I used to play volleyball. Then, I realized that the amount of hand-eye coordination I have is in the negatives. This made running seem pretty ideal.
Winter is here now and that means two things:
- Running in the snow
I don't understand the joy in either of these things. Although I'll probably never really understand the joy runners find while running through northwestern blizzards, hopefully this winter I can at least accomplish my goal of understanding and learning to love basketball.
I've lived extremely close to Portland my whole life but I've yet to get acquainted with the exciting culture of the Trail Blazers.
I have seen the Brandon Roy jerseys fill my high school with students who understand the sport.
And those who don't.
I’ve gone to games. I have worn red and black together...which is really something I wouldn't do for any other occasion. I have won the free Chalupas. I have endured the red plastic clickers throughout half time. I haven’t learned the core of the culture though. I've never really understood the sport.
Recently, I even made a joke concerning the game. Actually let me rephrase that: Recently, I even tried to make a joke about basketball but ended up making a complete fool of myself. Allow me to relay to you the awesome conclusion of the joke:
"Get it? It's funny 'cause the Heat hasn't won the championships?"
I was excited for how impressive I thought I was going to seem. In response, my crush said, "Didn't they just win this last year?" I thought quickly where my passport was stored so I could flee the country. If you want, you can look up the word awkward for further explanation of the event. More awkward than a declined credit card, and when you accidentally shake somebody's hand with the wrong hand.
Any pride that I had previously was demolished. There was no recovering.
Before this, I knew I wanted to understand basketball but this event really was the reality check to how bad my knowledge actually is. So, after years of red and black and rose quarter hot dogs, this terrible experience, explaining to those who ask that my Aldridge jersey was purchased for me so I can't actually have a conversation about number 12, and realizing how little I even knew about the game, I've come to a conclusion to a realization and beginning of what could be a difficult journey:
I am going to do what it takes to understand the sport and hype behind those who love it. Portland Trail Blazer fans are obviously special.
Well, I suppose any aspect of Portland is pretty unique.
Still, there is something about the fans of the Portland Trail Blazers that makes me want to be one.
I'll start my journey gaining knowledge on the game. Then, maybe I'll even transition into playing at open gym with my friends. I'll continue to read about the Blazers, I won't wear red and black and the foam fingers until I truly deserve to. I'll continue to go to games and be more careful not to cheer just when I hear the crowd start. I want to understand the hype behind this game; I need to broaden my horizon of interests past running.
I know this will be a long journey. I know there is a lot to cover before I can safely call myself a true basketball fan and even more to learn before I can be a true Portland fan. I will watch the games. I'll try to learn the commentary and study what the teams are doing. Which soon, I will realize is more than just running back and forth on the court. Maybe I'll even learn the connection between the team and the mascot. It's a cat, right?
I am going to learn some basic lingo. Let me get this straight...
They're not "bouncing" the ball; they're "dribbling" it? And when a player gets "fouled," the shots he takes from the "foul line" are called "free throws”?
That's a good start, right?
I want one of those "go-to-phrases" too. I was thinking "Three in the key!" is a good one.
Someone tried to explain to me that I should yell this phrase when a player in the game has the ball and is lingering for more than three seconds in the "key" shaped box...
On the other hand, maybe I'll just shout it when players are surrounded around the basket.
Maybe I'll even bring back the term "Slamma-Jamma!" for after a big dunk or block.
Can this inexperienced, uneducated runner become a fan? What does it take past random cheers and cats on trampolines?
I’m pretty naïve and not educated on really anything about basketball. But I’m intrigued, determined and really want to learn the love of the sport.
So for the winter of 2012, I have two things to say.
- I am not looking forward to running in the snow.
- RIP City… whatever that means, here I come.