Elizabeth Bishop wrote, "The art of losing isn't hard to master." When it comes to hoops, I know how to lose. During our weekly games, I often match up with my friend Aaron, who is taller, faster, stronger, and younger. For the last decade, Aaron has kicked my ass. But I always enjoy the lesson he teaches me: Like everything else on the planet, I am aging and I will die.

But a few times a year, I manage to outplay Aaron. Last Thursday, Aaron spun on me and rose to the hoop, but I blocked his shot. That was the first time I ever blocked his shot. Aaron cussed at me and laughed; I silently celebrated. For a few seconds, I felt young, beautiful, and transcendent.

Spiritually speaking, I think losing to Aaron is more important than beating him. Don't we become better players and people by being humbled? And I think losing the Sonics might be more important than keeping them. In being humbled by all those who don't give a shit about pro basketball, what lessons am I learning? What will I do with my Sonics love when the subjects of my adoration are gone? recommended