Go, Um ... Mavs, Was It? Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Basketball.

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Two things I could have done to make my dad really happy with me would have been to become religious and to care about baseball. I failed him in both.

Let's not talk about the religion thing and say we did. But professional sports: I can't even tell you why I never developed an interest. I should have. I grew up worshiping college football stars. I played hockey every day I could. I played baseball all summer. I even had a baseball nickname: E.J., short for Error Jimmy.

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Photos by Patrick Michels
Jason Kidd and Jamie Foxx pre-parade
Maybe it was a '60s thing. Professional sports always seemed corporate, hollowed out of soul. The players were all mercenaries, like the Hessians who fought with the British in the Revolution.

My wife comes from the opposing school of thought. Oh my God. You'd think Tyson Chandler was our son. In fact I know more about Dirk Nowitzki's life in the last six months, from her, than I know about our son's life.

So during this whole playoffs thing, in the interest of domestic solidarity I sat next to her with my fingers jammed in my ears while she screamed, moaned and, frankly, don't tell other people this, but sometimes used quite bad language when things didn't go her way. I was shocked. I said nothing, but I'm so glad the young man was no longer at home to be exposed.

Here is the other problem. Because I'm in the news business, I have a keen sense of the difference between sports and real life. On the news side at the daily papers I worked for, we called sports "the toy department." I don't know what they called us, but I did have a conversation once with a very smart sports reporter who explained to me why I was so stupid.

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He said people don't come to sports looking for reality. They come to sports to get away from it. The larger-than-life sagas of sports, he said, are to died-in-the-wool sports fans what the legends of the gods on Olympus were to ancient man.

Dirk, once weak, now strong. Jason Kidd, the mask of vengeance. Jason Terry, the quick and the dead. J.J., the wasp who fells giants. Tyson, sweet though cruel.

Shit. Somehow she got me into it. Pretty much. I rebelled against some of it. I thought, "Now wait, I'm supposed to hate Dwyane Wade because he trash-talked somebody in a corridor? I do that every day. In fact, I think I do it for a living."

We went to dinner with a guy who told us a very nice little story about an encounter his daughter and some friends had with LeBron James at a bar in New York, where James came across as a true gentleman. And I'm required to think LeBron is the devil because he's in the other uniform? What is this, professional wrestling? (Did you notice, though, I called him by his first name?)

This morning at 7 o'clock as I headed out to a non-sports related assignment, I saw an entire family towing blue and white wheeled coolers down the sidewalk on their way to the parade. Judging by where they were coming from, it's possible they did not have a car.

They were two miles from the parade route and three hours ahead of start time. And the temperature was already on its way to sidewalk-egg-frying hotter than hell.

I get it. I do. We won. I'm really happy for us. It is truly sweet and wonderful. Now will someone please tell me why the announcers are always saying the players are trying to pick a roll?


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17 comments
Basketball Jones
Basketball Jones

Sports combine drama and virtue as the good win as a result of their sacrifice and dedication (in theory, anyway). Then you get a mass media corruption on the majors where the stars are protected, the major markets get the calls, the AAC becomes 90% schlock and 10% basketball, Budweiser sells depressants to the masses, etc. Its all relative as you can watch the not so best (Fort Worth Cats) and be entertained without the hassle of the major market mosh. The thing is, sitting on your ass watching someone else play is one of the worst leisure time activities you can practice from a physical standpoint as recent studies concerning sedentary behaviors indicate. Play a pickup game and then watch the last half of the fourth quarter is a good a remedy to Lebron's misfire about fans that pay his check otherwise needing to get a life.

scottindallas
scottindallas

There's no requisite to hate, that's what spectators do.  We played very competitive games against teams we hated and teams we liked.  When we played (rugby) against a team we hated, it was all elbows and fists when you went to the ground.  When we played a team we were friendly with, we might really kiss on the ground--it was more distracting than a punch.  But, in both games the hits were just as hard, if not as cheap.  Both games were fun to play, but the parties were sure more fun with the friendlies--though no kissing, though you'd see a few guys in a dresses. 

J. Erik Jonsson
J. Erik Jonsson

Second Grandpa Simpson column this month.  We should re-headline all these "Old Man Yells at Cloud."

reader
reader

The play, pick and roll.  Didn't you watch "Hoosiers"?

reader
reader

Jim, I think they all picked their role in order to win this championship!!!!

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

I think you're now qualified to take over the Sportatorium.

Coleman
Coleman

I never really "got" sports growing up and that continued even when I worked in a newsroom briefly. All the stats watching and dweeby announcers and obsession just struck me as a slightly more socially acceptable nerdiness than...say...D&D. Fantasy sports leagues and teams still strike me as accounting for fun.

That being said, I kinda started getting it when the Mavs went to the finals (I'll admit it, I didn't start watching until then). The fact that a Dallas team were about to win a huge championship peaked my interests, but then my friends became super invested in it to. By the end of Game 6 I was at Anvil Pub yelling at the TV with everyone else. Am I going to become a huge basketball fan and obsess over stats and shit? no way, but I do now understand how it can be entertaining and exciting to watch.

tl:dr - Didn't get it, now I casually do.

Buckeye
Buckeye

Take a look at J.T, in that picture.  Do get the feeling he's thinking to himself, "Eenie, meenie, minie, mo?"

And why is that girl grabbint Dirk's boobs?

Robert
Robert

I watched John Rhadigan and Nancy Lieberman covering the parade and I have one question. When did Lieberman become good looking because she is?

ElRey
ElRey

I bandwagonned this team the whole way through the playoffs. I think I may have watched one NBA game in its entirety in the last 10 years. But the Mavs got me interested again. Oh, and watching LeBron lose always has a redeeming quality to it.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin

The real question is was John McKee's morning ruined by all the peasants and underlings celebrating?  I hope it wasnt to loud and that the streets he needed were open. 

RandyE
RandyE

Getting all those players to pick a role won them a championship.   And you don't have to think anybody is the devil, plenty of room in legend for the noble enemy.  As long as my side wins. 

JimS
JimS

I'm not sure if they were saying pick A roll or pick AND roll.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Over-Qualified Scruff, Over-Qualified.  Wish they would have given the keys to Merten, but alas they pushed him out the door.  Now we just get to read him on the twitter and the occasional bashing of my trading abilities in our little fantasy leauge. 

jfpo
jfpo

I was at Anvil for games 5 and 6. That place has a good vibe.

JimS
JimS

The thing that really worried me about myself was that I was noticeably dissapointed when it was all over. Have they ever thought of having some of the other sports teams do this same thing?

JS
JS

Any truth to the rumor that John Rhadigan was fired one-fourth of the way through the parade?

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