With basketball season right around the corner, check out my most recent experience with college basketball:
My experience at the 2017 NCAA March Madness second round of games was overall, pretty good. The Wisconsin Badgers and the Villanova Wildcats both battled their hearts out and that was dope to see. Shout out to both of those teams.
I was sitting in the Villanova player guest section — courtesy of a friend of a friend. Suspended in time, I sat annoyed by the nonsense of entertainment meant to fill the void between the two halves of basketball.The second half started with a score of 31-27, in favor of the kids from Madison. During a pair of free throws, while the adamant Villanova fans stood praising, a few of my teammates and I sat largely, in frustration.
I shifted my body forward in motion. I adjusted the weight of my elbow onto my right knee to hold the burden of my thoughts afloat. I thought to myself, “it’s only a pair of foul shots. Sit down, it’s not that exciting.”
“Just come on with the game!”, uttered teammate Courtney Stockard.
Frantically, the woman most north-west of me turned around to confirm the voices of four black men that she knew she was hearing. She even took it as far as taking a peak, to admire the visual. She did, and instantly she connected with a pair of eyes trying to internalize the connotation behind her harsh and frightened movements. She then snatched the likes of her wallet out of her seat below her. We made intense eye contact once more, before she returned her focus back to the game. All of this, as she sighed in relief that her most valuable identity was safe and sound, mounted underneath her arms.
The game goes on to end full of suspense. Again, shout out to both teams. You have all accomplished something that I have dreamed of forever. To Wisconsin, good luck as you advance.
The woman turned around to gather her keys and coat, and probably her thoughts.
I usually let things go pretty easily because I try to avoid unnecessary confrontation. This time however, it mattered. I just couldn’t neglect what I would eventually coin, her ignorance.
We made eye contact.
“You didn’t have to do that.”, I said. We started going back and forth, respectfully.
Her pleas of innocence began with, “Do what?”
I tried to believe her as I explained her racist gesture. Maybe it was an “accident?” I thought. Maybe she “didn’t mean to?” Her confidence in her story was slowly reducing as the exchange continued and her voice got raspy. She kept going, talking and elaborating on her explanation as if I wasn’t there. She claimed, “I had my purse in my hand the whole game. I’m not a Racist.” “No, you didnt.” I said.
I followed up with mentioning that this is an opportunity to celebrate the ideal that we are even having this conversation. How impressive is that? I said to her that, “often times, things like this happen but are ignored in exchange for entertainment or other senseless constructs.” She stood flustered.
“It’s progress, it’s growth. It’s independence for both sides. Have a nice day!” Words I spoke as I stood up to gather my belongings.
I thought to myself, it’s a shame how too frequently these things happen. But at least we talked about it. At least we addressed it and brought awareness to it by making it a thing.
- David Andoh