Expectations

The hope was for the teams to win.

It was time to attend a couple of local high school basketball games. Both the girls and boys teams were playing that night and I expected them to win but the games took me somewhere else.

I took my usual seat off to the side and against the wall and the memories began to flow. Looking around it was obvious I was the introspective one in the crowd and that was fine with me. Despite the noisy environment, I was alone yet involved with the surrounding activity. I cheered for our teams but my mind kept going elsewhere.

As I watched the activity around me — both on the court and in the stands — my mind wandered to past happenings on that same basketball court. I played my high school basketball on it and have fond and scary recollections of my playing minutes. The fond memories are centered on the sense of teamwork I developed with my teammates. A scary memory is of me participating in a “pick and roll” play, getting the ball by the basket, going up for a lay up and having my legs taken out from under me. I landed rather hard on my back.

Our sons also played their high school ball on that same court. Sitting in the stands that night I could still see them playing — sometimes winning and sometimes losing — such is life. But our boys were there in front of me that night. I didn’t expect to see them but they were there.

So, in the midst of an evening’s furiously played basketball, I wondered…

Our home crowd expected their teams to win. The visiting team’s crowd expected their team to win. Whose expectations/hopes were going to be squashed? Why does it matter who wins as long as both teams played sportsmanship type ball? Isn’t that enough of a win for everyone?

Naturally the answer is we want our home team to win — they are our kids and we want them to learn teamwork and good sportsmanship. That’s our expectations and the same emotion carries over into the wine we choose to sip.

How in the world did we go from a high school basketball game to a bottle of wine? Because we expect certain things from our bottle of wine just like we expect certain things from the game. We want the wine to meet our expectations, our hopes and our dreams.

When the vintner completes the making of a wine, she/he expects people to enjoy it and, to some extent, realize the dream she/he has for the wine. As in playing basketball, there’s a lot of hard work that goes into making wine and the wine maker wants our expectations to be fulfilled.

I recently had the opportunity to taste a wine from France — a Chateau Haut Nadeau’s Bordeaux. My expectations were the wine would possess a medium soft body and have delicious cherry tastes and a lingering clean finish. The vintner did a good job in blending Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes with the wine showing notes of both grapes and totally meeting my hopes for it.

At a gathering of friends, I asked for a bottle of Cavazza Pinot Grigio — a moderately priced Italian wine. After a day of “stuff,” there was a need for a wine that would cleanse my mental and physical palates and invigorate me. A sip soon told me I got the right wine. The wine’s melon-like aroma and taste cleaned my “stuff” away and the friendly conversation was gratifying.

Eastern Washington’s Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills Merlot is so interesting. Named for the beautiful area in which the winery is located, the product reflects the beauty of the land. Looking at the deep red color of the wine you know something good is about to happen and the wine fulfills your expectations. It has wonderful fulness for a Merlot, is jammed full of fruit flavors and has hints of herbal scents. For a Merlot, it’s a dream come true.

Then as I was walking through the aisles of wine at Tall Grass Liquors, I came across a good old friend and I knew exactly what to expect. Ménage à Trois’ blend called Midnight beckoned me. With its nice combination of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Petit Syrah grapes, the wine is robust, highly flavorful (think spiced black cherries) and doesn’t leave you expecting anything more from it. It would pair nicely with barbecue ribs.

All of these wines will please you and make you feel like I did at the basketball games. They’ll take you down memory lane and ease you into remembering where you’ve tasted something like them in the past.

We build our expectations upon the past and although one local basketball team lost and one team won, it was an enriching experience upon which I can build more expectations, hopes and dreams.

Next week, it too darn cold to think about it!

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!

Cheers!

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