Why, exactly, do we pay so much attention to ridiculously-talented athletes wearing ridiculous clothes who play a child's game? There's a watered-down colisseum/gladiator thing going on, but why are we interested? Why does someone like me, who is an avid fan, take such great joy in Boris' (and others) appearances on thedirty.com?
Now is the time to reflect on your fandom. A little lull in the action until we begin to anticipate the new season.
Last Saturday, I took my kids to McDonald's for lunch. Using my free french fries from a Suns win earlier this season and the new "dollar menu" I ate, the kids ate and the boy got a Transformer-type toy from his Happy Meal for under $7. After eating, they played on the equipment and I zoned out in the chair for about an hour. It was over two hours together for about $7 (plus a couple miles of gas).
I took JSun2 to his first game on December 15, 2006. Later, he was at the Steve Nash Bloody Nose game (he will also tell anyone that asks him that he hates the Spurs because Robert Horry pushed Steve Nash). Last year, my infant daughter sat on my lap and watched playoff games while I fed her and the misses tried to catch up on sleep.
These are fond memories, and I'm sure that as the kids age, grow up and grow away, the memories will become fonder. My dad still keeps the ticket from the first game he and I attended (it was Portland).
At the actual game (or in the downtown area), I'm convinced that whenever you can get 20,000 persons together and avoid a riot, you've done a good thing for the community.
How often do you talk about your favorite sporting team at work? Or, on the internet?
Regardless of what they do with the money, it really is hard to argue the athletes are overpaid. Every time you mention the Suns, give each player a nickel because it is something you enjoy and it is something you enjoy doing with others. Multiply that by the world and you see that these athletes are providing a consumer good. I'm staying judgment-neutral on this. Whether it's good or bad is another issue. Capitalism can reap benefits for persons pandering more socially destructive products.
At the same time, we laugh at their stupidity. Mainly becuase we're jealous. If I had that much money, I'd do something differently. I would, but I also don't have the personality (much less the skills) to get where they are. I've recently come around to the idea that persons with mucho moola are also those most likely to lose it. It's something about the genetic makeup of risk-taking. E.g., I would rather work hard at schooling and be relatively assured of an above-average income than work much harder at athletics for the slim chance of making an un-godly amount of money.
We (mainly "I") need to get over ourselves. The rumor-mongering is funny and I'm not going to swear myself off of it (mainly because I'm easily amused), but it is only a sideshow. It's like the six-minute cartoon before the movie. Fun and amusing, but superfluous and not the reason we're here.
We're here because we do enjoy watching men bounce a ball while wearing silly-looking uniforms. And they are silly. Short-shorts are disturbing, but shorts to your ankles are about as useful. Their main benefit is the cover-up.
Watch the games and have fun. Follow the team in the off-season as a hobby. Cheer your favorite player and boo the Sp*rs. Give yourself a reason to spend time with family and friends -- at the game or with your free french fries sometime after the game. Spend a few free minutes in the blogosphere and "e-hangout" with others who share the passion.
Enjoy those fries while you can, too, because there's a good chance they are going to go the way of the Dodo and the two free Jack-in-the-box tacos.
If you get a chance to hit any Summer League games, make sure to take in the spectacle that is Las Vegas. Even if you don't like the casinoes, the people-watching is fantastic. Walk slowly and enjoy the conversation with your spouse/friend/sibling/parent. Then, remember that you made the trip to watch the Suns. And don't forget to bring your camera phone -- Dan Majerle will be there and the Dirty Army needs your pictures.