I felt like the few people that read my last post gave me the courage to write a new blog post. I decided immediately after my last post that if I got a good response, I would make another one after the NBA Finals since my favorite team and my favorite nemesis were set to square off! Celtics vs Lakers! So here it goes...
It is funny living in Utah how many people hate the Lakers and how many Lakers fans there are. Lakers haters are typically die hard Jazz fans who want any other team to avenge the Jazz most recent loss. So it seems like everyone that found out I was going for the Celtics had to know if I was legit or just wanted blood for the last Jazz Lakers game.
The truth is, in high school it was hard for me to say I had a favorite basketball team. I like a lot of players. Paul Pierce was one of them. One day I bought a shirt because it looked cool... it had this logo, actually:
For two weeks my life was a wreck! I couldn't wait for game one and I was so excited and nervous. Our friends Dougie and Melissa (huge Lakers fans) agreed with us that we would watch the games in LA at their house and the Boston games at our house. We promised each other that we would not let it get between us because rivalries tear families apart! North vs South, Pro Choice vs Pro Life, Leno vs Conan, Team Jacob vs Team Edward. The list goes on and on.
It was a fun series to watch each team go back and forth because both teams played exceptionally well from game to game by adjusting to the other team's strategy. My favorite player, Rajon Rondo, was amazing in a couple of games.
Boston was winning 3 games to 2 with game 6 and 7 both being played in LA. Boston just had to win one more game in LA to win the finals. So far Dougie and I had kept our word of watching the game at eachother's house. But before game six came around, I thought I should back out and not watch it at his house. I was too nervous. I told Anna that I was as nervous as I was at our own wedding. I married a woman who loves sports, too, so she wasn't surprised.
So I didn't want to go to Dougie's house because I knew no matter how the game ended, I didn't want to put any friendships at risk. If the Celtics had won, I would've been so happy that I probably would have said something insensitive to Dougie and the other Lakers fans. That's how I roll (UTES SUCK. See? I can't help it).
Had the Lakers won, I probably would have punched something and either looked like a fool in front of a lot of people after breaking my hand or I would have punched something softer like Dougie's dog. Either would have embarrassed my wife quite a bit. So I decided to watch at my own house alone. Celtics lost and I was able to punch my couch to my heart's content.
For game 7 I followed the same logic. I watched a great game 7 with some people going for Boston (Gustavo and Marjie). It was a great game and as disappointed as I was that Boston couldn't close out the game with the lead they had carried for most of the game, everything quickly fell into perspective and I was happy about the incredible run they made. There's always next year (That still sounds like kissing your sister to some extent in my head).
But what upset me the most about the whole Series and a few other things I have noticed in sports recently is the purpose of this blog post. There are a lot of passionate fans out there. And there is nothing wrong with that. It upsets me when people take it too far and are ready to say things that will offend their friends or family just because of the outcome of a silly game. I know I am guilty of this, but why do we have to do it? Why can't we be civil with each other after sporting events. Do we really get together as fans to compete against each other? What did I gain over Utes fans the last time BYU beat Utah in overtime? What did Alabama fans gain that I lost after the BCS Championship Game when they beat Texas? What did I lose this week when Boston lost the championship after the Lakers made a comeback to win? If I look at the big picture of life: nothing. I'm still alive and kicking it (and punching dogs).
Can't we, as fans, get together when our teams are competing and enjoy the exciting moments we spend together. We love the sports we watch and we love our favorite athletes. But don't we love our friends and family more? Why can't we be more tolerant of one another? Can we lose with pride and win with humility? Like I said, I am guilty of all of this. Only because Dougie and Melissa are moving away this week did I realize this - I can't believe I wouldn't want to enjoy watching the game with our friends that are moving away for good simply because I knew I would be a poor sport about it.
And look at the World Cup. It is a lot of fun to watch. I have never played soccer but I have grown to really appreciate it. But nothing bothers me more than when sports fans, or worse yet, ATHLETES complain that soccer is not a real sport!!! How could you be so ignorant? The moment a baseball fan tells a soccer fan that "Baseball plays until there is a winner! Soccer isn't a real sport," he opens the door for the soccer fan to say, "Soccer players don't stand around for 3 hours and claim they are athletes competing in a sport."
FOR THE LOVE! Can't you let others enjoy whatever sport they choose to enjoy?! Who decides what sport is more important, relevant or legitimate? The fans and athletes! If cup stacking is my sport of choice, let me enjoy it. I will watch it for hours or train to win my championship if I want. Don't try to take away from the joy I get from it!
But isn't that the solution to so many other problems? Can't we simply be more tolerant of everyone? Everyone chooses to believe what they want. There are so many conflicting ideas out there and most of them are legitimate: from religion to politics and even sports! I know we all like to believe we are correct, but who has given us the right to tell someone they are wrong or that they are stupid for choosing to live the way they do? It doesn't mean we have to agree with the decisions people make. I don't think it's right to cheer for a adulterer like Kobe , but doesn't that make me wrong for not forgiving a man for his mistakes? (That's not why I don't like him, BTW. I hate him because he poses for ridiculous pictures):
So the next time someone tells you that he doesn't agree with your opinion on the Arizona Immigration Law, your religion, or whether or not you can call a sport legitimate that can end in a draw, rather than trying to prove he is wrong and you are right, ask him for his take and share yours with him. If you still can't see eye to eye, at least you still feel comfortable inviting him to your house for dinner without fear that he will punch your dog.