I'M A fan of the National Basketball Association. I’m not a fan of basketball as a game, per se, because if I am, I would have been a follower of the Philippine Basketball Association, too, which I’m not.
I just love how the NBA plays the sports--which makes me a fan of the league, not of basketball, which means that if “NBA” stood for “National Batolata Association” and Stephen Curry was its most valuable player, I would be a fan of Curry, not of batolata, which means I’m not making sense here, so let’s proceed to the next paragraph.
I was introduced to the NBA when I was a college seminarian in Mabolo in the ‘90s. It was said that our generation of priest-wannabes was fortunate to have witnessed how Michael Jordan brought the game to perfection. We spoke of Jordan the way we spoke of the Four Evangelists.
If anybody that time recommended Jordan to the Vatican for canonization, nobody would have laughed – although now I think he must do something about his tongue because the last time I checked, the Pope doesn’t canonize a candidate who wags his tongue like that while shooting balls.
My love for the NBA started as purely academic. I loved the NBA because every time it was the Chicago Bulls on TV, the seminary priests suddenly fell ill and had to lock themselves up in their room, so no classes. They were so sick all they’d do was scream “Go Jordan! Go Pippen! Silly Rodman!” It was by listening outside their door that we kept tabs on the score.
And if the Bulls lost, we had better prepare the next day because the priests got over their frustration by giving us a long exam, longer than Jordan’s tongue.
Jordan retired. I quit the seminary. But I remain an NBA fan to this day.
That’s why it was a big deal for me that I missed yesterday’s Game 2 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The reason: it was back to school for our four-year-old and he wouldn’t leave the house without his parents.
I knew it was also difficult for him because he had grown to love the NBA after watching the playoffs with me last summer. He loves it so much that in any game, he cheers for both teams, or for whoever happens to be holding the ball. “Shoot that ball, shoot that ball!” he once screamed at the referee.
Knowing that it was Game 2 yesterday, he decided it was just fair that we missed the game, too.
The way I see it, he wants to be a basketball superstar someday. At home all he does is shoot balls at imaginary baskets. One time I was having breakfast, he threw the ball so hard it landed on my bowl of noodles. In my anger, I said, “Enough. This has to stop. No more noodles in the house!”
Here’s where my problem lies. How do I tell him nobody plays basketball in the family? There’s not a name in our family tree that’s connected to any sports, let alone the Sports of Tall People. My father only stood five feet tall, on tiptoe. I’m 5’4,” 5’5” when wearing shoes. That’s a midget in basketball standards.
The family tree shows we’re not of athletic blood. There’s a grandma who sells vegetables, an aunt who dances the chacha, an uncle who decorates carrozas, a relative who grows orchids – jobs that don’t need height to excel in.
With his daily dose of Cherifer, does the four-year-old expect to break this cycle of smallness in the family and run off to be a basketball MVP? I hope so. But I remember how Star Margarine disappointed me big time.
Back home from school yesterday, I told the boy we were going to play NBA. He said, “Yey, I love NBA!” I found an empty milk can and an old pair of slippers, and showed him how to play the game.
(@Insoymada on Twitter)