I am going to spill the beans. You already know I am a dog-person not a cat-person — parallel devotions usually without intersection. So this will further alienate you or tickle your attention.
Some human beings are sports crazy. You know, they watch anything from bowling to soccer and watch all of it with the same, unadulterated passion. Then there are the one-sport wonders. Curiously, my siblings are that kind. One sister is gaga about horse racing but only once a year and only in Lexington, Kentucky. I know, I don’t quite understand it either.
Another sister, after a sportsless adolescence and young adulthood as far as I can remember, is hooked on baseball. A Boston Red Socks fan no less. I don’t know how or why this happened but it did, and because I find baseball as boring as golf, I continue to scratch my head about it.
Then my oldest sibling and only brother, via a bite from his wife, became a casual but actual football fan. In his seventies! No kidding, and a partisan of the New England Patriots to make things worse. Brothers for six decades and I just didn’t see this coming.
I do not think highly of the NFL as a business or work place, but when I watch the intricacies of the game and the acrobatics of the athletes it is impossible not to be amazed and humbled. Still, I am not a partisan. I have teams I hope will win (Bills, of course) but I am far from all in. Even with college football, in which I am much more invested (the Big Ten), I remain reasonably detached.
So have you guessed the sport to which I am most devoted? No, not swimming. Ha ha, not ultimate Frisbee or volleyball either. Let me give you a hint. There are two times of rapture during the year when this sport blossoms with especially intense vibrancy: in March, and again in May through June. That’s right, college basketball and the NBA.
The NBA play offs are taking place now, and will run all the way into June when the finals could provide seven nights of drama and beauty, and occasionally beautiful drama. All last week I was unable to watch the play offs because my wife was on school break. It is not that I don’t enjoy time together watching the shows we stream and an occasional movie, but all that time I knew there were games going on somewhere else behind that television screen.
Basketball is composed of a spare five on five who engage in a contact sport without protection, and the team that usually wins is the team that plays like a team. Yes, there are superstars, but it is the particular compilation of role players and how well they assist one another on both offense and defense that wins playoff series. Plus the ball is visible all the time.
At the NBA level the limits of human potential for physical grace is tested and displayed with the elegance of dance, raw athleticism of gymnastics, and speed and agility of track. I won’t say that dogs are better than cats but basketball is the crème de la crème of sport. Just one man’s opinion.