Entry 3: May 24, 2002

First off, I have to give a few shout outs. Give it up for the Italians … they know how to have fun! Tonight, while we ate at a local Bologna pizzeria, an Italian couple was having their engagement party. They were certainly VIBRANTLY ALIVE and extremely loud, bustin’ out in cheers, pounding on the table and what not. After they found out we were a basketball team, they requested we do the “champion lift”, where you throw people up on your shoulders when they win. So naturally, having had practice doing stadium push-ups every time our football team scored, we lifted the bride and groom up and tossed them around, to the cheers of their friends and everyone in the restaurant.

Then, the groom started motioning for his mother to be tossed. Now, at this point, Alicia and Le’ ducked out and ran to their seats because Momma was, er, a big-boned Italian woman. Alicia later said she knew when to bail. The Italians were quite adamant about her partaking, and it was at this point that I began sweating because half of the team had casually made their way back to the table, ignoring the obvious cheers for us to lift her! Obviously, Momma had taken superior advantage of the Italian cuisine and even Tony, our strength and conditioning coach, would’ve struggled to push press her, and Tony’s tough! So the six or so of us and some Italianos lifted her up, which almost took three tries in itself! I looked over at Jackie during all of this as she said “for goodness sake, support the mid-section! Can I get some help over here?!” Good thing the Italians didn’t know any English! Yeah, we definitely set Big Momma down after, like, three times … tops.

It was all well worth it, though, because as we left, they yelled “hip-hip-hooray … Notre Dame … Notre Dame!!” in their cool Italian accents. Italians know how to live.

My second shout out gives props to short people. Italy has its fair share of short people, as evidenced when three-quarters of our team returned empty-handed from our shopping expedition (and everyone knows how girls like to buy things!). But, this shout out goes to the wee ones on the team who gave us a great laugh today when, in warm-ups before our game, several balls got stuck in the net. So of course, Karen was our first choice to get them down, right? =) Yeah, Karen definitely whiffed the net hardcore the first time she tried! I almost peed my pants I was laughing so hard … ha ha! She redeemed herself the second time she jumped, though, when she actually touched a ball. Much love to the vertically challenged. Hey, at least they can actually shop over here …

Le’ also gave us a hearty chuckle when she tried on a bright pink tankini and shorts combo so bright we squinted when she walked out of the dressing room. It was definitely something I would say was made for a woman the size of a 10-year-old girl skinnier than Calista Flockhart. Granted, Le’ frequents South Beach quite often, being from Florida, but this would have put all other attention-getting outfits to shame! Only Le’ could’ve pulled that outfit off!

In other shopping adventures, several of us — no names — were told by an Italian shopkeeper we were not allowed to try things on because “youa stretcha the materia.” That rejection was almost as cool for us as the 5-8 chica Jackie fed a triple-decker ball sandwich to in our game today!

On an upbeat note, Katy found a stellar Euro dress, which I think fulfills her and Jill’s requirement that when they return and someone asks where they got something, they can respond “oh, Italy … looks like you can’t copy my fantastic taste … too bad!” Ok, maybe I would say that … ha ha!! But, in any case, their goal that no one replicate their fashion is halfway complete.

On a completely different note, Jeneka requested I add how frightening the Italian bathrooms can be. As a reference point, the toilets are literally holes in the ground and little else. It ranks right up there with the woods as one of the hardest places to “do your business”.

On another side note, Teresa and Jill are up to their usual comic relief antics. After laughing so hard that water came through my nose (yeah, that burns!), I’ve decided they should never be allowed to sit in seats next to each other, for my own safety!

Until next time … ciao from Italy …