Some people hate Valentine’s Day and I get that. It can make people super über aware that they don’t have anybody and then everything’s all sad and mopey and Eeyore. It reminds them that they’re alone and makes them take a look at why that’s the case. Often times that means reliving or rehashing some heartbreak in the process. I realize that if you fall under the aforementioned categories then those sentences are a bummer. Sorry about that.
But let’s go all in here. Let’s talk about heartbreak. But, you know, the sports kind.
Caveat: I may use “we” when talking about the Oklahoma City Thunder. That is because I am imperfect and I suck and I am not a real journalist at all. Please forgive me, fans of other teams. Actually, do what you want. You don’t have to forgive me, because I am no one. I am a voice on the Internet. I matter not.
Onto the shattering.
This is how a sports heart breaks.
Mike Miller has no conscience and I have no more cheese bread because I’ve growled it all down. I’m on a couch coated in dog hair in the living room of the first house I lived in when I moved to Chicago. Probably more on that later.
It’s Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals and the Thunder, already down three games to one, are really laying every egg tonight. Consequently, the Heat are playing basketball like they all just picked up a star in Mario Bros and are running super fast through anything that gets in their way that wears blue, orange, and white.
I hate it. I hate all of them. This is the worst loss I’ll have ever taken in the history of my sports fandom. I feel like throwing up into a bucket and soaking my face in the vomit. I feel like the Fratelli Mother from The Goonies looks. So, you know, really bad and stuff.
I love the Thunder. I love them a whole bunch. The natural progression of the squad’s development from bottom feeder to executioner was a complete joy to watch as a fan. They got older and they matured and they became a force and the state was pumped.
So, they make it to the Finals and everyone in Oklahoma is buying shirts and hats and it’s all roses without any thorns. Game 1 the Thunder get a W and oh my goodness let me go look at how unprecedented it is that we’re winning this with a core this young and we can’t be stopped and there’s no way they’re gonna break up this team and we could OH NO LEBRON GOES FULLY OPERATIONAL DEATH STAR AND THERE’S NOT ENOUGH HANS OR LUKES IN ALL THE GALAXY TO STOP THIS SO IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO SHOT FIRST.
You probably know how it went. The Thunder plays them close in Game 2 but still catch an L. Shane Battier turns back the clock to his Krzyzewskiville days and hits more threes than the Big Lebowski had hairs on his head. Game 3 another close loss. Game 4 same story.
And now Game 5. The Thunder are chasing a runaway train. Only this train could fly and was about as powerful as Bill Murray is in everyday life, so basically the most powerful thing ever.
I’m wallowing in it, too. I have a condition. I won’t look away. I’ll watch through the final buzzer no matter what. In the 2005 Orange Bowl when USC treated OU like Django treated Samuel L, I watched the whole game. All of it. I sat in the floor of my Oklahoma house and shoved several gallons of Dr. Pepper into my face for three plus hours just shaking my head the whole time. I had to watch it.
Same story here in this game. As I touched on briefly before, I had developed a superstition throughout the playoffs where I required an order of Dominoes Stuffed Cheesy Bread to accompany me as I watched each game. I packed myself full and laid on the couch and thought about how it couldn’t get any worse. Then it got worse. Just, so worse.
Rinse and repeat that for about two hours. Kendrick Perkins is five steps late everywhere he goes and Chris Bosh is too active and Joel Anthony is actually making important plays that matter so I’m assuming hell had frost on its doorstep for a brief period of time and Harden can’t buy a bucket and nobody can stop LeBron and Mario Chalmers is playing like an All-Star every so often and oh dear God the avalanche won’t stop and there’s already so much blood. Band-aids. We need band-aids.
We get shellacked. But it’s worse than that OU game I mentioned earlier. USC beat us in front of all of America. The Heat beat us in front of all of the world.
I gotta watch the greatest Prima Donna of our time, Dwayne “Think I’ll Fall Down Now and Get Back On Defense Some Time In the Next Couple Hours” Wade dance around on the bench while LeBron looks happier than that Mr. Woodchuck character from Full House would if Woodchuck was told he had just won a lifetime supply of wood. If you didn’t watch Full House, first of all you suck. Secondly, I got you. Sorry about saying you suck. You don’t suck. I suck. I’ll try to use a better metaphor. LeBron looks happier than he would if he was told he could take all the neck hair he has and put it on top of his head. Forgive me.
Still, you watch these guys you’ve been trained dislike celebrate a victory that you wanted for you and your squad. It’s just some grossness. You sit there till there’s three zeros on the clock and you watch Stuart Scott interview LeBron and Pat Riley and you see Zo’s head above everyone else’s, championship hat on, nodding along to a beat that can only ever exist in the head of someone who just won something. It’s just a kick to the nuts, to be frank.
But I watched it all. I watched Durant and Russ and Harden stand there as the clock ticked down and the benches were unloaded. I really did think about next year which just so happens to be this year and I tried to tell myself that the world knew we existed and we mattered and that’s more than you could say five years ago. We’d come a long ole way and shot up the league hierarchy and we’d be a load to deal with for a while so maybe it’s not so bad OH GOD IS THAT DEXTER PITTMAN’S SMILING FACE ON MY TELEVISION? GET ME OUTTA HERE. IS SEINFELD ON SOMEWHERE? IT’S ALWAYS ON SOMEWHERE.
Only it’s not on. It’s not on Fox or TBS or Nick at Night. Kramer can’t save me now. So I turn the television off. I can’t stand to hear what John Barry and his eyebrows have to say about this. We got beat, and we got beat to the bloodiest pulp. I hate everything.
This is how a sports heart breaks.