Life is an ever changing story, full of twists and turns. There have not been many constants in my life, and there are few things that I loved in my childhood that remain important to me now. Even my wife, who I will love for the rest of my life has only been in my life for four years. You can't look at my life and see very many themes. Even my personality has gone under drastic shifts as a result of maturity, experiences and faith. If I look back at my life, it's a small group of things that I've always loved...my parents, dogs, a couple lifelong friends and the San Antonio Spurs.
The past few years have been great, in fact they've been the best years of my life. I went to college at the University of Texas, met a lot of great friends, got involved in a great ministry, met my wife, traveled all over the place. What's there to complain about? But, there are times I find myself upset and furious in the months of March, April and May over something I can't control or change.
Nights get ruined, I scare pets and throw remotes at walls like I'm Randy Johnson. After these fits of fury are quenched, I always ask myself, "Why do I still get mad about the Spurs losing in the same way that I did when I was 13?" I've never understood why these men who I did not even know, who play a sport I myself suck at, could so greatly ruin my mood. The answer to this question that tormented me came recently in the form of Bob Costas. In Baseball by Ken Burns, Costas says that the reason these teams, these games, have so much effect over a grown man's emotions is because they are usually the only thing a grown man will love from the time he's a little boy to the time he is an old man.
I found my answer, the reason I still act like a 13 year old boy when the Spurs lose in the playoffs (or even at times in the regular season), is because they are one of the handful of things I have been unconditionally devoted to for my entire life. At 23 I still love the boys in Silver in Black, I still am ignited by a win and driven to sadness by a loss. I still get on the edge of my seat when Tim Duncan maneuvers in the low block and I still pump my fists at a three-pointer, whether Robert Horry or Danny Green is the one making them. The Spurs are one of my fondest memories with my dad, (going to games two hours early together so I could get an autograph) and he's still the first person I text in a victory or a loss.
I've been forced to grow up a lot this past year, graduating college, starting to work, becoming a husband, and just this week I moved to a new town where I literally know nobody. But my first week in this new town has been met with an excitement and familiarity from my childhood. Not all that I grew up with is lost, even though the places and faces around me are different. Because my Spurs (yeah MY Spurs) are in the NBA Finals. I watched Avery Johnson bury a dagger in the hearth of the Knicks when I was nine years old and proceeded to dance with joy in my parents living room. And when this series against the Miami Heat concludes I will either dance with joy or feel like I've been stabbed in the heart. Because at 9, 13, 23, 33 and 73 I love this team, and they are one of the biggest familiarities in a life where everything changes.
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I have daydreamed of a certain moment since the inception of the Heat, since the moment they came out from under the stage at their "Welcome Party" like they were Michael Jackson at the Superbowl. I've dreamed of a game 7 scenario involving my Spurs and those Heat. LeBron James has just made a jumper, giving the Heat a one point lead to put them in the driver's seat to the LOB. But, the Spurs have one more chance. There's 10 seconds left, Manu gets the ball, he's guarded by Wade, he goes left after staring Wade down for a few seconds, he's going to drive inside, but with a perfect left handed pass he zings the ball to a Spur wearing Number 21 standing in the right corner between the paint and the three point line. The big man catches and shoots (in the face of Chris Bosh), the light on the backboard goes red while the ball's in the air, and an arena of Biebers, spray tanned fans, the white-shirted masses with spiked hair look on in horror.
The ball splashes at the bottom of the net and Tim Duncan has just cemented himself as one of the top three greatest players in NBA history, providing the greatest buzzer beater ever. Kawhi Leonard lets loose for once, unable to contain himself. A tear falls from Pop's eye as the Heat experiment is denied and LeBron will be back in a Cavs jersey in 2014. A fifth Banner emblazoned with the insignia San Antonio Spurs NBA CHAMPIONS 2013 begins to be sewn by Malaysian textile workers.
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- If there is any team in the Universe I don't mind not having HCA against, it's the Heat. Sure their white out t-shirts at every game can be intimidating, yes they swept the Thunder at home last year in the finals, and yes they have won two game sevens at home in the past two playoffs. But, they've notoriously been a bad NBA fan base. I just don't know if that Arena strikes fear into the Spurs after playing in Oracle Arena and the Grindhouse.
- In the Warriors series, I had one big takeaway from game five. Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard play like hungry dogs and I love the way they go after the other teams' best players. They have to do that for us to win this championship. Luckily, Kawhi Leonard has never once looked scared on a big stage and Danny Green still seems motivated to prove himself after last year's WCF failure.
- How ordained was this match up after what happened earlier in the year? Spursgate and the game in San Antonio pointed to this. It seems to have been written in the stars.
- If the Spurs win the Finals, I will finally be able to say what I have been wanting to say for six years...the Drive for Five will be over...and the Chase for Seis will begin!
- This will be the first time I have ever seen the Spurs in the finals and my home address has not been Austin, Texas...If I was as superstitious as I was when I was a kid, I never would have moved. My dad and I used to spin clockwise three times before every quarter because I was convinced it was good juju. I didn't spin before overtime of game 7 in 2006, and I will never forgive myself for it. I'm sorry San Antonio.
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I'm feeling all kinds of things right now. I feel like a kid again, I feel excited, wavering constantly between extreme optimism and complete pessimism. I read something about the Spurs ability to spread the floor and exploit the Heat's weaknesses in the paint and on the perimeter and I think the Spurs win this series in five games. Then I read about the Heat's PnR Defense and remember they have LeBron James and I think the Spurs lose this series in three games.
It's hard being so sure that this is goodbye to the team I have loved for so long, not goodbye to the logo and uniform, but the personnel. I just don't see a way Timmy and Manu get back here. So I want to remember them holding a fifth trophy, balding and bruised, but not broken.
All I want is a championship, and I echo Stampler's feelings in his column in that I will never want another thing in the world of Sports if we get this one. (But for the possible exception of wanting the stupid Houston Texans to give me ONE SuperBowl.) I've never wanted something in sports this bad. I want to watch beauty unfold and the Spurs prove to the world how good they are. It's a finals series where everyone will finally be watching and I want them to notice the beautiful team I've watched since I was nine.
The world wants to be a "Witness" to the NBA heir of Michael Jordan, but I want them to become a Witness to the greatest LONGSTANDING dynasty ever. I've been a Witness to this team for 14 years, and it has put joy in my heart, and caused me to put holes in walls. I will continue to have a heart like a young kid when watching them, but man I want to lose control of myself in victory once again.