Below, in my small tribute to Free Darko (which is shuttering today), I mentioned that I contributed one of my favorite things I ever wrote to FD for their Valentine's Day 2007 post.
I'm going to post the whole thing below, because I love it so much:
"He's Just Not That Into U-donis"
Filed by Dan Shanoff
I'm not quite sure I can pinpoint exactly when I knew I WOULD marry my wife, but I'm quite sure I can pinpoint exactly when I knew I COULD:
The year: 2001
The setting: Our first date.
The place: West Village Italian restaurant
The context: 1.2 bottles of wine into dinner.
The topic on the table: The preeminent value of offensive rebounds in relation to (1) a basketball team's chances of success and (2) a basketball forward's worth as a player.
Let me clarify: My wife (then, the random woman I was on a first date with) was making that argument. I was pretending to engage in the discussion. I was nodding. I may have even been responding.
All I know is that her voice was drowned out by the one in the back of my head:
Li'l Danny: "Are you listening to this? Are you listening?!"
Me: "Pipe down. She's trying to make a point about the pro potential of Udonis Haslem."
Li'l Danny: "The fat Florida center? He'll never make it!"
Li'l Danny: "But here is a woman who not only loves basketball, but appreciates it for its subtle pleasures!"
Me: "Which *I'm* trying to appreciate, save for your yammering!"
Li'l Danny: "I think I'm in love. Go on: Say something smart that will make her respect you for your basketball knowledge!"
Me: "OK...wait: I'm blanking! I'm blanking!! It's all too much pressure! I'm smitten!"
Li'l Danny: "Plus-minus! Plus-minus!"
Me: "What the hell is 'plus-minus?'" (Remember: It was 2001.)
Li'l Danny: "Nooooo! Damn your ignorance! You better switch topics to something more your speed... like pop culture."
Me: "So, uh, how about those...um...'Sex and the City' women?" (D'oh!)
Fast-forward nearly six years, one marriage and one kid later: Her enthusiastic argument on behalf of offensive rebounds remains THE most -- if not only -- vivid detail of our entire first date.
And as we sit in our NYC apartment today watching her favorite NBA player -- David Lee (yeah, she's a Gators fan) -- she's still talking about offensive rebounds. And knowing Lee's NBA-best offensive-rebounding numbers, I couldn't love her more for it.