As a Dallas Mavericks fan during the 1990’s and a Cowboys fan the last 16 years, I kind of got used to losing, but I still don’t like it. Perhaps, the thing that irritates me most is the people who have the audacity to be fans of the wrong team. It is if their parents never taught them right from wrong, it might even verify my theory that more and more people in today’s world are being raised by wolves, and not the good kind of wolves that only masquerade as someone’s grandmother, but the bad kind of wolves that live in Minnesota and wear Vikings hats.
I have to admit I was feeling more than a little irritated, and I mean more irritated than when I have to explain to someone that no matter how much they want to believe in unicorns, ghosts, and aliens from other planets, they are not real with the possible exception of one Tim Duncan whom no one has been able to produce a legitimate birth certificate for, but that is another matter. Anyway, after the recent game after the Oklahoma City Thunder, I had to make a late-night run to the grocery store for emergency supplies (yes, mostly to drown my sorrows). It was at one of the 24 hour a day Wal-Mart stores. One of those that is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and yet for some odd reason still has locks on the doors.
Like most Mavericks fans I have had trouble this season figuring out exactly what I think of the team. Early in the season, they got pounded by everyone, then they won a few in a row, then they starting showing some life, then Dirk gets sat out to rest and rehab a knee, then Jason Kidd is out for a while, then it looks like Champ is dealing with some personal issues, then they lose to the team from OKC, seriously?
Feeling down, I ran in to get the usual supplies for one of my after-game moaning-and-groaning parties which consist mostly of drowning my misery while watching the post game analysis from our own Mike “The Fish” Fisher. The supplies were the usual post-Apocalyptic food supplies, ice cream, chocolate syrup, Band-Aids, and ear plugs because sometimes the whining and wailing can get a bit loud after a loss and my wife complains about me doing it, and I would rather not have to listen to her complaining about my whining.
It was a dark and stormy night as I made my way to Wal-Mart, somewhat hesitantly because you never know what you are going to find wandering the late-night aisles of that place. I have heard of people complaining about a large, hairy, shrieking, crazy man showing up after Mavs losses, but I have never personally seen him.
On this particular evening I picked up everything I needed and made my way to the front of the store and thoughts began to cross my mind that can only be called, great unanswered questions. Like, who names a team after the noisy remnant of superheated gas? I mean I could understand naming a team after lightning. Lightning is scary, and jagged. But naming a team “Thunder’’ is sort of like naming a team “Meow’’ because it is the sound a cat makes. The Detroit Lions, as an example, would sound a lot less scary as the Detroit Meows, it would probably be more true to the nature of the team but you get the idea.
It also seems to me that there are a bunch of really odd nicknames in the NBA, teams named after a biological process of a female dog, teams named after an article of clothing mostly worn by gay cowboys, not that there is anything wrong with that, or a team named after people that hang out at the lake. I mean let’s face it, the names of most NBA teams don’t strike fear in your heart. There is even a team named after short pants. Not exactly terrifying, though I will give you that seeing me in a pair of shorts may keep you lying awake at night.
I think a lot about random things while I am standing in line especially at the supermarket, it is a distraction from the simian noises arising from the frozen food aisle. The line I was in was moving very slowly, and I began to fear something was wrong. I should mention I am used to always picking the slowest line in the supermarket. I fully expect that the person I am behind will be cutting coupons out of the paper while I am standing in line and will only speak Mandarin, and will insist on paying for everything with Canadian pennies. So it did not surprise me when I saw a fellow in line, three or four ahead of me, trying to use a food stamps card to pay for toilet paper. Calmly the clerk tried to explain to the gentleman that in most places toilet paper is not regarded to be food. Although many of the things I have seen covered by food stamps, like those cream filled pastry tubes that I don’t want to mention by name because I don’t want to get one of those letters, but let’s just say they rhyme with “binkies,’’ cannot really be considered as food either and you need the former a lot more than you need the latter.
I picked up some subtle clues because I am, at heart, a super sleuth’y detective that is quite adept at figuring out things, in fact I have been compared to a cross between Sherlock Holmes and James Dean, a rebel without a clue. Still, I began to understand what was going on. The guy, obviously a Thunder fan, based on his demeanor, the Nick Collison jersey, the foam finger (number two), and the fact that he was buying an odd assortment, including the afore mentioned toilet paper, deodorant, and other hygiene products, obviously he was picking up a few souvenirs before heading back across the Red River to the desolate area beyond.
I began to get kind of curious about how Oklahoma City had picked such an odd name, I mean generally you name a team after something associated with where you live. I mean for example Texas is associated with the Old West so you get a lot of teams named after Old West images … Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers. Boston reportedly had a lot of people of Irish decent that lived in the area, who apparently still do not know how to pronounce the word Celtic, Toronto is apparently crawling with dinosaurs, and San Antonio apparently have a lot of guys who like to wear spurs, not that there is anything wrong with that. I am left wondering whether the Thunder was named after the bad weather in the state or the sounds emanating from the next toilet stall at the games. I mean what else in Oklahoma could you name a team after?
By this point I was nearing the front of the line. The only one left in front of me was a guy dressed in a storm trooper costume. The only thing odd about this is that the visor was shaped more like a colonial fighter than an actual storm trooper, but considering the other things I had seen in the late night hours, he might be the most normal person in the store.
By now you are probably wondering, “What is the point of this rambling, hodgepodge of meaningless drivel?” The point is simple: when the Mavericks lose, bad things happen. I end up going to Wal-Mart, I end up overeating ice cream sundaes, and I end up lying awake wondering why you can buy snack cakes that contain no edible material but cannot buy toilet paper with food stamps.
Something must be done. The Mavericks must turn it around. I cannot be left asking such odd questions while standing in line at Wal-Mart at midnight, or at least that is what the restraining order says.