One thing I’ve learned from reading sports blogs over the past few years is this- when a writer isn’t able to write for a while, nobody wants to know why, they just want you to start again. So hopefully I’m back this week. Here’s another commenter interview, this one from Carolyn, who loves her some Austin Carr calls of LeBron dunks.
1. Favorite sport to watch in person
Basketball, followed by basketball and more basketball. Can’t get enough of these trash-talking, high-flying men who spin sideways and fall away and still make a basket. I stand on the couch at home screaming for the dogs to join me; it’s way more fun at the Q when actual people participate. Plus, there’s always the chance of distracting a security guard long enough to touch LeBron.
2. Favorite sport to watch on tv.
Basketball, followed by tennis. Tennis because Roger Federer’s “great liquid whip” leaves me breathless every single time, mono or no mono. Basketball for many reasons, starting with the announcers. Jeff Van Gundy, Charles Barkley and crew, Austin/Fred, Hubie and Bill Walton – I love them all. I’ve heard people argue about the relative merits of each one but something I learned way back when I was pursuing a degree in music holds true in sports as well; sometimes you get more out of a bad performance than a good one. Whether it’s satirical blog-fodder or random fascinating facts to casually toss about, I have never regretted a moment of listening.
3. Sports or hobbies you play
In the past, I enjoyed playing softball, soccer, tag football, basketball, volleyball, badminton and pretty much anything where I could run around like crazy. Having calmed down as an adult with 3 dogs, 3 cats, a full-time job, an editing business, two blogs and medical issues, my memories are now my sports.
4. Married? Kids?
Married for 19 years; 2 daughters.
5. Favorite Cleveland sports memory
Watching Pop escorted out of the Q (Cavs v Spurs, Jan 2007).
6. Most heartbreaking loss
Not being allowed to touch LeBron at the Q.
7. Which team do you most want a title for (Browns, Tribe, Cavs)
8. Your dream piece of Cleveland sports memorabilia
A retro Foots Walker jersey.
9. Favorite place to watch a game
In my basement, on the futon, surrounded by cold Cokes, legal pads, ball point pens and warm blankets.
For me, it’s not “Cleveland teams;” it’s all about the Cavs. The reason appeared as my first And One blog post; here’s a condensed version:
Until the moment I fell and broke my patella (kneecap) in March of 2003, basketball was a sport other people played; the reason my husband ran out early on one of our first dates when it was impossible to pry my daughter from my leg and the babysitter’s mom was gone for the evening so she couldn’t leave our house either; the reason I cheered my lungs out when my daughter dribbled her little ambidextrous way down the sometimes parquet court; a game with no discernible pattern to the rules and where intentionally doing something wrong was part of the game plan and resulted in millions of people watching a single person try to put the ball in the basket from the free throw line, a feat my brother successfully performed endlessly in our backyard but apparently when you add a nationwide audience, TV cameras and a recent collision with another enormous man, becomes a near impossible task.
Nine surgeries later, after it was discovered that not only my patella but my condyle had broken and the cushioning disc in my left jaw socket ruptured and slid out of place and an amazing facial surgeon from Hudson saved my life, my dignity and restored my bagel-and-goat-cheese-per-day habit, I found myself recovering slowly slowly slowly and in great pain. Having a major pity party on an air mattress in the basement, my husband decided he had the cure. “Watch the playoffs,” he said, “and you’ll feel better.” “Playoffs?” I asked. “What sport are we talking about now?”
“Basketball,” I was informed. NBA. Spring 2005. Pistons. Spurs. Oh my. These people fly through the air. They twirl like dervishes. They dribble and sweat and the ball never touches their palms. They turn themselves inside out while flinging the ball at crazy angles and somehow making the shot. They curse. They foul. They care. And they have the best commercials I’ve ever seen.
Such a love affair. Such a summer of longing. And then, just when I thought I couldn’t wait one more minute and just when I thought the game couldn’t get any better, October arrives and King James fills the screen. The L-Train, the basketball prodigy, the man whose red and white sneakers look like the wicked witch of the west’s socks.
“That’s the kid from Akron,” my husband says. Akron. Land of Temo’s. I should have known the city with the best hand-made chocolate in the country would give birth to the world’s greatest basketball player. In fact, Temo’s offers tiny foil-wrapped chocolate basketballs. Coincidence?
“That’s no kid,” I say. James and Z. Curly-haired Andy. Sasha and Eric Snow. Mike Brown and his amazing changing eyeglasses. I ordered the NBA channel with DVR, and happily discovered TNT Thursday with Ernie, Charles and Kenny.
But nothing prepared me for the most rewarding moment of all. “Now that’s a kid,” I said, as LB shouted his famous lines and T-shirt silk screen machines across the US began humming, “Shoot, Boobie, Shoot.”
Dr. Neary may have saved my life but the NBA made it worth living again.