In the back of my closet sits a teeny tiny paper bag and inside that is a Shawn Kemp jersey, size infant. He used to be my favourite player on my favourite NBA team. During their glory years around the mid nineties when only Mr. "Look at me I'm Magic!" Michael Jordan kept them from getting a championship, I was obsessed with basketball. I bought that Sports Illustrated preseason guide and read it like a bible. Every day. I have absolutely no idea why basketball suddenly jumped down my throat, but man, it tasted good.
After travelling down the I-5 to see a few Sonics games in Seattle, Vancouver got an NBA franchise. Holy mahjina, I was excited. Then my Dad got me a media pass through his job at the paper and I had the chance weekly to skytrain downtown, and sit and watch the dudes that were in my SI, live, and sweating and tall as all out. It's weird to watch a sporting event live. I was so used to the announcer’s background noise, telling me what was happening every play, that being courtside and just hearing the sneaker squeals and the guys yelling at each other punctuated by an occasional whistle, was really really quiet. Then I decided since I have a media pass, I will go into the locker room. A quick description of what that was like-Brooke starts to walk in, door swings open, Brooke sees towel around otherwise naked guys waist and that waist is at her nose level and Brooke bolts. There was too much flesh swinging wildly away in there. Fuck. This very white girl would have passed out and then died from embarrassment and then died some more.
So I gobbled up the live games, watched Jordan come into GM Place and systematically destroy the Grizzlies, and sat on my hands and knees at home after night school watching recorded Sonics games, holding my fists in my mouth to keep from screaming when they won. Staying up late to watch Sports Page, and George Michael's Sports Machine. (Not the singer; some old white guy with a clipboard and a voice that was more of a yell) Those were the years when I was just out of high school; still super uncertain about life and failing friendships and failing a battle with anorexia. Cloudy years where basketball was the great roller coaster ride I could take for a few months and forget whatever game my brain wanted to play. I credit Detlef Schrempf, Big Smooth, Gary Payton and Kemp for keeping me sane and feeling something that was good.
I eventually drifted away from the NBA and tried one day to look at a roster and was soured when the players I knew were on different teams and I didn't recognize anything and Kemp went through some stuff and had eight kids with different chicks and that sucked. I didn't recognize anymore my once great love.
Nuv, the biggest love, came in and introduced me to the NFL. The first year of dating I was the girl who made food for the Superbowl. I eventually realized watching it would help him not forget who I was for six months of the year. And it's super exciting and I love it. I have screamed at the end of a game when something crazy happens. The boys, to their credit, don't punch me out and make me sit in the bathroom when this happens. They have been extremely patient with my absurd questions and interruptions and I even got to choose a team. Oh, and that team, the Steelers, won the Super Bowl last year. Your team winning? So foreign and so godamn sweet.