Monday, November 15, 2010

A Night of Mavericks

I'm not a big fan of basketball. I remember being eight years old and going down to the local gym to check out a ball and see what I could do at the free throw line. Not much. There was no one around to tell me that I would grow taller one day and that the net would not seem so high and out of reach. There was no one watching, giving pointers, encouraging me that my shot percentage would reverse itself from dismal to decent, maybe dependable or possibly even deadly. Not this day. I had enough of embarrassing myself, checked the ball back in and went down the street to the bowling alley where I acquitted myself rather well for the first time out and have been bowling ever since.

Later, when I made it to college at the slender height of 6'3" and just south of 200 pounds the other freshmen in my class drooled at the prospect of me playing center on their new team. Sit back and smile with me at the memory of their dumbfounded faces when I explained to them that not only did I not play the game but that I cared very little about it. Me, the only Black male in the class and by race alone one who should have been the cornerstone of their otherwise all White team of dreams. Chuckle.

I find myself enjoying an incredible renaissance in my life here in Dallas which included a recent invitation to a pre-season game of the Dallas Mavericks at the glitzy American Airlines Center just north of downtown. I'd been to the venue once before for, get this, a hockey game featuring the home team Stars who at the time were not too long removed from their original home in Minneapolis. Even today it remains a crown jewel in the city for its architecture, amenities and unobstructed sight lines.

The key here was the fact that these were the cheapest imaginable cheap seats at only two bucks a throw so it's not even worth mentioning that I could touch the roof with the palm of my hand. That is, if I didn't get vertigo from the steep angle of the seats looking down on to the court seemingly a mile below. Not being a big fan of the game - I will at least say I root for the Mavs simply because I live here - I wasn't complaining. They were almost free and the Texas Rapid Express rail service was barely two miles from my front door and dropped me off literally at the front door of the arena.

I bought a bottomless bucket of popcorn, hiked to my seat with my buddy and enjoyed a few carefree hours watching the Mavericks phone in a warm-up effort against the Washington Wizards. They lost and it was a school night but overall it was an enjoyable evening out on the town in the Big D. If nothing else it was a diversion from the rapidly unraveling season of the Cowboys. The Rangers were on their way to the World Series, the Mavericks and Stars were both tuning up so it felt at least that mid-October evening as if there was reason to be optimistic in North Texas.

Since then I've been back for a regular season match up between the Stars and the Anaheim Ducks. They lost, too so now, in early November, with the Rangers having lost the Series and the Cowboys three-fourths' dead I wonder how the season looks for FC Dallas.

Gotta go.

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