After 32 games and five months on a beat, you learn a lot about a team. What plays they run, what the rotation is, what their strengths and weaknesses are and even who the mom of the team is — senior guard Akienreh Johnson.
The things you really want to know, though, can’t be figured out by simply watching the team. Instead, you’ve got to rely on awkward-looking 19 year-olds to ask those questions for you. So now, what originally began as a podcast gag and quickly turned into crowdsourcing for new meals I can make at college, will come to you in a written format. I apologize in advance.
Favorite ice cream:
Freshman guard Maddie Nolan: Something called “yellow cake batter.” At first we doubted its existence, but a thorough investigation yielded multiple other witnesses coming forward and testifying to its existence.
Freshman guard Michelle Sidor: Mint chocolate chip. She actually said, “chocolate chip mint,” but the only ice cream I found that’s called that is from a company called Cascade Glacier in Oregon, and I had to go to the third page of Google for that — just to find out it’s the exact same thing as mint chocolate chip.
Johnson: Butter pecan.
Freshman center Izabel Varejão: Salted caramel.
Favorite Christmas songs:
Sophomore forward Naz Hillmon: “Mary Did You Know?” by Pentatonix. An a cappella fan, who would’ve thought?
Junior guard Priscilla Smeenge: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”
Senior forward Kayla Robbins: Following in Smeenge’s footsteps, if only by order I wrote this.
Sophomore guard Amy Dilk: “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber. Hm.
Johnson: Jingle bells.
Sidor: “Last Christmas” by Wham!
Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico: Sleigh Ride. She sang it, too. Maybe she and Hillmon should start an a cappella group together.
We also kept track of when the right time to listen to Christmas music is, but I lost all the audio and didn’t transcribe any of it. We all make mistakes.
Fantasy vacation spot:
Sophomore guard Danielle Rauch: Italy. When further pressed, she said, “I don’t know, it just seems cool.” Michigan has taken its past two team trips to Italy, says communications director Sarah VanMetre.
Hillmon: Egypt. Same reasoning as Rauch.
Junior forward Hailey Brown and Johnson: Bora Bora. The pair both fell in love with the location after seeing multiple Twitter posts about it. They obviously have very good feed selections.
Sophomore forward Emily Kiser: A whole lot of them. The one I feel comfortable sharing is aliens.
Johnson: Snow isn’t real. There’s a video out there where snow chars after a lighter is put to it, she uses as her evidence. Johnson comes from Toledo, where it snowed on Monday.
Barnes Arico: After serious pressing, and confirmation that Kiser is a conspiracy nut, she came up with her own after Dilk nearly got a triple double: She pulled Dilk to prevent her from reaching that milestone.
There are too many pasta ones, so we’ll go with the crowd (my) favorites.
Barnes Arico: Fish tacos. She doesn’t cook anymore, she has a husband for that.
Hillmon: Orders from Uber eats.
Johnson: French toast bread with eggs, bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup for sauce. A word from the wise: Turn off the fire alarm when you make bacon on the stove, otherwise you get angry looks from your neighbors.
Varejão: Beijinhos. Condensed milk, butter and coconut. Google calls them coconut kisses.
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches:
Barnes Arico: Creamy peanut butter and raspberry jelly.
Dilk: Smooth peanut butter and nothing.
Johnson: Chunky and grape.
There were many more questions and many more answers, but due to our youthful ignorance, we forgot to transcribe them. So it goes.
As we social distance in the new sports-less world, maybe make some beijinhos, find out if snow is real and listen to some Christmas songs to remember when times were good two decades — I mean weeks — ago.