Trey Felder's exceptional article has inspired me to write my own response. Like many other recently I have thought back about my life as a Spurs fan. And I thought I'd share.
A friend of mine's father died recently. He was a huge Spurs fan. This got me thinking hard about life. I could have waited till after the finals to write this, but I needed to get it out while I was in the mood. I have a story to tell, it's more personal than most, but you should listen to me, because I am an authority.
I am...the greatest Spurs fan in the world.
As the Spurs yet again slam their foot to the gas pedal of the Glory Days Bus on the road to the Promised Land, I think back and remember all of the impact that being a Spurs fan has had on my life. Yeah, it was good.
In fact, this year is the 25th anniversary of my life as a Spurs fan.
It all started in 1988. I knew what basketball was, because my dad had been watching the Lakers and Celtics in the finals over the previous few years. I was 11 years old, and I had just gotten a battery operated AM radio for my birthday. I plugged in some headphones, the dial found its way to AM1200, and I heard the sounds of basketball. The Pride of the Lone Star State was on the air.
As I listened to Spurs games well past my bedtime, with my radio hidden under my pillow, Jay Howard implored the listening audience to have hope. Because next year, someone named David Robinson would finally come to San Antonio, and everything was going to be alright. In fact, it was going to be wonderful. I remember that I went to Sunday School and prayed to Jesus that he would help David Robinson make everything be wonderful.
That summer, I won a volunteerism award, and it was presented to me by none other than George Gervin, whom I sat next to at the awards banquet. I asked him if he thought David Robinson would help the Spurs win. He answered yes, he thought that David Robinson would win a championship for the Spurs.
The next year with my radio hidden under my pillow, I heard David Robinson, Terry Cummings, Sean Elliot, Willie Anderson, and Rod Strickland winning game after game after game. And no, I didn't have to look up that starting lineup. I know it like I know my own son's name. His name is David. His mother forbid his middle name to be Robinson. But how could I not try? After all, David Robinson did break the dunk-meter.
I still hate her a little. But she's Mexican, so what can I do.
The summer of 1990 I was 13. I went to a Spurs basketball camp. George Gervin made an appearance. He remembered me. My left leg had been amputated as baby due to a bone disease, and I wear a prosthesis to walk. When I was younger I could actually run well enough to play basketball, even if it was a slow, ugly, halting run. But when I made the winning shot in the little 3-on-3 tournament at the end of camp, Gervin cheered loudly for me. The Coyote was there, and was having a hard time seeing well out of the costume. I made a joke about him being his own seeing eye dog. Gervin laughed at my joke really hard.
I love George Gervin.
The important phases of my life are defined by what the Spurs were doing at that time.
The six best days of my life are as follows:
July 13, 2010 - The birth of my son
December 5, 2011 - My wedding
June 25, 1999 - I had just graduated from College and I was in Destin, FL, on vacation with my girlfriend and her family. They didn't even know who the Spurs were. I begged them to let me turn the TV on to watch the finals. They were drinking wine and playing cards in our condo, and my face was 2 inches from the TV, paying them no heed. When I ripped the room apart with my screams of ecstasy, is when my girlfriend decided that it probably wasn't gonna work out between us. It didn't. We divorced in 2003.
June 15, 2003 - I had finished graduate school, and was house-sitting for a friend in Vicksburg, MS. I had been sick for nearly the whole playoffs, and it seemed that whenever I would drink a cup of herbal tea, the Spurs would win. For games that I was feeling better, and didn't drink tea, the Spurs would lose. I ritualistically brewed 12 cups of tea that night. I was on my knees from the fourth quarter on, with my hands raised to the heavens, reminding Jesus of my prayer 15 years ago, that David Robinson would make everything wonderful. At 2 AM I finally put my hands down.
June 23, 2005 - Just got my first major promotion at work. I flew down to San Antonio and took a lady I had never met to game 2 of the finals, because we were both Spurs fans. Back home, the Spurs chatroom was flying at warp 9.9. Manu was dominating the Pistons, and I was drinking Herbal tea like a Chuck Norris drop kick. Hard.
June 14, 2007 - I can't even remember what happened that year. I think that Herbal tea was a bit too.....herbal. I cut back after that year. I've regretted it for the last five.
I have flown to other continents, just to meet Spurs fans from Manu's home country of Argentina. The fact that they were attractive, exotic, female Spurs fans was purely coincidental.
I've never purchased an item of sports paraphernalia that wasn't silver and black. Or that wasn't teal, pink, and orange. Ewwww.
And I never will...
...buy teal, pink, and orange again.
Honestly, as a Texan, even though I somewhat root for the Cowboys, Texans, Rangers, and Astros, I don't really consider myself a fan. Compared to my fanatic loyalty for the Spurs, my feelings for any other team equates to barely a step above disdain.
In High School I went on a date with the daughter of Jim Leininger, minority owner of the Spurs in partnership with Peter Holt since 1992. (He founded Kinetic Concepts and owns Promised Land Dairy in Floresville.)
I spent many nights at Jim's house in Hollywood Park watching Spurs' games. I was on the high school basketball team with Jim's son. I was the 12th man, being somewhat slow and handicapped, but I still made the team. Now I realize that I was our version of the human victory cigar. We were at every Spurs event ever in those early 90s.
Dwayne Schintzius dunked on me. RIP Dwayne. Damn lukemia got him.
I've met Lloyd Daniels AND Cadillac Anderson. At IHOP.
(That right there puts me in the top 0.01% of Spurs fans. Seriously, you can't touch that.)
Now to the point of this story, besides how much fun I've had remembering and writing it, and all the name-dropping that I've done. (None of this has been even remotely exaggerated by the way. In fact, I don't have stamina to write everything that I could have)
I've had plenty of ups and downs in life, just like all of you. But I say without reservation or exaggeration, that my life has been vastly better because of the San Antonio Spurs.
No sports fans in 25 years has gone to bed happy with more frequency than Spurs fans.
No sadness or pain in my life has failed to be assuaged by yet another Spurs victory.
The quality of my life or experiences would be significantly inferior had I been from another city, or chosen to cast my allegiance to another team.
When the Spurs bus finally runs out of gas, and pulls to the side of the Promised Land road, I won't disembark. I'm only 36 years old, but I'll sit and remember the Glory Days, and patiently wait for their return. If I die there waiting, I'll still die happy.
Just like I imagine my friend's father did.
If you didn't bother to read this wall of text, and skipped down to the end, I don't care.
Go Spurs Go