27 April 2009

Still the Champs

A few weeks ago, one of my friends informed me that he gave up following sports a year ago. Outside of paying attention to a few quarters of the last Super Bowl, he's been "clean." He had good reason. He's got a busy job, a beautiful wife, and a darling child. But it came as a semi-shock to me because he was a virtual sports encyclopedia. We'd flip to some obscure late night ESPN showing of archery or bowling or something and he'd be all like "Oh, this guy is good, watch his fill-in-the-blank move." I don't actually have a lot of friends (especially male) who are into my preferred sports. It's very strange. You would think sports equals guys but outside of the people I play fantasy sports with, I don't really get to talk sports with anyone. None of the guys I hang out with on a day to day basis are into sports. Like at all.

I've often wondered if following the ebb and flow of a sporting season is the same as celeb watching or following trashy reality TV shows. I mean, you really don't get that much out of it in the long run and once it's removed from your life, you could conceivably do just fine. To paraphrase Marx, "sports is the opiate of the masses." I mean, I love sports, but I've tried to cut my intake down of random stuff unless it has to do with my favorite teams. No more reading about sports I don't like just because it's around. No more following every link in every article. No more checking CNNSI and ESPN. I just stick with ESPN now. No more being suckered into looking at every Top Ten list after I realized it's only designed to suck away fifteen minutes of my life.

So now I just read a blog or two, hang onto Bill Simmons' every word, and skim the daily (or weekly) recaps for basketball and football. I'm on a sports diet and while I'm not sure if it makes me any more productive or happier, I can't say I've missed much of anything. Of course, I'm currently in binge mode.

It's the NBA playoffs! My team is the defending champions. I'm invested in their continued success. The problem is, the Celtics are struggling. To be honest, I'm sort of come to terms with the fact that they won't repeat. Not with Kevin Garnett out for the rest of the run. It makes watching them very painful. Especially when they're in the fight of their lives against the lowly Chicago Bulls. Of course, the games have been so good that it's hard not to watch. I have secret hope that the Celtics can still make it far, but I know Lebron will just crush them. I don't want to watch that. But I like watching Rajon Rondo average a triple double. I like watching Ray Allen rain threes. I like thinking about how Kobe and the Lakers will lose in the Finals yet again. I'm throwing my support behind Lebron even though it feels a bit traitorous. Still, any team that can do a hilarious spoof of the Heineken screaming commercial is worthy of some support.

So even though it pains me to watch and be reminded of how weak the Celts are this year, I have to enjoy the wonderfullness that is Boston versus Chicago. Game 1: Overtime loss. Game 2: Game winning three pointer at the buzzer. Game 3: Blowout. Game 4: Double overtime loss. What happens tomorrow for Game 5? I don't know but you can bet I'll be chained to a television and doing whatever it takes to will my team to victory.

Update: See, another classic! Paul Pierce hits his last five shots for the overtime win.