Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Hail Mary

Who uses it: Football and basketball players
What it means: A pass or shot at the goal that travels the entire length of the playing field or court, giving the thrower enough time to recite a fast "Hail Mary" before it lands
How you can use it: When making one last, desperate attempt at something.

If you haven't already guessed, my mother was a serious sports fan. She wasn't a gambler, and would never have bet any money on a game. For her, it was a vast panorama of human interest, and she was as fascinated by losers as by winners. Well, she'd have had to be: the greatest loyalty of her life, aside from her family, was to the Washington Redskins.

She also rooted for her family's teams -- the Midshipmen of Navy, the Hoyas of Georgetown, the Hokies of Virginia Tech, and the Monarchs of Old Dominion -- and, because she was an American Catholic of Irish descent, she rooted for Notre Dame.

So it was hardly surprising that last night's basketball game between Georgetown and Notre Dame went to two overtimes, before the Hoyas pulled it out. Now that Mom no longer has to worry about having a heart attack, she obviously doesn't mind if her children have them.

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