Basement of a Bull – She’s never missed a game

My name is Lucy Coletti, and I haven’t missed a Bulls game since 2009.

When I tell that to people, especially co-workers, they’re always amazed (or disturbed) and I don’t understand why. I ask them, “Well, have you seen every episode of Game of Thrones? Have you seen every episode of Friends?” to which they say, “Yeah.” Ok then. How is mine any different?

To be fair, I haven’t seen every game live. I’ve had to utilize TiVo. I’ve had to find it on the radio sometimes but I always do. I never miss a game.

Which is what made my wedding such a dilemma. I begged my husband, please, please, can this be a July or August wedding? Not during Bulls season. He was adamant about December, I have no idea why. He said it would give us something to look forward to every year in the winter. I said haven’t you heard of Thanksgiving and Christmas? Or more than that, haven’t you heard of basketball season?

I think it might have been a subtle play on his part to establish that he comes first, marriage first, even above my beloved Bulls. He likes to make little chess moves like that. Switch from a full-court press into a 1-3-1 zone. He says (and so do my parents. and my friends) that I look waaaaay too deep into things. Says a relationship is not a sport, there aren’t these out-of-bounds plays and defensive adjustments that he’s making. I beg to differ.

Anyways, don’t need to break down relationship dynamics any more than that. Our wedding was on Saturday, December 2nd of 2017. The rehearsal dinner went on through the Bulls vs. Kings game. I checked the score on my phone under the table and had the TiVo going at home. I was planning on watching the game Saturday morning.

But wedding day has so much going on. Up at 6 a.m. getting dressed, all the bridesmaids around, hair, makeup. I just wanted to sit down and watch the game. I knew the final score was 107-106. I wanted to know what happened down the stretch. Did we have a chance to win it?

Now, don’t get me wrong, the wedding was great, ceremony great, reception lot of fun. I had the Chicago Bulls garter on for the toss. Wore a pair of Jordans on the dance floor. It wasn’t the Binny the Bull, but my dad got an imitation to come out at 11 o’clock and pass out pizza boxes on the dance floor.

And then it was off to the honeymoon. Brutal timing, we were going down to Mexico, I assumed no access to American TV, which meant I was going to miss an unheard of four games (4!) and none more important than battling LeBron James on December 4th.

Thankfully, we had wifi and I was able to stream those four games on some obscure borderline illegal website that I’m pretty sure infected my computer with no fewer than four viruses. All I needed to do when I got home was finally catch that December 1st game against the Sacramento Kings.

I think that might have been the first moment when marriage really hit me. Not the ceremony, not the dance floor, not the honeymoon. It was coming home from all of that and realizing, oh wait, I don’t get to be alone. See, we didn’t live together before we got married. I mean he slept over sometimes, but a lot of the times, in those dating days, that would have been the end of the date, end of the weekend getaway, drops me off, kiss goodbye, go inside, pop some popcorn, settle into the couch, watch the Bulls game all by myself. Ah, those were the days. But after the honeymoon, we walked into the same place. We went from being married in Mexico to married in Mount Prospect. There were no more 30-second timeouts.

I went to the TiVo and I don’t know what happened, but the game had never recorded. I could have sworn I did, I’ve done that a million times. But nowhere to be found. I fired up my laptop. “What’s wrong honey?” he asked from the kitchen. “Oh, nothing. Nothing.” Scanned through YouTube, no game to be found. Google didn’t have anything. My virus infected websites didn’t have anything. No audio stream anywhere. There was no record anywhere of the Bulls vs. Kings.

I felt my heart pounding in my chest, my hands were sweating. My streak was over. I didn’t see any way I’d be able to find this game. This is part of a bigger problem for me. I’m not good with knowing one thing is missing. Like if i were reading this sentence, I could not go to bed without going back and correcting that lowercased “i” at the beginning. Or a picture frame that’s a little bit off, I can’t. I can’t have things out of order.

When I went to work, I was bombarded with all of the, “How was it,” “Tell me everything,” “show me pictures.” All I could think about was that missing game. My collection isn’t complete and each day that passes by will get harder to ever find that game.

I was sitting alone eating my lunch when I overheard a guy raving about his weekend in Chicago. How they went to the Shedd and went to see the Harold Washington Library and how that place literally had everything you could imagine. Books upon books. Rare books. Old video files. You could spend 100 years in there, he said, and not even make a dent.

Cartoon light bulb over my head, I thought yeah, that’s it. I’ve gotta go down there, I’m sure they have it buried somewhere in the archives. And, if not there, maybe I could email the Bulls organization, I assume they have every game on tape. Hell, maybe I break into the practice facility, find their film guy, ask for the tape. How funny would that be, I’m sitting there breaking down film with Fred Hoiberg.

I took a train into the city, went to the Harold Washington Library. I walked over to the first reference desk I could find. Asked him if they had Bulls games on film.

“We do,” he said. “Actually, let me take a step back.”

He took a step back and walked out behind the desk.

“We don’t have them here, but, well let me ask, why? Are you looking for NBA Finals games? Michael Jordan?”

“No, I, well I’ve seen every Bulls game since 2009 but I missed a December game against the Kings. And it’s driving me crazy. I just want to see it. I can’t find it anywhere.”

“I see,” he said. He stroked his beard over his chin. “I see. Well, as I said, we don’t have it here, but I know where you can go. I can’t give you the address but if you wait around here for fifteen minutes, I’ll take you there.”

I nodded. Went over to a desk and took a seat. I scrolled through my phone, read an article talking about our three-game winning streak, which was crazy considering we had lost 10 in a row. I mean we looked GOOD against the Boston Celtics. And that’s the best team in the East! It talked about the matchup tonight against the Utah Jazz. I mean if we could beat up the Celtics, why can’t we push this winning streak to four.

The library man came back wearing his coat, hat, and gloves.

“You ready?” he asked. I nodded. “Let’s go.”

Basement of a Bull is a work of fiction. There is no “Lucy Coletti.” Tune in for more written episodes, soon this will be joined by a podcast and other forms of storytelling. We just gettin’ started!

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