Fall Games (I like sports!)

Ok, so I’ve been a lifelong sports fan. No surprise there. However, my excitement for certain sports kind of ebbs and flows depending on a multitude of variables. Are we competitive this year? Is there a particular player I’m excited about (oh Jimmy Gobble, how I miss thee)? Have I/will I be able to attend any games? Is there any new storylines throughout the season? The list goes on. Some years I’m overflowing with excitement for some sports, other years I keep a passing interest.

There have been some constants; win or lose, I’m invested in how the KC Royals do. I try my hardest to attend at least one Sporting KC game a season. I make it a point to receive updates on the Chiefs. I’ll always keep myself involved in KU bball. Yet, of the four I’ve mentioned, KU, SKC, and the Royals are the only ones who I have consistent rabid interest in, year over year. That will continue, but this fall, some other sports have (for some reason) come forward as my main focus during the cold months.

Since the NBA championship of 2015, I’ve gotten back in to NBA ball. I think that has a lot to do with where I was while that series was going on. The Golden State Warriors were on their way to winning their first title in years w/Steph Curry leading the charge. I was actually in San Francisco and Oakland at the time for work. So when I was done for work for the day, I made it a point to head to a bar or restaurant where the place would be packed with Warriors fans. It was a bit awkward at first; I was usually walking in wearing a Royals hat or shirt and the previous World Series was won by the Giants over my Royals in Game 7…in KC. I thought at first I would get razed pretty hard and eventually they would forget about it. Turns out, I was wrong. In a good way.

The first night I went to watch a game I found a high top table, kept my head down, ordered some nachos and beer, and prayed I would be left alone. 5 minutes later, I get a tap on the shoulder, and the following chat happened:

Me: Yeah?

Stranger 1: You from KC?

Me: Uhm, yeah, just in town for work…

Stranger 2: Cool! We went to KC for the WS and just gotta say, you guys are a great fanbase! And the town was pretty awesome!
(Side note: In San Fran, KC is considered a “town”, not a city)

Me: Thanks…(cautious, waiting for the razing to start)

Stranger 1: While we’re glad our Giants won, we’re pulling for you guys this year! You guys deserve a title!

Stranger 2: Let us buy you a beer!

And the night continued to be a great time of us cheering for the Warriors, reflecting on the best moments of the 2014 WS, and bonding on how much we all hated Joe Buck. Sadly, I don’t recall their names, otherwise I would have made it a point to stay in contact. The reason I bring this particular story up is because I realized something that night with the Warriors fanbase; they were a lot like the us. For a long stretch of time they had struggles and embarrassments. They would see hope and then have it squandered away. Then, some “young bucks” get on the team with a new coach (Mr. Steve Kerr, my 2nd favorite Bull of all time) and there is a sudden culture change. An air of positivity is surrounding the team. And finally, they are in the Finals competing for a championship. I could relate, especially in 2015.

Since then, my interest for the NBA has come back. I mean, in the early to mid 90s, pro bball was my jam! I was a Jordan fanatic (I still have my red Jordan jersey!) and I could not get enough of the Bulls. But once Jordan retired for a 2nd time(!), I started to walk away from the sport. There was this time where I thought there wasn’t anyone for me to follow. Even when Jordan came back for a 2nd time(!), I couldn’t enjoy it. He was a shell of his former self. I mean, yeah, he’d have flashes of brilliance, but it wasn’t the high-flying, tongue-wagging Jordan of yesteryear. His best days were far behind him and I just couldn’t enjoy it. He finally retired (for real!) after the 2003 season and I too stepped away from the game. Even the arrival of “King James” didn’t bring me back; heck, it probably pushed me further away from the game. Everyone was claiming how he was the heir apparent to the throne Jordan had vacated years ago and it just made me mad. “How dare they say that! There can be and will be only one His Airness!” I would scream at the commentators on Sportscenter.

Then when Lebron bolted Ohio for Florida I knew then I would never enjoy pro ball again. The era of the “Super Team” was upon us. Boston did it, Miami did it…hell, last year Golden State did and now OKC has done it. Yeah, the Spurs and Mavericks were the anomalies who found success by just having great coaching and good all-around teams, but most championships were going to whoever could sign the biggest all-stars. And another thing…wait, I’m gonna save that for another post at another time.

Where was I? Oh yeah, San Francisco 2015. After having spent some time with those fans and being reminded how fun cheering for an NBA team can be, I started following again. I was in an interesting position because while I did feel a slight connection to the Warriors, I really didn’t have a team I could call “mine.” So I would watch or keep tabs of games that had interesting matchups or fascinating storylines. During the playoffs I would be watching for a great series from both teams rather than picking sides. Then when the 2016 Finals ended and the Cavs finally earned that first ring, I realized I gotta start picking a team. Because I saw how amazing it was as a Warriors fan to win a title (and experienced as a Royals fan when they took the WS in 2015), I knew I needed to find a fanbase I could connect with. But who? Do I want to stick with the Warriors since I kind of already have a connection to them? Do I give Lebron a chance in his twilight years? Do I invest in “the process” in Philly and cheer on the young upstarts they got over there (where KU is represented)? I’m not sure. But I will say by the All Star break I hope to have it figured out.

What other sport has caught my interest? Well, Cycling of course…

What, no one believes that a big guy like me can enjoy a sport like cycling? Why I outta…ah, forget it. Back on track.

I don’t remember what exactly got me interested in cycling. I know part of it was my sis-in-law who does triathlons so that’s part of it. I just remember I found an old bike in my shed and I started tinkering with it, trying to get it back in to riding condition. I started doing research on what I needed to do and I fell in to a YouTube hole on cycling. Several hours later, I was overflowing with information about the sport and bicycles. I learned about things like Trek bikes, “sportives”, and a “peloton.” I was blown away by the fact that cycling can be a team sport and that there is a ton of strategy involved. I ended up going and watching replays of this year’s Tour de France and would get lost in the spectacle of it. So now I’m all in. I plan on devouring the rest of the UCI season, maybe even forking over the money for the NBC Gold package to watch all of the various championships and tours. I’m saving up for a Trek Verve 1. I’m attending cycling classes until then to build up my strength and conditioning. I’m gonna dive in and make some memories.

And with the cycling, I promise I’m going to do as much updating as I can on it. I’ll tweet, I’ll use instagram, Facebook, and this blog to share my ups and downs. I hope that’ll keep me on track for both blogging and riding.

Keepin’ it Geeky,

J

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