Like all of you, I celebrated my heart out on Sunday night. Because watching your favorite franchise or program achieve the pinnacle of their sport merits celebration.
Then, like many of you, I gleefully set about making the rounds on social media and sports sites around the web. Because reading about your favorite team's achievement and watching cogent video clips is the best way to relive those watershed moments over again in the age of the internet.
Then, like a few of you, I sat down to express my feelings about the events that transpired. Because, for some, writing about this team is a cathartic labor of love.
I then ran into the biggest case of writer's block I have ever experienced. My heart was too full to allow my mind to put together two consecutive coherent sentences, much less a piece worthy of display in this dapper corner of the web known as PtR. My efforts to collect my thoughts enough to capture the feelings of the moment were as in vain as if I were attempting to hold the waters of a rushing river against my bosom. There were just too many currents at which to grasp: trepidation, elation, introspection, reflection. Far too much to even allow me the simple endeavor of in-the-moment gushing, a la my blubberfest after the OKC series. So instead of trying to wrestle the cacophony of emotions in my mind into a ramshackle (and inevitably poor) melody, I just sat back and watched SportsCenter in my living room and let my mind ponder the meaning of what had just transpired in my old adopted hometown of San Antonio.
What does the Spurs' fifth championship mean? What does anything in sports mean? When I was younger, my mom used to be fond of telling my young, sports-infatuated self to place value on things in life that mattered more than the "fiction" that was the world of games and athletics. My Mom, an extremely proud 1983 graduate of academic (and, yes, athletic) powerhouse University of Michigan, isn't one to rain on every River parade she can find. Even today, she's been known to let out a shout of glee over her Wolverines. So of course her intention wasn't to imply that sports success means nothing (rather more like doing her best to keep her eldest son as grounded as my personality would permit). Even though, "it's [just] basketball," to paraphrase Gregg Popovich after losing game three of the Western Conference Finals this year, if what transpires on that court meant, nothing, there would be no televisions tuned in for the postseason, nor grand cathedrals "built solely for the amplification of athletic acheivement," as actor Terrence Howard so eloquently put it in his chill-inducing soliloquy to introduce the 2008 NBA playoffs. No, "nothing" is definitely not an accurate descriptor for the meaning of San Antonio's triumph. Perish the thought.
Does it mean everything? To anyone? Understand, I'm not referring to the hyperbolic "everything" that we all are wont to use in our casual speech. To many of us, it DOES mean "everything," because by "everything," we actually mean that it just matters a great deal. Without getting into the intricacies of the word "just," I would posit that SA winning a fifth Larry O'Brien Trophy does not mean everything. My personal quality of life as a person remained the same when the sun rose on a beautiful Monday morning after the final game of the season (even though my personal outlook as a fan was much brighter, of course). Quite a far cry from, say, the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome, in which the outcome of the contest (when it could be deemed an actual fair "contest" by anyone with a shred of conscience or humanity, that is) very much meant everything to the combatants. As much as it pained me to see the Spurs lose game 6 last year in the fashion they did, I can quite confidently say that my heart continued beating after Ray Allen's corner three found the bottom of the net. Well, after awhile, that is. No matter how euphoric the highs of winning (or how agonizing the recollection of the lows of losing), this Spurs title never will mean "everything" to anyone in the literal sense of the word.
Ah, but it means something, doesn't it?
It means something indescribably special to the players and staff of our favorite team, and of course their families. The culmination of years of hard work, patience in the face of adversity, dedication to perfection of a craft, and sacrifice on a (relative) monetary and relational level for many of them. It means something refreshingly old fashioned in the age of modern, star-dominated sports coverage. It means something historic for the triumph of multicultural basketball. It means a new generation of young fans have a quiet, #2-wearing young man to hearken back to as the one who won Finals MVP when they first started following their favorite team. It means a generation of fans who were children when the Twin Towers first raised their trophies side by side in Madison Square Garden 15 years ago got another thrilling chance to watch some of their childhood heroes climb that mountain one more time. It means a horde of young-at-heart fans got a chance to see their city's lone major professional franchise cement their legacy as one of the all-time dynasties in sport. It means those who've watched this site grow over the years get a chance to celebrate across the world with a passionate group of like-minded fans no matter where in the world they reside--some for the very first time. Count me in that group: my first year as a member of this site was 2008. Getting a chance to cherish this team's ultimate success with y'all is something I'd always hoped to enjoy someday.
I could go on and on, of course, but the point is that "something" can encompass "everything" that the 2014 NBA Championship means to anyone who follows sport in the slightest. That something is different to every person, but it is no less special. So as the Riverboats lazily make their way down our beloved "dirty little creek" that you know Charles Barkley secretly loves to visit, festooned in silver and black for a fifth time and bearing the Alamo City's favorite sons down the primrose path of pure adulation that will line the banks, take a moment to appreciate what all of this means to you. Or live in the moment and let the atmoshpere wash over you like the San Antonio River itself (taking care not to open your eyes or mouth!). Let the tears of joy flow and the chants of pride Go (Spurs Go).
Because one thing I am certain of as San Antonio throws yet another classic June Fiesta: these Spurs are something else.