I woke up this morning with a couple of war wounds on my wrist and a 20-pound dumbbell bouncing around my skull. There were drunk dials from the night before, because of course.
Last night was amazing. I was in the company of old and new friends, surrounded by a city who’d been waiting for this moment since 1975. It makes my 28-year long wait seem a little short. In the midst of high-fiving strangers and yelling out nonsensical obscenities, I managed to start bleeding from my wrist. C’est les champions.
My friend, who is a die-hard Laker fan, saw my joy in the middle of the 2nd quarter and grabbed my shoulder to calm me down.
“Hey man, act like you’ve been here before.”
“MOTHERFUCKER, I AIN’T BEEN HERE BEFORE.”
I’ve never been here before.
During the last few minutes of the fourth quarter, I was breathing the dead air of anticipation, waiting for an outcome that would reinforce my doubts or shed them forever. That point in time when you’re confident about the future, but there’s still a nagging voice deep inside. While the bar was going crazy around me, I was dead silent. I wouldn’t dare jinx my team by celebrating too early. They were so close to achieving something that hasn’t been achieved in my lifetime.
Then J.R. Smith hit a three. And another three. Hit an inbound pass away. Hustle was coming back. The Cavs came within 4 with a minute to go.
Then LeBron clanks a shot to keep the run going. I see Steph and Draymond beginning to celebrate. I start to release some of the tension in my shoulders.
The clock hits zeroes.
For the first time in my life, the team I loved the most won everything.
I want to say that I immediately lost my shit and started hugging strangers. I want to say that I broke down in tears as years of waiting were finally justified. In the moments after the game ended, I just stood there, hands to mouth, putting all my focus into breathing. With each passing breath, the truth of the moment began to pass into my lungs, radiating out to the rest of my body, finally making its way to my vocal chords.
We are championship.
As we walked to my friend’s car, we ran across a fellow fan who held out his hand for high fives and yelled:
“NOBODY CAN FUCKING TAKE THIS FROM ME. AIN’T NOBODY BREH.”
You damn right. We are championship, bruh.