This is not my first post about #33 and I am quite certain it will not be my last. You see, for me, #33 is everywhere. Always.
A few weeks ago we attended the Marquette University Athletics Backyard BBQ and pre-BBQ reception for former basketball players, which we have been attending together as a family every year for as long as I can remember, way back to when it was just the two of us. Admittedly, I was a little anxious about how it would go this year, not having Mark with us to break the ice and crack jokes with his friends and former teammates. I worried I might feel out of place but felt it was an important tradition to continue for the kids, keeping them connected to this incredible community of people who are united by their love of basketball and all things MU.
As we were walking from the car to the reception, my mind wandered back to the last time we attended this event with Mark by our side, when Cooper spontaneously asked, “Mom, do you think daddy’s watching over us today?”
“Yes, I do,” I replied.
“Do you think he’ll send us a sign?” he inquired.
“Yes, I do.”
Why I answered that question so confidently, I am not exactly certain, but what happened about an hour later would prove that Cooper’s intuition was right on. The players’ reception was actually quite lovely. I didn’t feel at all uncomfortable, as we were greeted with smiles and welcomed with open arms by everyone we encountered. The kids found playmates in children of other former players, while Coach Steve Wojciechowski spoke about one of the country’s great basketball programs, rich with tradition. It was a wonderful event, as usual, and as we were making our way out, we headed toward the elevator. I had the three kids in tow, with Cecilia in the stroller. The doors were about to close, but halted abruptly when someone inside put their hand out to stop them. We squeezed into the elevator, packed in with the other riders, a young family with two children, one also in a stroller and another couple behind us. The little boy in the other family was sporting a Marquette jersey, of course. Cooper pointed that out saying, “Look mom, 33, like mine.”
Almost instantly the gentlemen standing behind me, who didn’t seem to be related to the boy, stated, “I was number 33.”
His statement was promptly followed by that of the little boy’s father, “I was number 33, too.”
The goosebumps rippled across my arms and I motioned toward Cooper, Lucia and Cecilia, while the words flowed from my lips, “And their dad was number 33.”
Three number 33s in the elevator at the same time. What are the chances? Cooper most certainly got his sign from daddy. He was watching over us that day, just as he is every other day.