Sue’s simcha surprise!
It was like all the simchas (joyous occasions) that I photograph. It was an event in my life that brought the same feelings of joy and love, anticipation and excitement, ups and downs, nervous energy.
Wondering and hoping all would work out well… And in fact, a week later, after Sue’s simcha surprise event, I am STILL on quite the high! Feelings of elation! Gratitude! Joy! A fulfillment of a dream!! The road to the Final Four stops here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sue’s simcha surprise Monday night, April 8th, 2019 in Minneapolis, MN.
It was my dream to attend the NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Tournament this year in Minneapolis! In fact, on March 5, I decided, thanks to the wise words of my bestie, Debbie McBride, to “put it out there in the universe..” The facebook universe. I posted:
“Putting this out there in the universe.. It’s MY DREAM to get NCAA tickets for the big dance finale coming to Minneapolis in just about a month now.. Anyone? Got tickets?”
A response? Nothing. Nada.
Well, not exactly. I did receive a message from a good friend Steve Allard, back in NYC. We worked together in NYC when I was a financial analyst, before I moved to Minnesota and became a professional photographer. But that’s another story… One of my best memories with Steve was playing pick up basketball with him and an all male team on random city courts. I was the only woman. Steve remembered. He knew how much basketball meant to me. He sent me a link for tickets… but for the women’s final four… a tournament not coming to Minneapolis.
As our city was preparing
There were 72,000 attendees at each of the three games played here this past weekend, there were activities in town. I went! Live brackets downtown, a free Ferris Wheel in the heart of our city on Nicollet Avenue, a Fan Fest, where you could watch the teams practice and pick up free stuff. Such fun! But never did I think I would actually get to go to the game.
In fact, I had a plan for that night. Debbie, my bestie, is also my basketball buddy. She loves watching college basketball. Ever since her own Dad was a coach. She would go to all of his games. So the plan was: She was going to come over at 8pm for the start of the championship game on Monday night to my house, and we would watch it together in the comfort of my own home. Snacks and bathroom nearby. No lines or crowds or transportation hassles. I thought, at the time, it’s just as well… we would be comfortable, wouldn’t have to travel, we could see all the plays and replays. Above all else: I LOVE BASKETBALL.
Basketball was my first love
I attended numerous basketball camps all during my childhood, played High School basketball all four years, lettered and was Captain in my senior year. At Tufts University in Medford, Ma. I even played college ball. Division III, so we never played in the big dance.. but still! I continued to play pick up basketball well into my late 20’s. And I always watch the NCAA Men’s Tournament.
So, when I received THE CALL…
Less than 30 hours before the big game, my good friend Ellen Konstan called and said she had tickets! I was elated! Had she seen my post? She said yes, but really she was calling because she wasn’t going to use HER tickets and she remembered I loved basketball.
How much I ask? And where are the seats?
$115!!!!! And while, yes, they were still in the 300’s.. they were up front in 303! Row 13! Lucky.. right? AND.. she had gone with her family on Sat. afternoon and said that she was pleasantly surprised at how good the seats were! She had thought they would not offer good visibility, but they did. You could see the whole court, unlike TV watching which was somewhat limited. Good point I said!
I will take them! I asked Debbie if she wanted to go with me, and she said: Sure! So, I said we would take 2. Two tickets please.
Transferring the tickets to my phone
Now came the hard part of actually transferring said tickets to my phone. For some reason, this just wasn’t as easy as it should have been..
At first, I could not make the transfer. In was Sunday evening now and I was in Faribault with no data left for internet on my phone. A quick text to our awesome neighbors Colin and Paula Johnson and I was over to their house to use their internet. Colin tried and tried but could not get me connected. Finally.. after what seemed like an eternity, he got me on! I still could not figure out the transfer so I called my good friend Ellen back.
It was Monday afternoon at 4pm and the ticket transfer was still not complete.. with the game starting at 8pm! Ellen was SO patient with me and said, we will do this. I believed her and then, miraculously, 4 hours before the start of the game I knew I actually HAD the tickets!
Transportation was the next hurdle
My husband Eric happily agreed to drive us down to the game! Then, I remembered that another really good friend, another man named Steve.. Steve Silverman had mentioned that he was driving folks home from the game in his role as Lyft driver. I called Steve and asked him if he could take us home. And guess what: He answered the call! and said yes!
Wow. Yes, all the stars were aligned
And if it were not for my awesome, great friends, none of this could have happened!
When we got to the championship game
It was a perfect balmy 66 degrees outside as we arrived. I had never been inside the new US Bank Stadium. Home of our most recent Superbowl. The stadium was beautiful! They had spent a lot of money getting it ready. We found our seats and we could see.. everything! The game did start slow, but soon the Texas Tech Raiders were tying the game! They tied it AGAIN to GO INTO OVERTIME. The Virginia Cavaliers did pull it out in the end. It was thrilling! It was electrifying to BE THERE. In the room where it happened. With the players and the fans. We got to see and experience everything first hand. I kept saying to Debbie: I can’t believe I am here; I can’t believe I am here.
There were no lines at the bathroom 🙂 and I was given the happy added surprise of receiving a free souvenir draw string backpack bag at my seat when I arrived. Did I mention I have a bag fetish? I was in dreamland now. And I also couldn’t believe that I randomly ran into people I knew at the game (with some 72,000 people in attendance!) like Tracie Ward! We used our binoculars to see everything up close and personal. I was glued to the game! It went by SO FAST… just like a simcha. But this was a surprise simcha for me.. I never thought I would be here!
Travel to and from the game was easy
While we did have to wait for over an hour in traffic on the way home, also in the car were my Rabbi, Adam Stock Spilker, and his son, Liam. They were at the game as well, and Steve took them home too! We had such lively conversation about our impressions of the game and being downtown that I hardly noticed the delay.
And.. I mean you never know about weather in Minnesota in April for traveling to and from the game. We could have a Spring blizzard. Spoiler Alert: That came two days later!
This was a dream come true
It felt like a seamless event where everything just fell into place. Just like I wish for all of my clients at their simchas!
For me, it was a dream that had come full circle.
When I first come to Minneapolis with my husband, it was DURING MARCH MADNESS. Back in 1991. Eric had received a possible job offer from Cray Research here in Eagan, MN. And it was HIS dream to work for Cray! But Minnesota? Where was it exactly (New Yorkers view of the world..) But when we went to SEE it.. In MARCH.. (not the best time to visit MN..) I noticed that the NCAA was playing here too! (in 1991). But not the championship game.. It was then the Sweet Sixteen. I was able to get tickets, by going to the Metrodome. Nose bleed seats, but I was so impressed with a City that let me in.
That and the fact that there were so many LUNDS in the phone book, and that they played HS Girls basketball on major network tv stations, were the 3 reasons that clinched my decision: I could live here! I knew no-one. All I knew was that Minneapolis was where Mary Tyler Moore came from and that it was cold. That was it. But because I could get those tickets and for those other 2 reasons, I thought this was a place that would bring me joy. I could live here. I would fit in.
Fast forward- 28 years later
Here I was attending THE championship game. Why? Because I had integrated myself into my community and gained some exceptional, outstanding friends. They answered the call. They are here for me. In a town where I knew no-one; had no family here. Now, I feel as if I grew up here with my children. I actually DID have my adult bat mitzvah here! This is the place where I birthed my two children, where I became a professional photographer, where I led a temple congregation as it’s President of the Board of Directors.
My daughter is a doctor at Mayo and married to a local Minnesota man. My son graduated from our own University of Minnesota and works full time as a mechanical engineer in nearby Eden Prairie. I have gone from knowing no-one to have met and become friends with a whole host of really good people from many different communities. On top of it all, I have led a successful photographic business for over 25 years! Eric still loves his dream job at Cray! Yes, this was the right decision to move to this land of the frozen chosen.
Going to this championship game fulfilled a dream of mine. And as I write my story, it brings back my whole Minnesota journey. It feels like I have come full circle. From that first Sweet Sixteen to the championship!
It feels like the simchas I photograph
There are stories to be told of the journey, community support, elation, gratitude and joy. The elation in my story is in large part due to the love and support of my community. Just like the friends and family that I see when I photograph a bar or bat mitzvah, or any joyous occasion.
As I always say to the bar or bat mitzvah Mom, I hope you are still kvelling! I know that I am! Here’s to my simcha surprise! and to making the decision 28 years ago to move to this great state of Minnesota. One of the best decisions I have ever made.
To view photos of simchas- where you can see and feel the JOY! LOVE! PRIDE!- please visit my website at www.suelundphoto.com and galleries at this link to see bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, weddings and events that I have photographed. Look for families you know! And if you need a recommendation, please let me know.
As soon as you receive your bar or bat mitzvah date, it is a good idea to contact me right away, before the date becomes unavailable. I can be reached by text at 952.217.0594. Or phone call. I will answer your call! 🙂 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. is also a great way to reach me; that or a quick text.
My heartfelt mazel tov as you take this journey for your son or daughter to become a bar or bat mitzvah, as you become a bride, or as your celebrate all the events of your life. Celebrate and enjoy your journey to this day. And the kvelling that comes afterwards! B’simcha! With Joy!