More Tales from 4th Grade, Trevor Ariza, Motorcycles and 'She Drives Me Wild'

I had to laugh at myself this week because this sentence actually came out of my mouth: “Remember that we’re using our quiet footsteps in the hallway.” Even as I write it down, I laugh. Mostly because I don’t know where it comes from! It’s almost like some sort of bizarre instinctual teaching thing.  It’s funny because if it wasn’t for the double dutch and constant running around, I think I would be in love with this age group. Unfortunately, I feel that at 27, I’m somehow way too old to keep up.

Much to my mother’s disappointment, Trevor Ariza is rumored to be traded from the Lakers. How she ever thought I would marry someone who went to UCLA is beyond my comprehension. Doubly beyond my comprehension is her thinking that I would marry an NBA player. Knowing me, I’d end up with some NBA player’s bitter older brother who laments some injury he had in 7th grade and who  now lives in the shadow of his star little brother. Purely speaking hypothetically, of course.

I’m about half way through with “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and I’m fairly certain that I want a motorcycle. I have also learned that someone that I pretty much love more than life itself also wants a motorcycle. He has said point-blank, however, that he will not share it because (and this is a direct quote) “no one would ever lend their motorcycle to you because you’re crazy.” Right.

They released a portion of Michael Jackson’s rehearsal from a couple nights before he died. And it’s quite unfortunate the tape shuts off where it does because I’m almost certain the intro to “She Drives Me Wild” can be heard at the tail end of the video. I always considered that to be the modern version of “The Way You Make Me Feel” for a lot of reasons, and I would love to hear that portion of the video at some point.

Ah, my plans for tomorrow have me way too excited. Here’s to disappearance!

21-Year Anniversary

My brother is probably one of the biggest Laker fans around. He lives and dies with them as I do the Dodgers. That’s not to say he isn’t a Dodger fan or I’m not a Laker fan, but our devotions are just slightly more intense for one sport over the other.

That’s not to say that basketball doesn’t make me cry as baseball does because it does. Last night seeing Kobe with Derek Fisher after the game brought tears to my eyes. Actually, I always cry when Los Angeles teams are in the final round of whatever playoffs they are in.

But back to my brother. Sports are just a small testament to the brother-sister bond that we have. When I told my mom this evening that he and I would likely be going to the parade together on Wednesday morning, she asked whether I remembered the first Laker championship parade I went to.

Boy, do I.

I was six years old. It was 1988. It was an intense series and a pretty hot June if I remember correctly. My brother and I were thoroughly excited because our dad was so excited. We jumped up and down on the couch right alongside him. And I cried then. Yup, at six years old, I cried. The funny thing was I didn’t cry then because the Lakers had won, even though I knew it was a big deal for my father. Nope. I cried because Isiah Thomas cried. I remember the image of him after the Pistons loss to this day. I remember my dad asking me why I was crying, and I said that it was sad that the other team had lost. I don’t think he got it. And looking back I laugh because Sunday night, I would have liked nothing more than Kobe Bryan to elbow Dwight Howard somewhere, anywhere. (Sorry, I’m not a violent person, I promise.)

My parents bought us our first championship shirts in 1988. They were purple. And they had the silk-screened signatures of all the players on them.

And they took us out to city hall, and believe it or not, I do remember Pat Riley on the steps. I remember Magic Johnson. It was a good day. And it was the start of something very interesting.

Over the years my attention to the Lakers has waxed and waned. It tapered off in elementary school and was revived in high school by this kid, Kobe Bryant. Along the way, I loved Eddie Jones. My brother–Nick Van Exel. I lived through the Del Harris years. I watched the signing of Shaq. I watched year after painful year until Phil Jackson arrived, and finally again, we found ourselves in the championship circle of the NBA Finals.

2000. That was an amazing year. That was one of those years that was comparable to my 1997 year with the Dodgers. Every single game. We watched them all. In my speech at high school graduation, I made reference to the game the night before (which they had lost). I opened that speech with a reference to the sadness I felt not only because I was leaving high school but because the Lakers had lost.

A few days later, championship in hands, we made our way downtown again. This time it was my mom and all three of my brothers. We stood in the now converted parking lot across Staples Center and listened to these speeches and watched Travis Knight dance up there.

It’s amazing to me the joy that sports has signified in my life. Not only because of the teams that I have followed and the players that I have gotten to know, but because of the people I watch them with.

So, yes, I told my mom. I do remember the first parade I went to. It was 21 years ago.

And for a second that made me feel old. But once that subsided I realized how much being a fan of Los Angeles teams has been part of the very amazing relationship I have with my brother. On Wednesday, we will yet again, be out there. And yet again, we will be in totally different places in our lives, but still sharing that first moment together.

Dodgers vs. Lakers

Yup, you read that correctly.

I’m a Laker fan. I don’t follow the Lakers as I do the Dodgers (at least not in the last 10 years), but that speaks more to my genuine love for the game of baseball. It also speaks to my brain because baseball is almost easier for me to keep up with as it is every single day, rather than played in some complicated manner that is difficult for me to remember.

I had planned to go watch Clayton Kershaw pitch, but somewhere around noon I remembered….the Lakers. Ooops. The good things is that the NBA Finals coincide with June baseball so it isn’t such an awful situation to miss baseball.

Steamroll. That was the outcome of the Laker game.

And my fear for the Dodgers came true. I have this fear that the Phillies are going to become a “thing” for the Dodgers. By the time I caught up with the Dodgers, Hamels had faced one more than the minimum. In the bottom of the eighth. Enter “the thing.”

From all commentary, it appears that Kershaw pitched well. Two runs in 5 1/3 innings is not horrible. It’s the pitch count, and I’m sorry to keep saying that. One hundred five pitches in 5 1/3 innnings. I sometimes wonder if he’s trying to blow out his arm before the age of 23. I think he has amazing velocity and amazing control when he’s in the zone, but it’s all those other times that I cringe. Not so much because he’s losing, but as I can see the damage this could do to a young pitcher.

A lot of the talk on the post-game show was about the offense. And while being shutout is not indicative of a great offense, I’m not really worried. I feel that the Dodgers have played “small” ball. Not to harp on Juan Pierre, but he’s done a great job getting on base and moving himself over. Hudson and Kemp both have averages over .300. I don’t really think there’s much more that could be asked for.

Not to mention, the Dodgers are 18 games over .500 and leading the Giants by eight games. It’s a Dodger fan’s dream.

And….Go Lakers!

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