Sunday, March 02, 2014

Sore Loser

On June 12, 2011, I was sitting at my desk during lunch, listening to ESPN Radio. The Miami Heat were minutes away from losing the NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. I wanted to throw up. I went into the bathroom, but not to vomit. I just needed a time-out. I sat in the toilet stall -- lid closed, of course -- while staring at the ESPN app on my phone. Final score: Dallas 105, Miami 95. Swear word.

I had predicted this. When the Heat landed LeBron James in free agency (and signed Chris Bosh, and re-signed Dwyane Wade), I guessed that they wouldn't win a title in their first year together. Talent of that caliber doesn't...calibrate so easily. It takes time. At least a season, if it ever does.

Expectations were high, but expectations don't often match reality. And, throughout the season, I became guilty of letting my 'what ifs' and 'I think we can do its' take over (I grew up in Toronto, after all; I think they put Go Leafs! chemicals in the tap water). After Miami dispatched Philadelphia, then Boston, then Chicago in the Playoffs, the championship was all but assured. Right?


I was crushed. I wanted to cry. The universe is cruel, and the only sure things are disappointment and black licorice.

I will admit that I am a little sucky baby. I called my wife immediately after the game:


"Can you buy us a Dachshund*?"

God bless her, she did. Sitting at work that afternoon, she sent me cell phone photos of a 12-week-old Dachshund whom she had just bought.

I decided to call him Flash after the nickname of my favorite basketball player. He has gone on to live up to, and transcend, that name, though, through speed, vertical leaping ability, and dog. He has an 'S' on his chest that I just haven't found yet, and he's my hero.

I'm glad the Miami Heat lost the 2011 Finals.

 * The proper-noun capitalization -- or non-capitalization -- of specific animals has bugged the shit out of me for a while. If you can call a bicycle made by a specific company a Schwinn, you should be able to call a dog bred for a specific purpose a Dachshund, capital D.

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