Monday, June 11, 2012

Chasing the Dragon

Kevin Durant is a shitty rapper. Russell Westbrook wears ugly golf shirts. James Harden hides a razor blade in his beard.

Pardon me; I'm trying to think of ways to dislike/despise the Oklahoma City Thunder going into this year's NBA Finals, and I'm having a hard(en) time. That's my problem: I like OKC too much. They're my Western Conference paramour. What they've done this postseason has been nothing short of incredible. They're an absolute juggernaut of basketball fury. And now they're set to play in possibly what will be the most-watched NBA Finals in league history against My Team, the Miami Heat, the so-called underdogs.


For players and fans, competitiveness in sports is a hard drug; you can be taken so high, reach ecstatic glory, or fall so low, into the nadir of disbelief and frustration (first stop: Cleveland, then Seattle, Vancouver, Buffalo, Toronto. All aboard!). Is it worth the risk of heartbreak? Yes. A million times, yes. The reward far outweighs the numerable lows. Because winning at the highest level is the Great Eraser; all that pain and torment, all those years -- decades in some cases, near-centuries in a few -- are immediately wiped out when the clock counts down to zero and Your Team has reached the pinnacle of its challenge.

Ask me if the Miami Heat will win the 2012 NBA title. "I doubt it," I'll say out loud, "OKC is too big, their outside shooting too strong," but inside I believe they absolutely will. That's what being a fan of sports is all about. More definitively, that's what love is.

If you have a shot, take it. Make or miss, you have had an opportunity, and that's the greatest thing about sports, life: if it goes in, you are legendary; if it doesn't, shrug it off, regroup, maybe it'll go in next time, maybe it won't, but at least you took a shot, drew breath and exhaled, hoping beyond hope to keep breathing, keep living.

But maybe I'm being overly dramatic. After all, it's only a game.

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