Wednesday, March 16, 2011

USSR, Carnival and Purple Cows

     On Saturday we hopped in our team vans and trekked 5 hours south for the second game against Breitengüssbach. Whether it was overconfidence, fatigue, or just our general knack for playing poorly on the road, things did not go as planned.  Despite some poor shooting (especially from me) and some foul trouble (also me), we were up 4 with under a minute to go. We then proceeded to make 1-4 freethrows, give them an open three, and then get a ridiculous foul called on a made off-balance floater with 3 seconds to go. 
    With the game tied, their best player missed the free throw.  Marcus got the rebound and was pushed out of bounds, but instead of calling a foul, the ref gave the other team the ball and ANOTHER chance to win the game. Now I know how team USA felt at the 1972 Olympics against the USSR. They ended up missing the final shot but beating us in overtime. Not only did this make the ride home miserable, but the twenty extra minutes that we wasted in overtime made me miss the end of Williams-Amherst Elite 8 game. Talk about a double-whammy.
     Thankfully the ephs didn't need me huddled over my computer screen nervously pressing the refresh button on my internet to speed up the buffering of the webcast to get the job done.  The only disappointment is that I won't be able to make it to Salem to cheer them on in person. Go Ephs!
       We played again last night and pulled through in the do-or-die game, winning the series and guaranteeing at least two more weeks of playoffs!

After the game a reporter gave me a newspaper clip with a picture after one of the games my parents went to. I have no idea what the article says, but at least the picture looks good (I'm pretty sure I remember Parker being to the left of me in this picture-sorry big guy guess you didn't make the editor's cut).

     Similar to Mardi Gras in the U.S. and Carnival in Brazil, the Germans celebrate Karnival right before lent. The festivals start at 11:11 am on the Thursday before Ash Wednesday and concludes on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) with parades and floats. Similar to our Halloween, everyone dresses up in random costumes and the little kids bring bags to collect candy in. Here are some of my favorite costumes:

Even our cheerleaders got in on the fun for the game.

While these costumes definitely could have used some work, they were much better than the Halloween outfits they had on. Flashback...

For whatever reason I noticed a surprising number of cows...

...and girls dressed like pippi longstockings. The cow epidemic was obviously related to the global support of Williams quest for a National Championship, but the pippi longstocking observation was a little more tricky until I realized the surprising connection between that and stereotypical German Fraulein.

Minus the beverages, I think the resemblance is pretty clear.
The coolest part of the parade were the people on the floats throwing candy. Everyone would just yell "Haaallllllloooo" and wave and then get pelted with assorted sweets and popcorn. My height was an advantage in collecting the most candy, but it also made me an easy target; I saw more then a few kids delighting in successfully hitting me in the head with lollipops from moving floats.

They also had some cool marching bands:

In other news, I have created the perfect NCAA bracket and therefore expect to win the ESPN bracket challenge. With the money from that, and the $20 I will win from my family pool (I can finally officially bet on NCAA games!), I am thinking about bringing a Chipotle chain to Germany. These people desperately need to be made aware of the wonders of mexican food.

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