The lights never really come up when you expect them too.
An entire bar will let out a sigh and a goran that the owner was now kick them out; it't time to go. You have families, wives, girlfriends and children o attend too.
Get the hell out. Don't you have anything better to do.
For the past 9 months we have been sitting at teh bar and drinking in every last drop of tallent that my brother has left on the court. We have awed at three point fade-away jumpers and roared at the eight-foot tall swats that can demolish even the most confident player.
We have been absorbed.
I have always enjoyed basketball - the only real american sport - but i have never been so invovled in wanting to understand plays, techniques, methods and stratgies. I have never emmersed mysefl so much in the sport - or any sport for that matter - until I saw my own brother play his heart out for 20 minuets at a time for more than an hour and a half.
This summer, was like a drug.
Games every weekend, updates coming from cellphones and e-mails from across teh country.
But now we are coming to an end, and in that end we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Its alsmost over and while this tournament really means nothing in hte larger sense, it means the world simply becasue it is the last note that will be played in the grand concerto of a Basketball Summer.
And it is not even my instrument - i am merely sitting in the balcony watching and hoping that all goes well both for the players and myself.
We have been obsessed.
But in our obsession and fanatic lust for blood, we knew where the edge was...or we thought we did. I have never wanted to cross the line - not even to let my laces dangle over the paint - into being That Fan.
That fan who knows by shere voice decibles more about the game than the 10 guys o nthe court and half dozen more on the bench.
That fan who will berate kids half his age for things that might only matter on the infetesimal scale of nothing.
That fan who would force beleigured to endure a coaching session entitled "what you did wrong 101"
I broke my one rule today and with a simple two sentence I became every other paent and jackass former coach that think they could somehow manage this team or this player better.
"Keep your god-damed feet on the gorund! Everytime you jump up they will call a foul on you."
"Bullshit, you don't know."
He was exactly right. I didn't. but it somehow helped me get over the near miss at another win for him
I had crossed the line and he had not even dried teh sweat from his face.
I had berated him on a win that i had no part in. I was no better than teh former AAU coach who continues to coach from the stands and even coach teh coaches when no one is looking.
In that brief second, I had become that parent who truly, honestly does not get it, but will insist they do simply to play some roll to drag on the coatails of what they have worked to do.
The preasure I feel at work cannot even equate to what he has jsut gone thought. I do not sit on deadline with 300 screaming, beligerent people aiming for my forehead.
I had crossed the line and I was so close to getting out without a blemish. But i fired the first shot and never have I wanted to appologize to quickly. despite the final victoris conclusion, I was the one who hit the wrong note and ended everything.
We learned the hard way that when you are downtown, you never close out the bars. You might end up with a bullet in your back.
But here we are safe - so long as we stay within the confines of the fieldhouse.
so long as we can stay within our bounds and not blow up at this game.
It's last call and tomorrow the lights will go up and the bar keep will insist we go home.
None of us want to, really, but it will be good for us. It will be good for our sanity and hopefully, give a chance to redraw those lines and make surewe know exaclty where we stand.