I Don’t Turn Off Games


No, I don’t turn off the games. I haven’t in a long time. It’s the fat-man-on-the-couch’s equivalent of never leaving the arena early; never succumbing to the first world thrill of beating traffic. But I was damn close tonight; all out of dramatic sighs and disgusted grunts as the Warriors lost 118-94 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder. It wouldn’t have changed the environment I had set up for myself; the television on mute as Russell Westbrook strutted about the court, the Thunder crowd rocking and rolling in a corybantic frenzy. I would’ve been free to do other things, I think I would’ve been excused. But I stayed on the channel, somehow trying to absorb some of the beating myself. When you know you should be doing something else, but you stay since you really don’t have anything better to do. Believe it or not, a lot of Warriors fanhood is rooted in that idea. So I stayed. It’s the Western conference finals after all. Even if they’ve taken a turn towards the terrible, it’s a terrible that only comes every few decades. I’ll stay and take my unique beating.

I guess I’d better write something in the fucking blog, was the thought that popped into my head, once it was over. I had figured I should write something in the fucking blog for a few days, as the weight of the situation befalling my preferred basketball team slowly crept into my everyday life. I’d better write something in the fucking blog. But what to write? The Warriors lost the basketball game. There are many different losses in the NBA; many different shapes and forms a dismantling takes. Even in my insulated living room, with the television on mute, with Twitter closed and texts piling up, this loss screamed through the television. The Thunder eviscerated the Warriors; rejected every advance. Nearly every assumption the Warriors wrote into their game plan was met with stern rebuke. Anthony Roberson hit threes. Steven Adams was unaffected by injury. Enes Kanter played stout defense. Randy Foye — Randy Fucking Foye, man — was a net positive. The players who were supposed to sink have soared. The Thunder were superior in nearly every single way. Man, this feels great. This is writing in the fucking blog.

The Warriors were not great. They have not been great for the vast majority of the series. And if you want my opinion why the Warriors are not armoring up for another go at an Eastern conference foe; if you want this really great postulation I’ve formed while I screamed at a television and stomped around my living room for months on end, I’m happy to tell you that I don’t know what the fuck is going on with the Golden State Warriors. I feel like the best answer I could give you would be straight from the Shit-Ass Mid-Stage Millennial Bible, and say that the Monstars stole their powers, and the Warriors have just gotta drink some of Michael’s Secret Stuff. It’s a sense of vulnerability with far too much exposure; a defense that essentially falls in the category of “well we won all those other games, so I’m not sure why we’re not winning this one.” Their once airtight offense has become bland and ineffective against the Thunder’s defensive dynamos. Their once suffocating defense has buckled and collapsed under the onslaught of the taller, stouter and, up to this point, vastly superior Thunder. Watching it has involved that certain sense of “pain” that a fan feels; a petulant, anxious unhappiness primarily fed by the the desire to exert power over variables that are resistant to control.

Let me be clear: this is not the good night, good luck, thanks for all the memories post. Truth be told, I’m not sure I have that post in me. I’m pretty sure I can’t even get a thousand words out about basketball at this point; I feel like I’ve basically said everything I’ve wanted to say about the National Basketball Association. But I do need to confess something, to someone who might have some sort of reaction to a deep confession about the game I love: I don’t know how the fuck this happened. I don’t know why Steph Curry’s shot is gone; a miraculous joy totally muted and stifled. I don’t know why the turnovers have returned; basketballs ricocheting off of outstretched fingers or soaring harmlessly — almost gracefully, really — into the stands. I don’t know how basketball has ruined my day; ruined my week. I don’t know why this shit matters so much to me. I don’t know why I don’t just shrug my shoulders and say, well, fuck, maybe next year. The only reason I have cable is because of the Golden State Warriors. I don’t turn off games.

I need a fifth paragraph here in order to make the post seem complete, but there isn’t much left besides muttered cuss words and exasperated sighs. Tomorrow I’ll wake up, and my brain will reload the events from tonight, and I will frown into the unkind darkness that only 5:15 a.m. can deliver. I will type-and-delete countless snarky replies on social media, and offer short, stilted texts to communicative partners. “Sucks.” “Not great.” “Thunder are good.” “Gotta play better.” There’s not much more to say. Summer is coming. It’s getting hot. There isn’t much basketball left to play, anyways.


About Jacob Greenberg

Jacob is a behaviorist by day, blogger by night, and founded the Diss. Follow him on Twitter @jacobjbg
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