I know many of you are sports fans, while at least a few are repulsed by the very notion of sports (BTW, I distinguish between sport and sports – thank you Dr. Harry Edwards). My post this beautiful May NOLA morning is intended to question not state. So, here goes.
My earliest sports memory is a San Francisco Giants game I believe to be Saturday, August 24, 1963. I was 5. I really don’t recall who else attended in our group. I am almost certain Dad took us – he always did. I do know it was against the Reds and on the field that day I was incredibly fortunate to see six, YES six future Hall of Famers (Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Frank Robinson, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry (SP) AND Pete Rose). AND there were many other notable players (Harvey Kuehn, Vada Pinson, Jose Pagan, Leo Cardenas to name but four). Did Dad know? It is but one of the many questions that replays in my head of conversations lost with Dad.
I’ve posted prior about my love of all things Oakland. Yes, it comes warts and all. AND not despite them, but largely because of them. I see myself in Oakland; I see Oakland in me. This love of all things sports Oakland was solidified in the early 70s. Oakland was, in my mind, the first City of Champions. The A’s, Raiders and Warriors (Dubs) ALL won “world” championships. Look it up!
My earliest Dubs memory was of a Dub named Lee. David Lee? No! Clyde Lee. Drafted in 1966 out of Vanderbilt he was mostly a journeyman NBA player. Unfortunately for Clyde, he was traded before the Dubs won their first championship in Oakland. So, why Clyde Lee? I’m reasonably certain it wasn’t a conscious decision on my part. After all, as kids, we just like who we like. I think now it was his journeyman status, his immense hustle, his very struggle to carve out an existence. AND I really don’t think this is revisionist history?!?
I love the intersection of things. I love the concept of the Venn Diagram and when things nearly virtually overlay on each other . . . NEARLY. Yes, sports stars in todays world (didn’t used to – OG!) in many ways live a life I couldn’t imagine. Yet! The rational and analytic side of me loves data, loves statistics, loves the predictability over a large sample size. I’ve made a career of this. Hell, I could argue I have made a life out of this simple concept. The emotional side of me is a fan. AND HERE IS WHERE THE CHALLENGE AND STRUGGLE LIES.
Last night I went to bed to read and fall asleep before the end of the first quarter of what ended up being the Dubs series clinching game 6 victory. Yes, I did miss the sheer joy of the W (get the Dub thing?). Yes, I did miss the phenomenon that is Game 6 Klay. Yes, I did miss Draymond being Draymond, Steph being Steph AND Looney being Hakeem the Dream! Why? Struggle! Struggle? My rational side was completely disconnected from my emotional side. To the point where I become quite challenging to be around . . . EVEN FOR ME! I just haven’t grown (or matured?) enough.
So, the title of this post? I would complete it this way . . an Amazingly Wonderful Performance Wrapped By Incredible Frustration. He is the poster child for the 2021-2022 Dubs. I hope to be able to open the Dub present – live.
THE STRUGGLE (LIFE’S ESSENCE?) CONTINUES!!