Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Reaffirming Our Faith... Loving the Players, Hating Their Games

We're keeping a concerned but distant eye on tonight's game against the Hawks via NBA.com's Live Stat Tracker. We can't make it back to the crib with League Pass so here we are online Christmas shopping and watching...

Needless to say, the 0-2 Turkey Day weekend has lessened our zeal to motivate to the F train, but Yao did show some signs of life in Chicago dropping 30 on the Bulls Saturday night. We thought boycotting the game might effectuate this kind of response. Yao knows when we're not watching and it gets him pumped, but not enough to get the W.

My girl, Dot, keeps repeating Jake Gyllenhaal's line, "I wish I could quit you!" from the upcoming movie adaptation of Brokeback Mountain. She likes the book but finds the delivery of those words hilarious. And herein, we find the sentiment fitting. Sometimes, we wish we could quit the Rockets... but we know we can't.

Here's the problem... we like the Rockets. We like this team, this group of guys.

They're veterans for one... who at least try to adhere to Van Gundy's system
. David Wesley would have been a prize fighter 30 years ago. Less Ali than Frazier, stocky and powerful, full of heart with a dome made for headbutting. He would have been the underdog hero of America's dispossessed. The son of Rick, Jon-boy, has got the savvy and flair that makes him every fan's favorite--just ask Sacramento and Detroit. Deke Mutombo the consummate professional... Juwan Howard the same... Bobby Sura... heart... and Ryan Bowen... every team needs a Ryan Bowen. Even Luther Head has the kind of game and facial expressions to be a truly beloved fan favorite.

Then there's Yao... who this off-season quietly negotiated his contract extension without even dangling his talents elsewhere trying to up his worth. He actually displayed... loyalty.

So they're not athletes.

They embody the work ethic, ball IQ and integrity that critics say is missing in today's NBA. Honorable gentlemen all of them, and thusly, they're 3-11. So what does that say about today's NBA?

What does it say that we'd give them all away, guiltily, ashamedly but eagerly nonethless, for one crazy-ass Ron Artest?

Maybe we don't deserve these Rockets... these gentlemen of the hardwood. So-called fans gripe about the purity of the game, its degradation, its corruption, its celebration of stars over team pl
ay, and yet here we have a real team, who by all accounts get along like family on and off the court, and they can't win. Over on Detroit's Free Darko, they have a saying, "Love the Player, Hate the Game..."

Like Motown itself, we second that emotion.

But with all that said, we counted the days until T-Mac's return. Ten. Without him, the Rockets are like Devastator without the headpiece, going nowhere. Unlike the entire city of Houston (or what seems like it), we haven't lost faith, not in Yao, not even in Derek Anderson... yet. Swift and Skip on the other hand... the grip is slipping.

Surely, with Mac back tonight, we can beat the Hawks?

Oh wait, page refresh, we won...


train said...

bravo...bravo. there is a single tear making its journey down my cheek. bravo.

ryan "the hammer" bowen said...

great post. a nice tribute and eulogy to a bygone game.