(Ash’s Note: This piece has been a long time coming and it could probably have been done a month or so ago. However, I’ve been on holiday in Europe ever since the day of the draft. Therefore, my few waking/not too knackered from the last night’s partying moments have been spent sightseeing. This article itself is being written in the first class lounge of Jakarta Airport, since I somehow used my masculine charm/years of built up frequent flyer points to upgrade myself all the way home from Amsterdam).
Some time ago, I was sitting on my balcony drinking beer with my dad and talking about sports fandom. I don’t remember exactly how it got to this point – I think I was talking about being a tortured fan who only got to taste a title for the first time this year with the LA Kings – when he pulled one of his trademark insights out of his butt.
“Look, you’ve got this all wrong. Being a fan of a team isn’t unconditional. It’s not having a child. I pretty much have to love you and your sister no matter how much trouble you give us and how much pain you cause us. But being a fan isn’t like that. It’s more like being married. You love them to the very end, but sometimes you just gotta recognise that it’s run it’s course and the best thing for everyone is to get the hell out.”
Now, my dad’s marital history is questionable in itself since he’s been divorced twice only to re-marry my mum after his second ex wife took all his money. So I don’t know if I should even be thinking about any advice he gives that refers to marriage. With that in mind, though, I realised he had made a very valid point.
We weren’t talking about the Warriors specifically – in fact I think we were talking footy. But when I look at it it’s pretty clear to see that my life as a Warriors fan has pretty much been one long unhappy marriage.
Of course, there have been good times. Given that we never really went on a honeymoon (since I was a bit too little at the time, around 97-98) the 2001 draft definitely seemed like the first such event in our time together. With three of the top 30 picks (including two in the lottery) our front office somehow managed to fall upwards into three guys – Jason Richardson, Troy Murphy and Gilbert Arenas – who looked set to at least form the core of a team and our future together.
Then came the first setback – our finances simply didn’t allow for this core to remain together and we had to wave goodbye to the most promising member of them all, as Agent Zero departed for Washington and quickly became an All-Star and one of the most exciting players in the game (before signing an anvil of a contract, getting injured and losing his mind…but that’s neither here nor there). It’s like selling an old painting you bought for $50 at a garage sale when you moved into your first place together, only for the new buyer to discover it was a lost Picasso.
Since we lost the Picasso, my wife made it up by surprising me with a new car a couple years later – the Boom Dizzle Mobile. That car gave us some happy times, including our first real honeymoon/roadtrip where we had crazy hot kinky sex for three weeks straight and everything in the world felt perfect. I’m talking, of course, about the 2007 playoff run. After this, I made what one might call the ultimate “idiot madly in love” move – I got my devotion tattooed onto me. Specifically, I had “We Believe” tattooed on my back in Hindi script. I can’t take a photo right now but it looks like
हम मानते हैं
and it’s only a little bit bigger than that.
Of course, as Newton said, for every action comes an equal and opposite reaction. In the life of one married to the Warriors, a three week period of bliss means a three year period of hell is upcoming. Following We Believe, we had a breakdown on the way home (Jason Richardson being traded for the draft pick that became Brandan Wright, who I didn’t rate at all because I couldn’t figure out what NBA skill he had), returned to find our house had been robbed (the indefensible trade of a future No.1 pick for Marcus Fucking Williams), our best friends were going through a seeming divorce (Monta’s moped tomfoolery, Biedrins falling off the face of the Earth once he signed his extension), she bought furniture that I hated (Anthony Randolph, the one Warrior draft pick I actively despised for his entire GS career and cheered when he left) and, worst of all, we were forced to sell Boom Dizzle.
At this point, I probably could and should have divorced myself from a team that – that playoff run aside – had given me little but misery for most of my time as a fan. But I, like most devoted sports fans, tend towards the earlier discussed mentality of unconditional love, where we view our teams as our children rather than our equals. So I stuck it out, and was rewarded with her getting Botox (drafting Stephen Curry). Then came the best news in years – the evil mother in law had finally kicked the bucket and the team had a new, cool mum to replace her. A mum who actually seemed to like her son in law and be vaguely interested in what I, the fan on the street, meant to the team. (If you can’t figure out that I’m talking about Chris Cohan selling the team to Joe Lacob you’re an idiot). But still…something didn’t really feel right. Ever since BD left the marriage had gone on the rocks and I found my eyes wandering jealously at fans of teams who didn’t appear to view their loyalty as BDSM without the leather catsuits. It’s not surprising here that it’s about seven years since it really began that I’m beginning to get a little bored – after all, we’ve all heard of the seven year itch that inspired the title of this post.
Then children came into the equation.
Here’s the deal. I try not to get too attached to potential draft picks. The draft is such a mess that anything can really happen. But I fell into the trap with DeMarcus Cousins in 2010. I fell in love with the guy, ignored his red flags and prayed to every God that finally, for the first time in ever, my team were going to get a franchise center. His danger signs would scare off the top 5 teams but Golden State were too desperate for a center to pass him up.
Minnesota was scared away. Sacramento weren’t. And I felt like I’d missed out on my child for the second time.
You’re probably asking where my well-stated man crush on Monta fits into this. Like I said earlier – Monta was like a best friend/brother in this whole mess. As I said in my article on him a few months ago, I’d watched him grow as I grew myself. Boogie was supposed to be the culmination of all that growth.
And, to cap it off, not only did we miss out on Cousins but Greg Monroe (who I didn’t like at draft time) went one pick later and has developed into a solid center for the Pistons. By now you may as well have just told me my nads were useless. (Even though I grew to like Ekpe Udoh during his time as a Warrior and still believe he’s going to find himself as a valuable player on a championship team someday).
One would think that I would start to perk up from here. Joe Lacob made good on his promise to reform the front office, bringing in Jerry West as a consultant and promoting former agent Bob Myers to GM. This period also coincided with a rare run of excellent moves by the team, both in the draft (Klay Thompson was a dead set steal at #11 – he may be the second best player in the 2011 class after Kyrie Irving, and Harrison Barnes sliding to #7 was the kind of luck the Warriors never have) and the trade for Andrew Bogut that finally answered the center question. It almost seemed like my wife had realised that my eyes were beginning to wander and had responded by getting a gym membership, a full facelift and a boob job.
All very nice. But here’s the thing. I liked her old boobs. Wait, no, bad analogy (although I am a firm believer in that small and real > big and fake). Even though I appreciated the new look/know that the team, after so many years, are probably on the up, I knew that the feelings I once felt were now dead and gone. Her new boobs and face were great and many fans will really appreciate them.
But it’s not going to be me. And to be honest with you, even after writing this really long and rambling piece, it’s not her. It’s me.
I’m in love with another team. A hot new Russian glamour.
Why the new Brooklyn Nets? I’ll explain in Part 2 in a few days. Right now I got to get my flight to Sydney. Try not to bring it down with rotten fruit and calling me a disloyal prick plz.