Friday, November 18, 2005

SCHOOL OF HARD KNICKS


While flipping through the channels last Monday, I came across the New York Knicks playing against the Sacramento Kings. Usually, I’d move on right along, but Coach Larry Brown caught my attention. I had always admired him when he was coaching the Pacers, and now he’s the Knicks’ supreme strategist. Out of respect for the man, I decided to kick back and watch the game.

The Knicks won. They were a sight to behold; they played smart basketball. The New York Times sports writer, Howard Beck, claims, “For the first time since Brown took the team's reins, the Knicks - the kids, the veterans, all of them - displayed a grit and passion worthy of their Hall of Fame coach.”

If this new ensemble of agile and talented young players could sustain this kind of smart playing, they stand a good chance of making it to the playoffs. But then again, I shall remain distant. I had already learned my lesson.

You see, my first love affair with the Knicks was a pleasant one. With Red Holzman as their coach, they won two NBA titles. It was a team of smart players who played smart basketball — consistently; thus, the two rings. Subsequently, as new players replaced the veterans, I lost interest altogether and switched to tennis. No one abandoned anyone here; it was an amicable parting of ways for all.

When Pat Riley took over as coach in the ‘90s, I went back to following the Knicks. However, it was a wrong move on my part. The Knicks subjected me to a couple of seasons of emotional roller coaster. The team had so much promise, but the emotions of Pat Riley’s players overwhelmed their intellect. They evolved into a team of all brawn, no brain and soon became NBA’s bad boys. The emotional intensity that fueled their every game sometimes incited all-out brawls; a more common scene in hockey games than in basketball. Once it happened while the NBA commissioner was in the audience; embarrassment was etched on his face.

But worse of all, the Knicks failed miserably on a couple of occasions to stop the ultimate nemesis — Chicago Bulls’ #23 — the devil incarnate; the vainglorious terrorist who inflicted pain and humiliation to millions of New Yorkers. He was a shameless sharp-shooting maniac who deliberately deprived New York basketball fans of their moment of glory — a championship. Yes, the Knicks were unable to contain him. And for that reason alone, I dropped the Knicks and ignored them the way grandma did to rancid fish in the wet market.

Being a sports fan is not easy. I didn’t like what became of me. Besides developing intense passion for the game and the home team itself, I also became strangely superstitious. To ensure victory, I would perform cultish rituals like a deranged monk before each game. If the team should lose, the wrong shirt I wore at the game could be at fault. My dog was not safe from blame, either. His having pooped at the wrong curb or the wrong part of the neighborhood could jinx the team’s game that evening. Ridiculous, indeed, but hey, it’s part of being a fan.

As for the Knicks, let’s just say I’ll play hard to get for now. If they play smart this season, they might be able to woo me back.


Links

New York Knickerbockers

http://www.nba.com/knicks/

Superstitious Sport Fans
http://www.psychologyofsports.com/guest/superstitiousfans.htm

Michael Jordan
Come on, he’s a nobody; a waste of time.

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posted by Señor Enrique at 5:07 AM


2 Comments:

Anonymous NoelG said...

For a while there, I thought you were talking about me. Our neigborhood librarian feels the same way, but uses her surperstition on betting to an advantage. She would bet dinner against the Knicks with her husband. If the Knicks lose they go out and have a good dinner which eases her pain. If the Knicks win, well we know what that means.

November 18, 2005 10:05 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hi noelg,

Aren't we crazy? Well, at least the librarian being more disciplined knew how to place her bets.

I really like your pic of the pigs! It inspired me to compose a blog about my pet pig. Once done, I'll include a link to that wonderful photo of yours!
.

November 18, 2005 4:43 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.

 
 

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