A swish to build a dream on
I recently bought a water pick. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a device that shoots water between your gums similar to what a dentist uses. It was $50. If you would’ve told me two years ago, five years ago, even eight months ago, that I’d spend whatever extra money I have on glorified floss that doesn’t negate flossing, I would’ve laughed at you.
It may be a sign of maturity that I used my excess money for something other than a bag of bud, a 12-pack of Bud or another frivolous purchase. However, if you watched me during my beloved Portland Trail Blazers playoff run, you’d think I was still 12.
I convulsed on the ground and kicked my shoes off after Damian Lillard hit a ridiculous, mind- and Twitter-exploding 40 footer to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder — and the buzzer — in the first round. I woke up my roommate and probably a few neighbors to join me as I relished in the reaction and subsequent goodbye wave.
In the second round, I paced like an anxious, soon-to-be father during the four-overtime game against the Denver Nuggets. When Rodney Hood pump-faked and splashed in the game-winning 3, I leapt and smacked the ceiling. During Game 7 of the same round, I forced my co-worker to host me while I screamed in vindication as the Blazers and C.J. McCollum toppled the home team to move onto the Western Conference Finals. By the way, we were supposed to be at work (sorry, Dave, I can’t lay out pages when my entire body is shaking due to adrenaline).
The third round, well, let’s not talk about the third round unless you want a 3,000-word diatribe about the sanctity of competition.
The best thing about sports fandom is how it transports you to a place of utter helplessness and hopefulness. The only thing that matters during the beginning and buzzer is the scoreboard. You can’t replicate the heartbreak of defeat or the euphoria of victory in any other facet of life because, for me at least, the other parts of existence that elicit those feelings come from real-life occurrences that actually matter.
The effects of marriage, divorce, death and birth may last as long as the memory of a sporting event, but they stain your soul in a different way.
But sports? Sports are great because they’re a release. They don’t change your life from a big-picture standpoint but you do get to act like a kid again. I can still remember where I was when Brandon Roy beat the Rockets on a random regular season game (basement of my house on Walnut Street) or when I heard the news about Greg Oden’s first microfracture surgery (horticulture class at UNO, it was a sunny day) or when Lillard hit his first series-ending buzzer beater (random hotel outside of Denver while my parents slept) or when Roy announced his retirement from the Blazers (Club Commons, in bed, in agony).
Where else can you find that sort of meaningful — but at the same time — meaningless outlet?
If you know, please tell me, because I can’t think of one.
Sports are fantastic. Go Blazers! Rip City ‘til I die.
Sean Beckwith apologizes to Nuggets fans for reopening that wound — except Dale. You know what you did, and you deserve this. Email at email@example.com.
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