Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Love and Basketball

Robin Williams had a scene in "Good Will Hunting" in which he's explaining love and relationships to the Matt Damon character that always stands out to me: "You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense: this girl you've met, she's not perfect either. But the question is whether or not you're perfect for each other."

Through nearly eight years of marriage, me and Jen have fit in that "perfect for each other" category quite well. A key reason for this has been plenty of shared interests and passions.

One of these is basketball.

It wasn't what sealed the deal during our courtship, but it didn't hurt knowing my future wife was a basketball junkie. She was the one who finally got me to watch "Hoosiers" (I know, I know, what took me so long?) and she was always willing to watch old NBA games with me, especially if they involved Danny Ainge, her favorite player. When we moved in together after our wedding, we discovered we now had two copies of "Sacred Hoops."

And she continues to this day to have the best jump shot in the family.

But as much as we enjoy basketball, that love gets severely tested every spring. You see, that's when the NBA playoffs start and Jen is married to a Lakers fan. And as she's documented on this blog, I fret quite a bit during games -- to put it mildly.

I was thinking back recently and I realized in the nine years we've known each other, the Lakers have won four NBA championships, reached the Finals two other times and missed the playoffs only once.

That's a lot of frantic pacing and patience testing over the years.

Jen always tries to watch with me, but usually by the fourth quarter, she clears out. Especially if it's a close game. She knows what this is like, having grown up during THIS time in Portland Trail Blazers history.

I realize it's silly behavior and I often wonder why I care so much, especially when 10 years of working in sports journalism has left me pretty jaded. But for whatever reason, the Lakers have stayed with me, going on 25 years now. Maybe it's regional pride or deep-seated tradition, as my colleague Michael Wilbon described in a recent column. Much as I dislike Kobe Bryant for a variety of reasons, it's hard not to watch and share the ups and downs of a long playoff run with my fellow fanatics -- Mom, Dad and my two aunts.

As for Jen, I don't think I've ruined basketball for us. Yes, she's relieved when the playoffs end, but we're still here -- perfect for each other.

1 comment:

beth said...

This is totally me and Adam. He is a huge Lakers fan.