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The Harbus Intraview

Hoop Dreams
By Amanda Renteria (NH)

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, where the sun is bright and beautiful (Hollywood Trek), I met a guy named Derek Aframe. Although our encounter was brief, the stars must have been aligned at that very moment, since we later found out that we were meant to be on a blind date in nine days. Then, just before our evening, I ran into him another three times in the tunnels.

Friday, 6:15 pm, I arrived at Morris Lounge and there, hidden in the corner, was my date for the evening. A certain mystique glinted from his eyes, as if he had something extra special in mind. Oh, how special… a Scavenger Hunt in the SFP parking garage? First, Level 3… then 4…then 2…then back to 4…. when finally on 3 we found it – his car! How did he know I love being kept in suspense?

Ok, ladies – have you ever thought about your “perfect date”? You know, the cute, cheesy movie followed by a candlelight dinner? This was better–first an NBA basketball game in the “premier” seating section and then the candlelight dinner! Now, being the basketball fan that I am, I usually spend my time reviewing every move on the court. But this game was different. I was so wrapped up in my conversation with Derek that I almost missed cheering like crazy when there was a 3 point spread with 30 seconds to go (Celtics lost 101-104). Nevertheless, I got so caught up in the game, I completely forgot the etiquette of club seating. But Derek didn’t seem to mind; he just smiled and cheered along.
I must admit I got a little carried away with my cheering. On our way out of the Fleet Center, there was a mob buying “Raiders Suck” T-shirts. For a split second I forgot I was in Boston, and I yelled “Go Raiders”. Yes, very bad move. But, even this moment of life endangerment, Derek just smiled valiantly and ran like hell to the car. No, no, no, I’m just kidding–he simply wondered if I was completely crazy.
Just when I thought nothing could top my first time at the Fleet Center– filled with great conversation, an exciting game and a near-death “Raiders fan” experience–we headed to a little Italian restaurant in the North End. But when I walked into the restaurant, no one was there, and a large Italian guy walked over and informed me that the restaurant was closed for the evening.

Enter Derek “The Godfather” Aframe. Immediately, the lights dimmed, the candles lit, and the big Italian guy, along with the owner, waiter, and cook all stampeded me to get to Derek. He calmly and confidently greeted them while winking at me, and the waiter led us to our seats in the corner, romantically overlooking the streets of the North End.
Ladies, this is the candlelight dinner we’ve all dreamed about since we were ten (right after watching Lady and the Tramp) – just him and me, a fantastic Italian meal, two window seats, wonderful service, and great company. I was having dinner with a great guy – someone who is passionate about his interests, considerate to everyone, thoughtful and accepting of others, creative and clever (as illustrated by our plans for the evening). He even has a few gambling tricks up his sleeve, revealing just a bit of his edginess (extra points in my book).

So, as the evening came to a close and my prince parked his carriage (409, Derek, 409), we made our way back through the tunnels. As I entered my room and looked out my window… I think I may have seen the stars align once again. Thanks, Goldie. Thanks, Derek!!

Midnight Rider
By Derek Aframe (NF)

When my e-mail from Goldie flashed across the screen, no sweeter two words have ever graced my ThinkPad than “Amanda Renteria”. I frantically made arrangements to give her a night she would not soon forget. As fate would have it, Amanda and I ran into each other three times on the day before our enchanted evening, only adding to the anticipation.

At 6:15, I met Amanda at the most romantic place I could think of: Morris Lounge. Boston lore has it that on the night Paul Revere made his famous midnight ride, he left his true love waiting by the piano there, promising, some day, to return.

When she entered the room, my eyes fell upon a ravishing beauty that left me in stunned, bewildered silence. With a single glance, my memory became a total blank, which explains why it took us four elevator trips and five minutes to find my car in the SFP garage. If Paris had seen Amanda on that night, the Achaeans would have been spared the loss of their favorite daughter. Amanda compared to Helen of Troy, only far more intelligent, and with a better jump shot.

After my senses returned, we were off to the Fleet Center for the Celtics game against Houston. Our shared passion and experiences in sports and coaching made the Fleet Center the perfect setting for the action part of our evening together. We were close enough and yet far enough away from the Elvis look-alikes and teenagers slimed in green paint to admire their actions. We talked of days gone by, hopes and desires for the future, and how much we got in our El-Tek negotiations.

The game on the parquet was pretty uneventful, but the conversation heated up in the club seats. As is typical of all NBA games, the last three minutes finished with a flourish, with the Celts missing a three at the buzzer that would have tied it. I was struck by Amanda’s independence and free spirit. I was also genuinely impressed with her support for the Celtics, especially since she kept saying how much she missed the Laker Girls (the Celts have no cheerleaders). Amanda also voiced her contempt for the fans that left the game early, a comment that nearly caused me tears of joy.

Post-game, we made the short trip to the North End in Boston. We took a quick yet leisurely stroll through the delightful community as I stalled for time to get my bearings and find our second destination of the evening: “Piccolo Nido” (The Little Nest), an intimate and charming dinner spot just off Hanover Street. Thus began the romantic portion of our rendezvous.
I had made prior plans with the owner to keep the restaurant open just for the two of us, and he came through–we had the place to ourselves. The setting was great, and the food–we both had gnocchi–was simple, light, and excellent. We slowly allowed the grains of the hourglass to slip carelessly by.

After dinner, we spoke to the owner for a few minutes, then made the drive back to campus. Suffering from fatigue, dry mouth, and bone-numbing cold, I found my constitution further weakened by Amanda’s beguiling charm as we strode toward Morris. There in the tunnels at around 1:00, we made our good-byes. I moved in for a good night kiss, but too slowly for a woman of her beauty, athleticism and pace. She deftly side-stepped me for a warm embrace, leaving nothing but air on my lips. And so after a great evening with an incredible woman, my unrequited kiss still flutters through the Morris tunnel, hoping some day to grace the object of its desire. Perhaps I’ll get a second chance to hit my mark?

January 28, 2002
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