Since I spent Wednesday night unleashing my recent brand of crazy on AK, I decided Thursday night we could do what she wanted to do. She chose the Laker game followed by food at the York. I have never knowingly, willingly watched a televised sporting event that was not the Olympics, gymnastics or ice skating. I went to a Super Bowl party once, but I was really focused on the chips and dip. I may have caught a few minutes of baseball at AK’s parents’ house, but I’m sure I was putting together tomorrow’s outfit in my head, which is what I do when I’m bored.
So it was a big deal to knowingly, willingly watch the last twelve minutes of the Laker game and actually pay attention. At first I was all about the Celtics’ green sneakers and retro headbands, but then AK started telling me more about the players’ seasons and lives. I started watching the expressions on their faces (thank you, big new TV!) and the very close score at the bottom of the screen. I started to feel a peculiar sensation in my chest, one I definitely never experienced during the dozens of live basketball games I endured as a high school cheerleader.
“I think I’m…excited,” I said.
“Congratulations,” AK said, “your sports heart just grew three sizes today.”
When crazy Ron Artest with his pretty eyes gave a post-game speech in which he thanked his psychiatrist (and, okay, plugged his forthcoming single), I was virtually verklempt. People could be a little nutso and bounce back and do great things! Maybe there was hope for me yet! Maybe today’s punching-of-fans is tomorrow’s championship!
We walked around the corner to the York, where the game had already clicked off and the bar was back to its usual ironic background fare, in this case classic Felix the Cat cartoons. Although I would take cartoons over sports any day, I’ve never been into the old slapstick stuff. But another discovery awaited me: Felix was cleverly drawn and hilarious. It didn’t hurt that, as a naughty black cat with a blunt tail and a wheel of ever-changing moods, he reminded us a lot of Ferdinand (Ferd, you muse of the silver screen). I’ll say it again: Maybe there’s hope for me yet.