There are only a select few days each year so impressive and important that they give meaning and title to the one that precedes it. Actually, I can think of only one other, and it too has something to do with a fat guy with a beard. With the opening games of the Michael Lipov Memorial Cup in Chicago, tomorrow is such a day, which makes today Handball Eve. I can barely contain my excitement right now. Tomorrow, I get to score goals and block shots. Tomorrow, I get to run, jump, and grapple. Tomorrow, I get to scrum with MNTers Jordan Fithian and Divine Jackson. Tomorrow, I get to war with our nemeses from Chicago. Tomorrow, I get to play the greatest sport in the world. Tomorrow, I get to set out in the middle of the night and drive from Minneapolis to Chicago. Well, not everything about tomorrow can be spectacular, just like not everything at Christmas can be wonderful, look no further than the drunk and distant relative lapping eggnog straight from the bowl (or is this a vague premonition of the handball social Saturday night?).
The first game of the tournament is at 1 PM (Chicago Standard Time). The hosts in black take on our guests from abroad. I have no idea what to expect from this team that calls itself Legion. They might be professionals, or they might be hacks. Judging from their top seeding, I would venture a guess in the direction of the former. In the second game, the hosts in yellow take on me and my boys from Minnesota. I have played and lost enough one goal games against Chicago to be on the referees "must watch" list. (Good thing they have short attention spans and will likely abandon the reading of this post somewhere in the middle of the first paragraph.) It will be a hard fought game, and one that both teams will play with fattened chips on their shoulders.
The rest of the games don't involve Minnesota or Chicago, so I couldn't care less. Actually, I am going to be back sometime tonight to talk about each of them in greater detail. As I type, I am parsing the rosters, divining acts both great and insignificant. I just have to get the clothes washed and the car packed and the kids polished for mom this weekend, because tomorrow we travel. Merry Handball Eve!