Tonight the Oklahoma City Thunder play the Spurs and I’m nervous.
I’ve never been invested in any sports team in my life. Sure, I want OU to win all of the football games, but that came out of 10 years of living in Norman and finding that winning makes everyone that I deal with happier and, in turn, they make me happier. Also, it’s fun to get together with friends in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and drink. However, this hasn’t garnered any real emotional investment into the world of college football. Aside from that, the fact that I was the Historian of Debate Club for three consecutive years and went on to major in Literature in college should give you enough information about me to know that there were no other points in my life in which I felt drawn to the world of sports.
Sitting in my living room floor glued to the television through the NBA Playoffs, crying tears of joy and heartache after every game, was as much a shock to me as anyone. It didn’t start there, though. When the team first came to Oklahoma and everyone was talking about how terribly they were performing, I would remind them that they were new and needed time to settle. The players didn’t take much time to settle and I didn’t need to come to their defense for long. This is all to say that, like so many others, I’m in love with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unlike so many others, though, this is my first relationship with a sports team.
I’m still reeling from the revelation that Harden was traded. Others who have been watching professional sports for years seem surprised, but not heartbroken. I realize that this is a business, but I still feel betrayed, confused, and, yes, heartbroken. I keep reading and re-reading every article that I find discussing the pros, cons, and logic of the trade. I go back and forth between being angry at Sam Presti and James Harden. I feel badly for Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, and Lazar Howard getting mixed up in the shuffle and receiving so little attention in this deal. I wonder how much the quality of life differs for one receiving a $53.5 million income versus a $60 million income. I contemplate the meaning of Team is One and I feel sad.
I understand James Harden’s motivations when I remember that this is his job. I understand the decisions made by Sam Presti when I remember that this is his job. I understand that this is their business, but it is not mine. This is my first professional sports team, and I am emotionally invested in the team and its individual players. I want great things for James Harden; I want better things for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Tonight is our first game of the season and I’m nervous…mostly for my emotional well-being.