Monday, June 13, 2011

Wow, does that feel good. Thank you, Dirk Nowitzki!

I grew up as a New York Ranger fan just a few miles from Nassau Coliseum when the hated New York Islanders were winning four Stanley Cups in a row in the '80s. I think that's why I am so thrilled about the Dallas Mavericks beating the arrogant Miami Heat for the NBA Championship last night.

Those Islander teams were entirely too good - Billy Smith, Mike Bossy, Bryan Trottier, Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin and so on - so the only thing we Ranger fans could do was accuse them of lack of class. [This charge coming from fans who chanted obscenities about Denis Potvin and domestic abuse... or who urged Flyers goalie Bryan Hextall to buy a Porsche because his predecessor, Pelle Lindbergh had been killed in a car accident in a Porsche... ah, the memories.] In some sense, we were the equivalent of Jews in the ghetto finding negative things to say about their powerful oppressors, regardless of how absurd or far-fetched, just to be able to say something at all.

It took me years of sports fanhood to overcome the memories of being a grade schooler and high schooler surrounded by fans of a team that won many more games, and many more titles, than we did. In the last several years, though, as I found very little time to pay attention to sports, the whole issue receded in my mind -

- Until there arose a team so arrogant, so classless and yet so talented, that it was the New York Islanders of the '80s all over again, and for real. Who cares if it was the wrong sport, and it revolved around a player [Lebron James] I had admired until then for his work ethic and humanity? Conspiring to join forces as though three powerful players could constitute a team, declaring themselves a dynasty before they had won a single game, celebrating and partying on an international stage - yes, I was good and ready to despise them.

Humility is good, Lebron, and it doesn't come from saying, "I'm humble," as you like to declare. It comes about when you suffer humbling experiences.

So now that Dallas has dispatched the Heat, I'm feeling pretty good. Is it beneath me? Probably. File it under indulging my inner child.


  1. Humility is good, Lebron, and it doesn't come from saying, "I'm humble," as you like to declare. It comes about when you suffer humbling experiences.
    How about "It comes when you realize that the world is not about what you want, it's about what HKB"H wants of you"

  2. Sorry, R. Mordechai, but I think your recollections of the early '80's are a bit skewed. The Islanders were indeed the best team in the league, but the reason Ranger fans hated them was b/c the Rangers hadn't won anything in 40 years (at the time; they ended up waiting 54 years in total) and they were simply jealous that an expansion team in their backyard was so well-run that they quickly became the best team in the league. Now, the Islanders franchise might not last past 2015, so Ranger fans might yet get their wish.

    And in any case, I agree with you re: the Heat.

  3. 1. We lived on LI during many of the Islanders' glory days. The team was solid, well-coached, not chippy, and had a great work ethic and excellent community relations---a combination not too easily criticized on the merits except by twisted Ranger fans!

    2. Lebron (what a name) and his fellow millionaires will have other chances to step up, as they may well do. Good coaching wouldn't hurt, but they have to want to be coached.

  4. It is especially appropriate that it occurred with this past week's
    parsha and ,lehavdil,description of Moshe Rabenu,s values.

  5. AnonyJoel-
    Can you unpack that?

    ysh, Bob-
    There was also a lack of class on those Islander teams, if not as great as we made it out to be. Billy Smith slashing at the backs of defensemen's legs... Potvin's check on Ulf Nilsson when his skate was stuck, breaking his ankle...

    daat y-

  6. ירמיהו פרק ט

    (כב) כה אמר יקוק אל יתהלל חכם בחכמתו ואל יתהלל הגבור בגבורתו אל יתהלל עשיר בעשרו:
    (כג) כי אם בזאת יתהלל המתהלל השכל וידע אותי כי אני יקוק עשה חסד משפט וצדקה בארץ כי באלה חפצתי נאם יקוק: ס
    Joel Rich

  7. I had forgotten about Billy. He was pretty good at keeping his area clear.