the first teams my Dad would take me to as a kid. So it stuck with me.

Well, my son is 4 years old now .. the Zips are something like 50-4 with him in attendance, and he really likes going to the games. In our basement, when he plays basketball (wood floors or basketball courts are known as the "jeremiah wood", btw), he's always the Zips, I'm some other team (either the Steelers or Bobcats .. "we don't like the bobcats!") and the Zips must win every time. So it's all good.

This season, he's actually taken more to watching the game rather than just asking to walk around the track and stalk Zippy. Been a nice change, and he asks questions, makes comments that crack us up .. and it's good fun.

Saturday was a new high for him. In the morning, we had already had a visit with Santa .. so the day was already huge in his eyes. We get to the game, and in the first 10 minutes there, Zippy stops by for a hug .. and "the Zips did win, Daddy!" .. so we're on a roll.

Now, every game when the cheerleaders come out and throw the little gold mini-balls, all 6 of them, my boy stands and waves, and the balls fly high up over his head. He's happy with the explanation that "we'll try again next time" or "it's not our turn to get one .." Saturday, however, we were lingering a bit to visit with some people, and the kids start lining up for the shooting thing after the game on the floor. We're usually high-tailing it out of there to get him to sleep, so I've never watched this unfold before. I suggest to him that he get in the line .. and he does .. follows the kid in front of him around, and gets to take a shot (throw a ball in the air 3 feet to the 10' hoop) .. "ON THE JEREMIAH WOOD DADDY!!! .. ZIPPY WAS THERE TOO!" .. and after that they give the kids one of the blue mini-balls.

So things are looking good .. got the Santa visit in .. Zips win .. son sees Zippy a bunch, has a dream come true to run on the court, got a mini-ball .. great, right? Sort of ..

Well, by this time, KD is out for his post-game. I realize we're not going to make it back to the car for the discussion, so I decide to pop a squat behind them in the seats and listen there. SIDE NOTE: didn't they used to broadcast the postgame over the PA? /SIDE NOTE. I make the tactical error of sitting in the first row .. should have sat in the second row. Well my son is going back and forth on the second row, bouncing the mini-ball .. catching it .. repeating the "beat 'em up beat 'em up Go ZIPS Go!" .. he sees me sit in the front row, and comes down .. I tell him to hold on to the ball, but he bounces it anyway .. and it rolls .... down to the floor level, under the seats, just behind where KD & Frenchie are doing the post-game. You may have even heard on the air a little kid go "HEY! .. My mini ball!!" .. if you did, then add "got on the radio with Steve French" to the list of the accomplishments for the day.

So the boy is CRUSHED .. in 5 seconds, we've lost all the upside of the day in the disaster of having a miniball and then losing it. I'm pretty certain at this point the 30 minute ride home will suck and he'll be crying the whole way. I figure the ball has rolled under the seats and gone forever, or until Sunday when the seats are retracted. Boy is inconsolable. He lingers by the steps, hoping to go down and get it .. but the wife is now pushing to get out of there .. KD interview continues .. I fear the worst. Little guy is really cute .. having a really hard time with it.

Jimmy Conyers comes by .. waiting to be interviewed. My son loves Jimmy .. favorite player because of Hoosiers. Thinks Jimmy is "Jimmy Chitwood" .. Jimmy says hi! .. kid is too sad to even respond .. thinking about the lost mini-ball.

Well, Joe Dunn looks up after KD walks away and I ask "are you off the air" .. he says, "yep, commercial" .. and I make a small request to check under his chair, hoping that will placate the boy .. and we can move on. But the boy tells Joe, "my mini-ball fell down there" .. wouldn't you know that Joe gets down on the floor, looks under the curtain with Frenchie's help, and retrieves the mini-ball, all in time to get back up .. get the headset back on and continue with the postgame.

The greatest Saturday lately is saved by Joe Dunn & Steve French!!! All is right in the universe for the boy.

Joe .. we had to scoot right after that and you were back on the air, so I didn't get a chance to thank you properly .. but here it is. Thanks for restoring my kid's great day. Send me the drycleaning bill if there is one .. and I really do appreciate your passion for the Zips. My kid loves the Zips .. and you helped reinforce that. When we're on the road with you for the postseason this March .. I owe you a cold one.

Saturday was a great day for us. Thanks.

Go Zips!

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