Monday, June 16, 2008

Bleeding Purple and Gold

You may not know by looking at me, or by looking around my house, but I am a die-hard fan.

I love basketball and I love the Lakers
I think it started with Chick Hurn and Kareem when I was about 4.
I have sweet memories of watching the Lakers/Boston championships all throughout the 80s with my dad and learning the difference between a hook shot and a free throw and why Magic was magic and why being “on your wallet” was bad and why “in the refrigerator” was good thing. I loved the pace of the game, I loved how the players were elegantly larger than life. I loved how it was a cerebral game as well as just forcing the flesh. I loved how excited I got at every free throw and I loved the fact that they were constantly reaching up instead of across a field like in football. Kareem remains one of my favorite players of all time. The Gentle Giant. Don’t mess with the man either, but he was the nice one.

I just loved it all and nothing much has changed.

Basketball has been a part of my life since, well, forever. Every time I went to Tucson to visit family we’d hit up one of my cousin’s games. I’d go support our church ball leagues; I was a faithful fan of our unsung but very capable and accomplished high school team. It’s pretty impossible to grow up LDS and not be basketball and volleyball proficient.

Basketball was an intimate part more than one District Leader’s lessons on my mission as well. There are a lot of lessons in basketball. John Wooden remains one of my heroes and one of the best men who has ever walked the planet.
I love how it brings people I love together and leaves them better.

But mostly I love the Lakers

Some of my best memories with my crazy brothers and cousins have been watching the Lakers play, being on our feet, and cheering for purple and gold boys, IBCs in hand and feeling nothing but love and adrenaline.

Since the Kobe years and the death of Chick my dad has pretty much put away his purple and gold allegiances but my brother and I are still carrying the torch. And for the first time since Shaq left we’ve found themselves back in the finals, AND against Boston of all people. Little else has been in or out of my thoughts in the last two and a half weeks except maybe Twilight and my graduating from college – more on that later.

Now, if you love the Lakers you hate Boston. It’s the rules. Larry Bird and Magic came up together in the 70’s through college and the draft and were always personal rivals and then they both became centerpieces of their teams that they played for the majority of their careers; Bird with Boston and Magic here in LA. They played each other in NBA Finals 6 different times and the rivalry went from being personal to a franchise wide loathing. Things haven’t changed much since then. I still hate Boston. When my friend went to go visit earlier this year it was all I could do to not go “Why??!” every time she mentioned it. Boston is where happiness goes to die. Everyone knows that.

NBA speaking, I think Brett Hall got it right when he said “I hate Boston (he's a true fan) but I like Boston’s players”. I will totally agree with that. Boston’s line up right now is amazing and as much as I hate to admit it, we are getting handed our cabooses in pieces. 4 different pieces. Game 6 of the finals is tomorrow night in Boston. We’ve already lost two games out there and one here to Boston. We need to win two more if we’re going to take it but with how we’re playing and the fact that Boston is practically breathing fire at us (Kevin Garnett, I’m looking at you) we’ll have to see what happens.

I’m nervous. As nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Tomorrow is a big day.

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