Alright, I’ve got something to confess: I didn’t watch last night’s Game Three of the NBA Finals.
Now, before you judge me, hear me out. My girlfriend did a semester abroad this past semester and lives six hours away from me, so I’d only seen her two times in the last seven months.
My choices were: A) Visit my girlfriend for the third time in seven months and really piss her off by watching the game during my only night with her, B) Stay at home and watch the game with my friends and brothers, and really, really, really piss her off, or C) Visit her and not watch the game and display to her that she’s a higher priority in my life than the greatest game on earth.
Here’s a running diary of my thoughts while deciding whether I should go.
Alright, I love her, I really miss her.
Damn it, it’s the finals. The NBA finals! I can’t miss it! Not even for her!
I’m going to go, we always have a great time and I can’t wait to see her.
But it’s the finals! The NBA finals!
I can miss one finals game to see her. There will be plenty of other finals games in my lifetime.
Fine, it’s the goddamn Lakers in the finals anyways.
So, after careful deliberation, I chose choice C) Visit her and not watch the game and display to her that she’s a higher priority in my life than the greatest game on earth. We had a terrific time.
But then, after we’d finished watching Gran Torino and we were getting ready for bed, I flipped on SportsCenter just in time to see Dwight Howard clank two free throws and Derek Fisher hit a miracle three at the other end.
And it hit me just why we watch sports.
We watch sports because there is always the chance that something amazing is going to happen. We get excited for big games because, every once in a while, a big game lives up to its hype and excites us and we can rehash the moments forever.
We watch sports because there’s always the chance that a star will carry his team to victory, snatching triumph from the jaws of defeat and exhilarating us in the process.
We watch sports for the times when a role player steps up and into the spotlight, hitting a clutch shot or sometimes even having an entire game of dominance.
We watch sports because of the rare moments when watching a game allows us to see history as it occurs. Where else can you observe history as it unfolds?
I watch hundreds and hundreds of basketball games a year, and, frankly, a lot of times I’m disappointed by a blowout or a poorly played game. But every once in a while, the stars align perfectly and teams execute exquisitely, and they play to a standstill but one amazing make or one heartbreaking miss decides the game. Those moments are the reasons I watch so much basketball.
I only hope my girlfriend realizes the sacrifice I made to go visit her.
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