Coming to you live this week, drunk, from a hellishly bright pizza joint on 12th Avenue, across the street from Seattle University, where I'm surrounded by weird Catholic law students eating pizza and getting their funk on. Sick. Bunch of rich brats look at me as though they've never seen a hairy drunken guy using a laptop for a napkin.
Houston Rockets vs. the Los Angeles Lakers, fourth game, first round. The cable went out in my building during the first quarter--I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the crackheads in the apartment next door who have been drilling holes in the walls for some reason. That means I had to pack up my shit and find the nearest television.
The best thing about watching basketball, by yourself, alone in your own house with beer, bags of fried pig skins, ketchup, and cheap cigars is that you own the remote, and when the announcers say inane shit like, "Great players like Shaq have great third quarters!" you can yell at them and threaten to change the channel to NASCAR or women's beach volleyball if they don't shut up. When you venture out into the world to watch basketball in a public establishment you're at the mercy of "civilization," meaning you can't yell, much less walk around naked.
It's 88-88 with 51 seconds left in overtime and I've been kicked out by the manager for reaching over the counter and stealing a beer from the cooler while he was in the bathroom. Now I'm outside on the sidewalk watching the game through the window. The police are on their way. Why do I go through all this shit just to watch a game? It's simple: Watching sports is about watching people make big mistakes. They fuck up, but then they recover, and move on. I watch sports to see Gary Payton miss important free throws (while millions of people are watching) because he has the ability to recover his confidence and continue to look for opportunities to score. He is not immune to the pain of failing--no one is--but he knows he will find the basket again. There is nothing else in this life that condenses the flow of failure and success like sports, and watching this process reaffirms our own ability to score. This is what people mean when they say it doesn't matter who wins.