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Friday, September 10, 2010

10 years ago today... 9/11

I was just waking up around noonish. The night before, I'd been in the studio in Conshohocken with Dre & Vi and Glenn Lewis listening to new joints of "World Outside my Window". It was an eerily calm starry night. The conversations went from the smallest things to extreme conspiracy theories. I remember me pointing out what appeared to be a UFO to Glenn as we stared at the sky around 5AM September 11th. Still open off the possibilities of convos and what we thought our eyes had seen, we all headed back to the city in 2 separate vehicles. It's so dark on 76 but it was extra dark that night especially leaving from Conshohocken. Something lit up the sky, I'm not sure if it was a single firework or a meteor or a UFO. I had no idea what it was! But we all saw it! It was so blatantly unexplained we all just nodded in agreement that we saw something. Getting closer to center city it got a little lighter outside.

I'd just moved into my new apartment on Front & Arch. I didn't have a house phone or a TV yet. Just a futon and a bed. I was also buying a cell phone that day. Around 1pm, figured I'd go by the studio and see what was going on. For 1pm on a Tuesday, Philly was awfully quite. Not a single car on the road that I recall. No people. Huh??? The studio was on 3rd & Callowhill, across the street was my managers office and there's a federal building on the other block. No cars. No people. Did I die in a car crash the night before and is this all some kind of weird ghost town??? I didn't know what the heck is going on, I just knew that it was weird.

No one is in the studio. I head over to my manager's office and just by chance, J Erving III (my manager) is coming down the elevator. I'm like what the heck is going on. He's looking at me all crazy like "You don't know? Someone crashed into the twin towers this morning!" Now my first reaction, I'm perplexed. I can't even put together in my mind what he just said. What the heck does that mean??? He tries to explain. "Two planes flew INTO the towers this morning, intentionally, and they came crumbling down!" My 2nd reaction, it's World War 3!!! OMG!!! I've got to call home, no one knows where I am, I was supposed to be in NY this morning but studio ran late and I didn't go. The one way my fam had been communicating with me was on the studio phone till I got my cell phone!!! OMG!!! My family is PANICKING right now!!! OMG!!! I know the other producers from A Touch of Jazz were flying this morning!!! OMG!!!

I run over to the studio, turn on the TV!!! OH SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The phones lines were busy, couldn't get ANYONE on the phone! Finally get through to my mother to let her know I'm in Philly and I'm okay asking to please tell the rest of the family I'm okay. Finally got a hold of my aunt who worked at Merrill Lynch at the time right next to the towers. She just got back to Brooklyn on foot, she was crying, had no idea whether everyone she knew had made it out of the area alive. I felt sick. I got through to the producers who said their planes took emergency nose dives to the nearest airports that morning. They had no idea what was going on till grounded, said the pilot said buckle your seat-belts, we're making an emergency landing. They also said they had no idea planes could fly like that, it was terrifying.

I took the TV out of the studio, put it in the back of the truck and back to my apartment. Watched. Waited.

The Day The Earth Stood Still.

I'll never forget that day...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

BASKETBALL PLAYERS!!! Look at how it all turned out now...

I once was a basketball player!!! That's all I knew. I may have been born with a basketball in my big old hands. My love for the sport runs deep. Stemming from the deeply instilled programming of a basketball coach of a father, Coach "Ambo" for those who had the honor of being schooled by my biased opinionated fave. Not playing was NEVER an option for me. I remember shooting 3's at a Tooting Bec outdoor court in the rain, about 15yrs old, dropping them like it was nothing, my dad rebounding the ball and giving me half way decent passes intentionally. My brother side-lined and inspired, his big sister had game :) My brother having the best looking shot I've ever seen, I had to practice twice as hard. Playing for both the junior girl's and the women's team, I'd still practice with the boys.

Monday - Bishop Thomas Grant School/Wandsworth
Tuesday - Norwood Girls School
Wednesday - Brixton Recreation Centre
Thursday - Henry Thorton/Bishop Thomas Grant/Norwood Girls
Friday - Dick Shepard/Brixton Rec/Crystal Palace
Saturday - Away Game
Sunday - Home Game

That was my life. Add playing for the England squad to that schedule and it was more. Never worried about not being able to run, never worried about not being able to keep up with everybody. I was built for this! I'd even show up at other peoples runs. Show up at the court and get "That's Marvin's sister." I'd just smile. I loved it! I remember a tournament I played in at Crystal Palace and for some reason, one of the other teams thought I was injured. A few opposing bench players saw me suiting up in the locker room and looked as if they'd seen a ghost. I jog on the court and the other team looked like they were having an argument. Subject: "You told me she was injured!!!" LMAO

I also broke ankles. Literally!!! Well maybe she sprained it but it was bad. Another Crystal Palace incident. We were up by a fair amount so Coach Andrea Norton let me bring up the ball. Left to right, right, right, left. This chick was on the floor squirming, grabbing her ankle. The crowd explodes into "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH's" Ref blows the whistle, she's carried off court, I AM SO EMBARRASSED!!! I didn't mean it! I just crushed that girls dreams, or what I thought they were because of my passion for the game. I felt like Bobby in Karate Kid when he was asked to sweep the leg :(

I'd know a few weeks later how I assumed she felt. Scrimmage at Elephant & Castle court. Won most of the games except that last one and I do not want to leave the gym on a loss. One more game. That one more game changed EVERYTHING! Glendora was guarding me, I had the ball at the top of the key, waited on the pick, wasn't coming quick enough so I went to put the ball on the floor and all I hear is "CRRRUNCH" My foot felt like it shattered into a million pieces. I'm actually cringing and tearing up a bit as I write this because as my ankle shattered, so did the world around me. Everything I expected of me and my future disappeared into blackness. I remember everyone standing around me on the court, trying to help me get up. I don't remember my dad even getting there. I just remember crying in the car on the way to Kings College Hospital. Sitting in a wheelchair in A&E. Crying. My foot bruised and swollen. Crying. My dad holding my hand. Crying. My mother hugging me. Crying. The doctor "Torn ligaments." Crying. Wrapped up in bandages and iced out. Crying. I'd taken over my brother's room because it was on the 1st floor and the couch wasn't that comfortable, the thought of hopping to that 2nd floor bedroom. Crying.

A pen and pad lay next to the bed. I write down my thoughts and feelings. Some of which turned into poems or songs. One in particular. "Fly away"

"I'd fly away
Spread my wings so I'd escape,
If I was the sky
I'd let it rain to wash away the pain."

"If I was a Bird" was born out of true heartache. Getting injured in the pre-season. I'd been trying out for the England squad. I wouldn't be able to walk for a few weeks, let alone run. The coaches have probably forgotten about me. My world is over. I was determined to get back. I'd show up to the gym on crutches. Half time, get on the court and shoot 3's. Injured, I couldn't put that ball down. I'd annoy my mum dribbling the ball in the house. Torn ligaments! Whatever, I got back to where I wanted to be and did one better. Made the England squad anyway :) Had one of the best London Youth Games tournaments at Crystal Palace ever. One game in particular, want to say it was the semi-finals. I couldn't miss. I think at one point, I tried LOL I knew at that point, I could do ANYTHING!!!

My down time due to injury is where I found my pen. I'd always written songs, my 1st one being when I was 8 called "Gonna Getcha"! I still have the Casio I played the chords on *well, I know where it is :) My dad was a bass player in the 70's to early 80's in the band "Supercharge" on Virgin Records. Of course influence starts in the home. I had musical instruments and a ball. I had a choice. Both. It wasn't until I sacrificed the other to be as successful as I wanted to be. Saying goodbye to basketball wasn't easy. I think my dad was more heartbroken than I was. Growing up as a tomboy didn't deter me from being a girl. First serious boyfriend was a basketball player. First major crush was on a basketball player. My first solo single is about basketball players! There is a deep rooted addiction to the game and all the discipline it taught me, all the experiences it allowed me to grow from.

Basketball.

THANK YOU! I love you, always.

Marsha Ambrosius