So I got invited to a Super Bowl party, which is the kind of thing I like to mention because when I was in high school I was pretty convinced that no-one would ever like me enough to invite me to their Super Bowl party, so the whole thing has the tang of vindication about it.
That's about all I'm going to say about the party, which was grand, other than the fact that there was one person there with an actual stake in the game, and he was a Giants fan, which I think fit in nicely with everybody's vague tendency and so we joined him in rooting for the Giants and there were high-fives and vindication and all that. And some pretty loud screaming when they showed the Greatest Hits On Tom Brady video. It was a pretty goddamn great football game, and I enjoyed the company and the event and so on.
But I remember back in the day, a long long time ago now, when the Lakers won three straight and sitting there in a room with my so-called friends for the last of those titles and having everybody there rooting against my team.
"Obey your thirst," they shouted every time Kobe missed a shot, and I wanted to tell them all to go away.
It sucked, too, because I really cared, I really wanted the Lakers to win, but nobody else cared except inasmuch as they wanted to see Shaq go down and Kobe go down. Fair enough. I was always walking that line between half-apologizing and half-embracing. They were my team, and if you wanted to make the case that Shaq was the saboteur of grace in the game (those same people would later make a living off arguing that we shouldn't have traded him away) and that Phil Jackson was the epitome of evil, I could see it, I had argued those arguments, but they were still my team.
Maybe it's because I had made those arguments before it all coalesced into my team, before I bought in, that I saw them in the faces of those around me.
Look, in some ways, the best rooting scenario is when your team outperforms itself. Lakers vs. Phoenix, when the Lakers were up 3-1, that was a good rooting experience. The Lakers were, for that moment, better than they had any right to be. That's fun. When your team is worse than it's supposed to be, it's a different story.
Here are the morals of this post: I am glad I am not a Patriots fan right now. I am a little sad that the Kwame Brown era has come to an end in Los Angeles, because he's Kwame and he has Kwame hands. And when Bill Walton is there saying, "What poise, what grace from the big man," you should treasure that moment because it's not coming back for a while.