Ten years ago I was just shy of six months from having lost my father on Father’s Day and for the first time in six months I was actually about to watch an entire basketball game or baseball game without thinking about my father even once.
For me it all started when my parents took the family to our brothers hockey games in the early 90’s. Hockey was too fast for me to follow considering how small the puck is. So, I got into basketball first! Being born and, mostly, raised in Chicago I of course am a Bulls fan. It was not until the Bulls fourth championship that I started to actually understand the game because in the early 90’s dad was relocated for work down to Jackson, Mississippi. At least, that is how the story was told to me when I was a teenager.
Fast forward a few years from our return to Chicago in the late 90’s to Labor Day weekend of 2003. I was planning to try out for the basketball team that year at my Junior High. Then, while we were having a family barbecue to celebrate dad’s birthday, mom asked me to run out to the car parked in front while my brother and I were playing a game of horse in the drive way. On my way back into the house after setting down what mom wanted me to get from the car by the front door I disappeared for nearly an hour after tearing my left ACL and MCL by tripping on a small lawn lamp in the front lawn while running back into the house. That ended my ability to try out for the schools basketball team that year since tryouts started two weeks later and I was in a knee brace and also using crutches because of the pain I was in. That’s all right, I still go the chance to play for the park district team that year which was a lot of fun!
All said, it is my father I have to thank for being not only a basketball fan but also a baseball fan. I will share the baseball part in the coming days. Since he is not here I decided Fathers Day was an appropriate time to be sharing my stories about what made me a basketball fan!
Now for a quick note about this years NBA playoffs… I was asked many times during this years NBA playoffs why I was rooting for the Warriors. The fact is my second team is the Lakers because I have extended family who lives in the suburbs of Los Angeles and has for my entire life. Of course, they were not in the playoffs though so I had to pick a team that I wanted the Bulls to face if they got all the way to the finals. That’s where the Warriors came into the picture since they were back to 2019 form! I was rooting for the Bulls to get lucky and face the Warriors in the finals. Did I think the Bulls would beat the Warriors? No. That would not have stopped me from rooting for that matchup though since this was the first year since 2009 that I was actually able to watch the NBA playoffs closely and my Bulls were in the playoffs.
With that… thank you dad for making me love basketball so much even though I only played for the park district team for one year!