After reading a Facebook status, a brief eight or nine word insight into the past week and the upcoming week, we felt good about sending our friends, the Bergquists, a stupid package of randomness. I don't even know what made me think of doing it...or wait, I suppose I do know. It was one of those snowball things where something little throws itself on your lap, and then anidea forms, and then that idea gets bigger...and then perhaps you see something that makes you think, "Oh, that'd be cool," and before you know it you're mailing a package to Ann Arbor, Michigan....a FUN package. Well, okay, pretty fun. Maybe not capital letters FUN...but fun.
Heading into a semi-difficult week the Bergquistimsteins could use a stupid package. And then I read this while drinking my coffee this morning, and thought, "whoa! I'm sending this too!" Bill Simmons recent column
reminded me so much of the biggest sporting family I know...seriously, THE BIGGEST...capitalized, that I had to post the link. It's right back there in case you missed it...highlighted.
Don't ask me what made me a sports fan growing up. Maybe it was parental influence? Maybe it was the cool thing to do? Maybe it was growing up in small, rural and industrial midwestern town where there was nothing else to do? Or maybe it's just because whatever is stirring our more recent infatuation with reality TV is the same thing behind falling desperately in love with the reality of Hockey Night in Canada, or ESPN College Game Day, or Monday Night Football, or This Week in Baseball. Whatever it is, there's no question that the original "reality TV" was sports. Besides, being a fan connects you to emotional places that you might never have gone otherwise. I was young but I still remember the day Wayne Gretzky was traded and seeing tears in my Mom's eyes as she watched from the living room doorway. I remember sitting down, astonished, when Magic held his press conference to tell everyone that he was retiring after contracting HIV. I remember Patrick Ewing getting drafted, and the night that Villanova played a near perfect game and left me near tears, hiding my face in my pillow. I remember Len Bias. Sports puts us in emotional positions that we're so often waiting for our own real life to do...it's like practice for real world disappointment, and real world humility, and...and...and...
I guess you sometimes don't think about how you became a fan until you watch your children start stumbling into doing the same. Right now Zoey is still interested in what color team Dad is rooting for, and she sings "Hail to the Victors" but only because it's fun. She likes going to the ballpark, and jumping up and down when Daddy jumps up and down, and playing hockey in the living room when the game is on the television, but she doesn't have any afflictions just yet. She hasn't been disappointed by a player, a city, an owner, a game, a season...not yet. We're waiting.
Right now we want the Kings to win the Cup, Derek Fisher and OKC to win the NBA title, the Tigers to turn it around and the Dodgers to stay strong. We want to watch Euro Cup 'cause on that level soccer's kinda cool, and we're tired of trying to find an NFL team to get behind. We want year two of the Brady Hoke era to not leave us sleepless. We want Ohio State to finally fry regardless of their new head coach, Jesus H. Christ, and we're going to try awfully hard to fall in love with the Brooklyn Nets, 'cause the Lakers and Knicks are #$%ing us off pretty badly.
Yeah, it's all pretty hard to explain to people who don't get it. The Bergquists get it...so I hope they read that Simmons story and smile.