(this is a repost from over at Shit, I Love A lot)
Game Seven — supposedly the two favorite words for sports fans.
As a supposedly unbiased, neutral, intelligent basketball fan, I’m supposed to be ecstatic that these NBA Finals will be going the distance. One game, winner takes all, for the basketball heavyweight championship of the world — what could be better than that, right?
But no, instead I spent most of today with a knot in my stomach — I was so distraught when the game ended I canceled lunch plans and afternoon activities; I just sat at home rewatching the game and reading analysis — because I know the odds of the Spurs recovering from such a devastating, back and heartbreaking loss to win game seven on the road are slim.
History is against these Spurs. Home teams have won some 90+ percent of all game sevens in the NBA Finals. More important, my cynical/critical basketball judgement and unconfident nature always fear for the worst: and the worst news, for these Spurs, is that the world’s greatest player plays for the other team.
I’ve rewatched the final 15 minutes or so of the game thrice today. Each time hurts just as much. The Spurs had this. Up five, 22 seconds to go. LeBron looked like he was choking and then, just like that, bam, Ray Allen did his Jesus Shuttlesworth and tied the game.
I’ve been rooting for Allen the past half decade — I must have typed Jesus Shuttlesworth, in all caps followed by multiple exclamation points — a couple dozen times. But today, I was finally on the otherside of a Jesus Shuttlesworth dagger. A dagger to the heart.
I don’t know how we’re going to be re-energized [for game seven], I’m devastated, said Manu.
He adds: I feel very insecure. I probably had a career high in turnovers in a very bad moment. It makes me feel terrible.
To see Manu, one of the game’s most clutch and big-time playes, struggle this mightily makes me sad. Mostly because the Spurs have probably blown their title chance — wasted Tim Duncan’s last great game — but also because Manu’s struggles reminds me of the preciousness of time.
As I hit 31, I’m feeling aches and pains I’ve never felt before. I no longer play basketball with reckless abandon. That’s just the physical toll, the mental toll is bigger: I’m more and more stressed about my future, not only in the career sense — still so much I want to do, need to do — but in the life sense. Every time I see my parents now, they seem to look older, more fragile.
Getting older is fun when you’re a child, a teen, and in your 20s, and then, the passage of time starts becoming scary.
Manu would give anything to have five years of his life back — hell, two years — just so he can play basketball the way he’s always played: big-time.