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Soup of This Day #193: Never Cheer Before You Know Who’s Winning

June 11, 2012

King Arthur
After searching for hours King Arthur was unable to obtain an NBA Championship ring or the Stanley Cup. In the end all he got from his visit to the Lady of the Lake was this sword. Just being a King doesn’t mean you automatically get everything – Image: Alfred Kappes, 1880. Alfred Kappes is not affiliated with Longworth72. Image cropped by Longworth72.

This Soup started just shy of lunchtime, Sunday just past, in Perth, Western Australia. It was almost complete a couple of hours later when the power went out thanks to a particularly wild and wooly storm. Fortunately the howling winds abated overnight with no further damage to the Longworth72 world but the power stayed off through until Monday lunch. So if it seems that the writing is a day late then that is because it is just that – A day late.

On the basis though that it’s better late than never here goes anyway…

This post is starting with no aim and no reason. Which is contrary to the way I usually write – The flow goes something like, ‘have idea that must get out’ and then ‘write now.’ For this morning though the flow is more, ‘have time to write’ and then ‘best make use of that time now.’

This probably won’t strike a reader as a good basis for quality writing. Well spotted there – It most likely isn’t a good basis for quality writing. The thing is though that I have this window – The Noah and his mum are out for Sunday breakfast and the former has brewed himself up a cold while the latter has made it to 38.5 weeks pregnant. The former will lead to an increasingly unhappy 4 year old with cabin fever while the latter has led to an increasingly uncomfortable wife with cabin fever.

And we don’t have a cabin. This is not The Shinning.

That’s a little bit negative on the face of it – I love The Noah and cherish the time I have with him, even when he’s not feeling that well. I’ll feel the same way about his brother when he’s born and I can’t wait to meet him.

It’s just that some days I like to have some quality time for me. The fates (My wife) have decreed that that time is now and so I’m determined to utilise it.

There is some sport under way as I write this up…

At present the Heat and the Celtics are locked at 61 points apiece in Game 7 of their NBA Western Conference Finals Series. I should be pretty excited by this – It’s crunch time between a storied franchise and the heir-apparent to Michael Jordan.

I’m not buying into it though.

For a start, as I’ve covered previously, I’m normally pretty ambivalent about the NBA. I like basketball, love March Madness and college hoops in general – The NBA though, not so much. There is too much of everything else around the actual basketball. Too much self-promotion, too much sideshow – Through all of that smoke and with all of that reflective glass it’s hard to see 5 guys busting a gut just trying to play basketball better than the other 5 guys.

And I figured that before the industrial actions that reduced this season to just 66 games.

Sure, I adopted the Golden State Warriors 2/3 of the way through this season in an attempt to kindle some sort of love affair with the league. True, I took on their mediocrity in part because I yearned for a team that didn’t get glared out by the spotlights. Still, I hoped that I could learn to love the game again through a team that was just playing for the love of the game themselves, rather than the glory that was well out of reach.

Unfortunately the Warriors took that mediocrity and tried to parley it into priority draft picks – How else can you explain dumping Monte Ellis and the subsequent collapse to a 23 and 43 record? Given that they were at 18 and 22 when I jumped on board the Bay Bridge that’s an almighty tanking.

Meanwhile the Heat and Celtics are now locked at 73 apiece with a quarter to play.

I’m still not biting.

I could blame LeBron James I guess. The Decision ironically for me was less about his call than it was about my choice to buy into the legend of The King. Or not.

Mostly not to be honest Your Majesty.

Perhaps he meant it that way – Maybe he’s really so deep that he was forcing a Decision on all of us in an attempt to make us confront our deep-seated misconceptions around fame and fortune.

Or maybe LeBron just sums up for me what is wrong with the NBA.

Celtics 82-81 with 8:20 left on the clock.

And even if LeBron, Chris and Dwyane (Is there anyone else out there?) do beat the Celtics they will face a tough assignment in the showdown for the title as they take on the good-across-the-board Oklahoma City Thunder. Who I should like because they are the antithesis of the Heat in much the same way that Dallas was last year – They strike me as a superstar team, as opposed to the Heat’s team of 3 superstars.

Except I don’t like them.

4 years past and Oklahoma was Seattle. Then an owner, frustrated at not getting public funding for a new arena sold off the franchise. The new owners, based in Oklahoma, claimed initially to not be interested in a move to their hometown but that it seems was not the case. Shortly thereafter the Supersonics became the Thunder. So less sound of thunder for me and more the sound of 1 hand clapping.

7-zip run for the Heat and they lead 88-82 with 6:54 to play. It’s moving day me thinks.

So I’m ambivalent about pretty much every aspect of these NBA Finals. Sadly though the sports and teams I could and should write about I have no mojo happening with:

The Reds Sox lost to the Nationals again this morning, going down 2-4 for yet another Fenway loss this season. Dice-K was as frantically inconsistent off the mound as he was when he last played a year ago prior to a Tommy Johns-enforced holiday – The enigmatic hurler threw 80 pitches across 5 innings for 5 hits and all 4 of the Nats runs. Sprinkled throughout that effort was just the 1 walk and an impressive 8 strike-outs so some positives were in there for sure. Still, it’s hard to get excited about the Sox falling below .500 again.

It’s 98-86 with 2:45 to run in the Celtics’ season and maybe an era. I wonder if the old guard are already having their lockers cleaned out…

The Fremantle Dockers snapped a 3 game losing streak yesterday via a gutsy 12 point win over Richmond at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The triumph over 1 of the competition’s form teams was decent enough but when you factor in that the Freo outfit had last won at the ‘G’ in 2007 the victory tastes even sweeter. I might write a bit more around that tomorrow…

For today though and it’s done in Miami – The Heat take the game 101-88 and the series 4-3. Commiserations for Celtics fans – It’s worth noting that your top 5 scorers ranged from Rondo with 22 points, through Pierce (19), Bass (16) and Allen (15) to Garnett with 14 points. That’s a spread of just 8 with 6 covering the top 3 and just 1 point between 3rd and 4th. I’d look at that as some kind of team-effort from a bunch of guys that not many figured would go this deep into June or even May.

The Heat by contrast had James with 31 points, through Wade (23), Bosh (19) and Battier (12) to Chalmers with just 9 points. That’s a spread of 22 with 12 covering the top 3 and 7 points between 3rd and 4th.

I know that points ain’t everything and critics of the Thunder could equally point to Kevin Durant but still…

Heat fans would want to hope that LeBron doesn’t get injured and that longer term he doesn’t up and make another Decision.

If he does, there’s always Golden State.

Who it turns out are looking for a change in location of their own via a move across the bridge which adorns their uniforms, from Oakland to San Francisco.

Sigh.

Some final sporting news to wrap this up – The Noah is now home and I’ve just lulled him into a nap, so I figure on having maybe 1/2 an hour to play with – Mark Webber starts on the 2nd row of the grid for tomorrow morning’s Canadian GP. His team-mate Sebastian Vettel is on pole.

And from Montreal to a sport that is dominated by Canadian players, if not Canadian teams, and the New Jersey Devils have won Game 5 of the Stanley Cup play-offs 2-1, keeping the Los Angeles Kings from an 11th straight road victory and the series win. The Kings will now try to clinch it at home the day after tomorrow. Having led 3-0 in this series and in spite of 2 consecutive losses they surely will be the favourites to end it then.

It seems that right now it’s not such a bad thing to be a King after all.

Never Cheer Before You Know Who’s Winning

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