So, I made my first ever trip to Los Angeles last week to celebrate Thanksgiving with my wife's sister, her husband and their eight-week-old baby girl. We had a wonderful time playing with the baby and having In-N-Out burgers for lunch every other day.
My brother-in-law, however, is a HUGE L*kers fan, and shares season tickets with a couple buddies. As a treat, he took me to the L*kers/Mavs game the day after Thanksgiving at Staples Center.
Now, granted, I absolutely hate the L*kers with great passion, and my bro-in-law knows this... He and I get into very lively conversations about our two teams (like last year at Xmas dinner he was knocking on the Blazers win streak), and every time our teams play each other, there is always at least a snarky text message, or ten, being sent. But, I wanted to go to the see the L*kers play on their home court, as my love and appreciation for all things basketball supercedes that hatred.
Not only did I get to have drinks in the Royal Room (exclusive bar for season ticket holders) but also got within a couple feet of Magic Johson (who was signing autographs at the team store) and Norm Nixon (whose seats were relatively close to our seats.)
The seats were on the end, about 20 rows up from the baseline by the L*kers bench. During the introductions, I almost began to wretch when I saw K*be pumping his fist and being all K*be and stuff. I chose to hold in my disgust, however, as I was a guest in this arena and I didn't want to be rude to my host who was so graciously treating me to the $110 ticket.
The game was pretty good. Pau Gasol and Dirk Nowitzki were competing to see who could be the bigger softy. Andrew Bynum was performing well. Jason Kidd couldn't hit from range to save his life. And, K*be was, well... K*be.
But then, the strangest thing happened to me while I was there watching the game... I suddenly found myself rooting for the L*kers!
Look at Bynum with the putback... Ooh! K*be with the dunk... Aah! And, Fisher with the three... Yay!
OMG! What has come over me? I was becoming weak. I had to dig deep down and cling on to the power within me, and the Brandon Roy t-shirt I was secretly wearing under my red Dockers polo. Must... resist.... Must be... strong...
Eventually, the game ended... And, at last, I was relieved of this inner conflict and was able to resist the temptation of the dark side. As we made our way out of the arena, we headed into the team store so my bro-in-law could find some cute little L*ker baby outfit to brainwash his newborn daughter with. While he was at the register I wandered around a bit and began to have the endorphines seep into my brain that I get while wandering the Blazers team store after a game at the Rose Garden.
"Hmm... That Luke Walton jersey tee looks cool..."
"Wait a minute... I wouldn't be caught dead wearing some nasty piece of crap L*kers t-shirt!"
As my bro-in-law and I walk out of the store, he shows me the baby-sized L*kers warmups suit he bought. I was polite and told him it was cute, while in the back of my mind I was secretly laughing to myself about the Blazers baby onesie I bought him for Christmas. :-)