Then last year came. Playoffs + big screen tv + good-looking sweaty men + an open mind = a basketball fan. They just replayed the promo they played all last season's playoffs -- "right here, right now" -- cheesy, but memory-inducing. My heart puffed out, for just a second.
I still don't know a lot about basketball. I will never be a Statistics person, I will never know what pretty much anyone else is up to in the league. But I'm aware of that, it doesn't bother me. I enjoy watching the games, a lot. I enjoy knowing what my guys are up to, and seeing them perform. I enjoy pretending that Matt Harpring is my boyfriend.
Michelle lamented to her mom the other week, "Keritha is a sports fan." I am! I didn't even notice it happening, but suddenly, I am. It's a reason to get together, it's something to get excited about, it's -- oh my god, Dikembe isn't playing tonight?? Is this his first missed game?? -- something that I feel I have in common with my fellow Philadelphia-area brethren. When I'd drive to The House late for a game, or stopped at Wawa or the liquor store on the way, I felt like I had something to talk about with the fellow customers. I was sure we were all getting supplies for the same event. And I'd be inwardly critical that they weren't home already, for Chrissakes!
I know sports aren't as important as some people think they are. I know a lot of people think that paying attention to sports is stupid, and some people even think they're Evil. But they make me happy, and far be it from me -- and so therefore you -- to tell someone that something that makes them happy, shouldn't. We need all the happiness we can get.
The Sixers made me feel connected to this area, which is not the area in which I was raised. They gave me something to talk about with the other guys in my 98%-male workplace. They gave me a reason to come over to The House even when relations were strained. They gave me . . . hell, they gave me Jumaine Jones. How I miss him. Allen Iverson has eyes to die for, but the popular boys were never my favorite.
I will leave you with the words of my wise mother, and I:
mom: Why do you like basketball? It's just a bunch of sweaty black guys running back and forth.