I seem to have misplaced my sports jones. By jones, yes, I mean my sheer “just-gotta-have-it” passion for the consumption of something. I’ve got a food jones, several musical joneses and (I’m female) a definite shoe jones. Losing my sports jones is a familiar feeling but every time it happens I compare it to writer’s block, which is for your jones to lack it’s equivalent of the REM sleep response. Fatigue, apathy, near psychosis.
My last long bout with sports ‘joneslessness’ began with the 1997 NCAA Basketball tournament. Seeing the inevitable shifting of college basketball’s style toward a more pro feel so that a fan could barely tell the difference between the college game and the NBA left a really bitter taste in my mouth. I didn’t sincerely embrace college ball again until maybe 2008. Seriously. Don’t get me wrong, just like how an insomniac can nap occasionally, sport insomniacs can watch some games here and there. Saturday night’s NBA Playoffs kick-off was decent. Prediction: that Pacers/Magic series, even without Dwight Howard or many other marquee names, may end up being the best series of this first round for the Eastern Conference. Game one in the Mavericks/Thunder series was simply magnificent. The incomparable Kevin Durant intrigues me because for most guys his size, responsible sports fans hold our collective breath that the kid stays healthy, while @KDTrey5 looks like a thoroughbred racehorse. All that said, watching NBA (or any pro sports league’s) games to me right now is like eating Cheez-Wiz instead of brie, like 50 Cent instead of Talib Kweli, or like believing Basketball Wives was about sophisticated career women, a “reality version” of Mara Brock Akil’s ‘Girlfriends’ plus basketball, when much to our embarrassment it’s really a shrink-wrapped look into Borderline Personality Disorder — a pre-packaged Bad Girls Club for aged and trifling ho’s. I’ve been to that puppet show and I’ve seen the strings. Every sports league is like a corporate company as is every team within each league. Add on the marketing/advertising soaked 24-hour news cycle, spewing at us from even bigger corporate media companies, and the whole charade is just a little bit predicable and nauseating.
Thing is, I had all these bad-ass sports articles planned. I wanted to write about the NBA Lockout and what my interpretation of the contract negotiations were and I couldn’t conjure up the incentive of a fat house cat to start it. I planned on writing something furious and ironic about that annual NCAA Basketball staple: the pain-in-the-ass foul call everyone hates. 2012’s being this flagrant 1 “elbow above the shoulders” straight bullshit. Baseball has me worried. I exchanged emails with a Twitter friend, Allen Schatz, about an article on my inability to “transition” into ‘MLB Fever’ after the inevitable finale of the incredibly inspiring and begrudgingly entertaining Kentucky Wildcats Show. But truthfully, since Phillies announcer Harry Kalas has died, I realize how much my love and ritual for Phillies games depended on Harry’s soothing, rhythmic, grandfatherly voice. I fully understand too, how working at home involves no water cooler talk, therefore much less incentive to keep up with scores, rotations or in case of the Phillies, injury lists. With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley AND Cliff Lee hurt up, well…let’s just say I’m not shedding any tears that there’s no working TV in the house and that Major League Baseball is the only pro league, because of the evil Comcast hex on local cable TV content, I can’t stream online. The Eagles, the team I actually now will admit I love to simultaneously adore and abandon more than any other, did pretty damn well in the recent NFL draft. And, yup, my “SportsREM” was still jacked up. Two high school acquaintances, Up-and-coming sports agent Wes Bridges and Chris Taylor, who now lives in Atlanta, both agreed to kick me some NFL draft tidbits. Chris even offered to Skype with me about my ideas for a draft day article, but it was way more fun to follow his live tweets, Eagles coverage not-withstanding, at @UltimateDraft. And besides coverage of my personal favorite teams, I want to cover the careers of those local to New Jersey like Andrew Bynum and his 10 blocked shots for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday against Denver. And yet, my sports appetite is stunted.
But it’ll bounce back. Because I’m an athlete, it always does. All it takes is one great game, or one inspiring performance. Perhaps tonight. My childhood favorite Sixers and my teenage favorite Lakers both play tonight. We’ll see.