A Mavs Fan, His Hollow Glass, His Peeing Dog
Left in the dark of what is to come, there is only a curious mix of sweet memories and doubt. Doubt for the choices undertaken, for the destination choices have currently led us to stand. Doubt for what was moved away from, for what was invited in its place.
The past, in this case, is a friend we'll keep close. The championship run won't fade. More likely, the distance delivered with time will cause it to grow in prominence, to more clearly define how special it truly was, to have its impurities removed. Memory has a funny way of clearing away or compounding the blemishes of significant events in our lives, of extracting the imperfections where happiness is attained, of further poisoning the waters where it was not.
For most, the 2011-12 season for the Dallas Mavericks takes its leave, now abandoned to the Kingdom of Yesterday, and will likely be remembered as nothing more than a bridge connecting what was and what would (will) be. Time may shrink it to a footnote in the minds of fans, a transition from their team's greatest moment to whatever comes next.
Yet, in the moment, it's left at least one of us to sit absorbed by the night in his backyard while sipping a hollow glass of scotch as his dog relieves himself and to wallow in the least meaningful of sadnesses one can sink into … for this is only over the outcome of a game, not real life … a refrain so justifiably turned to, yet so incomplete.
As LeBron dutifully pointed out to us a season ago, as he was sent home without a ring: our debts, our jobs, the problems tangled within our bonds to our "real" lives will be waiting when morning once more wins its battle over the night only to yield once more to the coming day that will again fall to the onset of night … and on and on, and so it goes.
Only, a door was cracked open a long time ago. Sports were allowed to sink a talon in my heart, to traverse some unnamed corridor, given access to my mood, influence of my emotions and thus granted a say in the passing of my life. LeBron wasn't the first to trivialize this aspect of being a fan, and he won't be the last, but no less than this night will be rendered darker for the outcome of a game, a series … just as so many days seemed brighter when caught in the light of the championship glow. In this regard, we share in the outcome with the teams and the athletes we follow.
Kevin Durant could say, "suck on that Mavs fans" and we'd all feel it. By avenue of the game we've invested our time and emotions in, he has the power to impact our lives. For the most part, it's a one-way street, an arrangement we agree to by becoming a fan, but in it we're allowed access to highs we'd otherwise have to seek elsewhere, just as we have the lows waiting at the other end of the spectrum pressed upon us.
For a moment it feels right to give this sadness, anger, frustration, or whatever name you call it by, its time. Tomorrow, real life will seek to paint over the words of this day, but for now its given reign.
What LeBron missed, was that the mundane, the difficult, and the undesired aspects of Mavericks fans lives found their grip on us momentarily weakened, even as the tasks themselves were undertaken. No, those blemishes on our lives didn't disappear, but they were faced with a lifted spirit, perhaps a renewed will. In that way, the sport was sewn into our "real" lives, it was a part of them.
Today, still fat from the gift Dirk Nowitzki and the rest of the Mavericks gave us a year ago, the sting from this loss doesn't reach quite as deep as it could (the gift that keeps on giving), but still it's present. I don't hate this season for how it ended, and choose not to erase the moments of pleasure and entertainment it provided. The outcome was not castrated of its ability to hurt, but perhaps it was lessened in the shadow of what took place only a season past.
Whether or not the immediate future holds Deron Williams or supreme disappointment, for this night I mourn the passing of a season that did not conclude as hoped, but do so under the blanket of a championship … and in the dreams of another, for sports may not be my complete life, but they are most certainly a part of it.
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