Greetings, Pounders! This is my first post and I intended it as a sort of getting-to-know-me piece for those of you who want to know if anything I might write in the future bears weight. But also as a trip down memory lane for those of you who are so inclined to join me.
This post is very long and more than a little sentimental...fair warning!
...the first time I became aware of the Spurs. I was nine-years-old and lived in Springfield, MO. My Grandmother moved to San Antonio that year and she sent me a poster of George Gervin-you know the one I'm talking about without having to go into specifics. I didn't know much about the Spurs, but that poster sure was cool, both literally and figuratively.
...the first Spurs game I ever went to. It was January of 1988 after I took my Grandmother up on her offer to live with her while I went to college at UTSA. We were playing the Atlanta Hawks. Alvin Robertson was our best player. I don't say that with a snicker, Alvin was good enough to be one of only four players in NBA history to record a quadruple-double. Still, we lost the game. But hope was right around the corner.
...buying my first set of season tickets to the Spurs. It was the first year of the Admiral's reign and I think we all knew things were about to get better. This was how excited I was: the tickets were in the nosebleed section behind one of the baskets in the old HemisFair Arena-and I couldn't afford them by myself but bought them anyway-yes, I was poor. I went in with two of my buddies and we took turns going to the games. Still, I loved those seats and still think about those times often.
...Rod Strickland's bad pass against Portland resulting in my first "heartbreaker" loss since becoming a fan. We were so close to making the Western Conference Finals that year. Even more heartbreaking, in hindsight, is how strongly I believed that a title was right around the corner for us.
...watching David Robinson get a quadruple-double of his own which you can check out highlights from HERE. By this time we'd moved over to the Alamodome. Not the best place to watch a basketball game (remember that giant curtain?) but I still spent many pleasant times there watching the team I loved.
...Dennis Rodman clowning his way through two seasons with us and then trashing David Robinson, Gregg Popovich, and the city of San Antonio after he left. This is when I first began to realize how important it is to have players who reflect the culture/ideals of the city they play for. We are so lucky as fans to have a team that exhibits the spirit of our city. San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the country by population, but thinks of itself as a small town. We have had four championship seasons, but nary a riot after any of them. Both the city and our team "got over themselves" long, long ago. Rodman could help teams win championships, but he was anathema here. You stay classy, Dennis. If you can't remember what that word means, think about San Antonio and the Spurs.
...trading away Sean Elliott and then bringing him back. I had a friend who called the Spurs offices one day and actually, somehow, got through to Popovich, then a fledgling GM. Sean was still playing for Detroit and my friend began to explain why he thought we should make an attempt to get him back. Cool thing was, Pop actually discussed this with him. He didn't slam the phone down and demand that his assistant screen his calls better, he didn't insult my friend or cop a "who do you think you are" attitude either. He did give my buddy a little of the old Pop sarcasm ("And just who do you think we should trade for him?") but the fact remained that Pop discussed this with my friend for 10 minutes. Ah, 1994, it was a simpler time.
...watching the NBA draft on television the day we won the right to take Tim Duncan. I jumped so high I hit my head on the ceiling and then wondered why I'd never been able to do that on a basketball court.
...standing in line at the bathroom in the Alamodome after a loss to Utah in early 1999. Our record at the time was 6-8 and we'd just lost to the Jazz by 14. Somebody shouted out, "Fire Popovich!" And everybody, including me, shouted back, "Yeah, fire Popovich!" I've never been happier to be wrong about anything in my life.
...playing in a softball game during game two of our first-round series against the Timberwolves in '99. We had the radio on so both teams could hear and when we lost that game everybody, on both teams, just hung their heads in sadness. Little did we know that 12 games later the Spurs would be up 2-0 in the NBA Finals.
...the Memorial Day Miracle. One of the greatest moments of pure, spontaneous joy in my life. Sean Elliott, whenever you're in San Antonio, for the rest of your life, the drinks are on us.
...stumbling into tickets to Game 1 of the Finals in '99. My wife's best friend had great seats (two rows back behind one of the baskets) but couldn't go. Timmy had a monster game (33 points, 16 rebounds) and I had a memory for a lifetime. And I'll keep that ticket stub until the day I die.
...the first river boat parade. People stood in the June heat all day to secure a place along the Riverwalk. My company just happened to be having their annual corporate picnic that year in San Antonio and had rented out most of the Marriott Riverwalk. I was able to walk out onto the patio right off the water and be 10 feet away from the barges as the floated past. Yeah, '99 was a very good year.
...the '03 championship run and the sight of the Lakers players (or at least some of them) crying on the sidelines when they realized their run was over. Schadenfreude never felt so good. But, most especially, sending the Admiral off with a championship. Here's to you, Mr. Robinson.
...talking with my best friend, long-distance, on the phone during game 5 of the 2004 playoffs against the Lakers and running up a hellacious phone bill. Biggest roller coaster moment in my life as a Spurs fan. Duncan hits that amazing 20-footer and we're going nuts. Fisher fails to get off his shot in .4 seconds but the refs count it anyway. Life is cruel and unfair sometimes.
...Manu Ginobili coming into his own during the '05 playoffs. Without Timmy stepping up in the most important game of the season (and what could be more important than Game 7?), Manu is the MVP of the Finals that year.
...realizing in 2006 that Manu has officially achieved total carte blanche with me and all other Spurs fans. He makes a stupid foul on Nowitzki in game 7 of the Western Conference Finals and we all, while not being happy about the foul, basically shrug and say, "Well, that's Manu. He has to do what he does."
...getting stuck in Kansas City, Missouri during the2007 Finals, on a business trip. Torrential rains grounded all flights out of the airport and instead of watching game four at home, I had to scramble to find a bar (which I prioritized over finding a hotel for the night) to watch the game. My Spurs didn't let me down, and closed out the Cavs that night.
...I find a blog/website called "Pounding the Rock" and become addicted immediately. It takes me a while to work up the courage to actually post something, though. Sorry about the length.