PAIN


I couldn’t help but notice your pain
(My pain?)
It runs deep
Share it with me!

ImageWrite what you know. That’s what they tell us writers.

As a fan of the Golden State Warriors, I know pain. I know suffering. Over 30 years of it. Each year starts in October with a false sense of hope that quickly becomes crushed into a powder of bitter frustration by December. Sometimes November. Shit, October 31 even.

This false sense of hope is what differentiates and magnifies my particular suffering. At least people with no hope can prepare themselves for heartbreak. My shit hits me from the blind side like it was Aldon Smith, knocking the wind out of me and leaving me sprawled on the ground like a face down, frozen snow angel.

If I met Will Hunting, he’d give me a big giant hug and sob into my neck saying, “It’s not your fault” over and over again.

Me and Life have had some fucked up conversations about the Warriors over the years.

Me: “I love our new draft pick. A smooth lefty gunner with a knack for the game.”

Life: “He’s checking into rehab.”

Me: “Well now he’s out and playing great. I know we don’t have a center, but damn, this Run TMC team is going to reach the playoffs each year and play the most exciting brand of hoops in the history of the game.”

Life: “Sorry, your coach just traded the foundation of your team – the ‘Rock’ if you will – for a guy who doesn’t really care that much about basketball.”

Me: “That’s okay. We just drafted potentially the greatest power forward of all time. Did you see that around-the-back dunk on Charles Barkley?”

Life: “I missed that. But I did just see that your coach made another trade. Oops, there goes your power forward.”

Me: “What the fuck Life?”

Life: “My bad. How about I give you the first overall pick?”

Me: “Cool, thanks! Joe Smith looks real good.”

Life: “Sorry, but I’m going to pair him with Latrell Sprewell and see if young Joe can hang during Sprewell’s all-night alcohol soaked cocaine binges.”

Me: “Come on Joe. You were supposed to be a smart kid. You should know better than to party with Sprewell. Wait, did he just choke his coach? Fuck … ”

Life: “You’re still here?”

Me (dusting myself off): “Hey, this Vonteego Cummings is going to be the steal of the draft.”

Life: “Stop it. Seriously.”

Me: “Tim Young hits that 20-footer all day in practice.”

Life: “You’re really making me feel bad now.”

Me: “Jamison and Hughes! I think we’re on to something?”

Life: “No, I think it’s you that’s on something.”

Me: “Okay, here we go. For real this time. We have something with this ‘We Believe’ thing! Finally, a chance to be a perennial playoff contender.”

Life: “Say goodbye to Jason Richardson and hello to Brandan Wright. Oh yeah, how about a little Hollywood temptation for your boy Baron that will add 30 pounds of pressure onto his already delicate back and knees.”

Me: “Bring it on. What else you got?”

Life: “I got a scooter for your star player. An under qualified business prick named Bobby with short-man’s syndrome. I’m ripping the confidence from the soul of your center.”

Me (close to tears, sulking in the corner and looking up at the ceiling): …….

Life: “It’s not your fault.”

Me: “I know …”

Life: “No, it’s not your fault.”

Me: “I know.”

Life: “It’s not your fault … it’s not your fault.”

Me: “Don’t fuck with me.”

Life: “It’s not your fault.”

Me: Don’t fuck with me, alright?! Don’t fuck with me, Life, not you!”

Life: “It’s not your fault.”

Me (bawling as tears pour down my face): “Oh God!”

EPILOGUE

Seven years ago, I bore my first son. I faced a decision that, in hindsight, should have been given more thought. But for me, it was a no-brainer. My son, too, would be a Warriors fan. And to this day, he has followed this guidance better than any of my parental directives.

After a recent heartbreaking double OT loss to the Denver Nuggets, I found him crying in frustration at the bottom of our stairs. Dear Lord, what have I done? What have I done?

Life: “Yo, now that shit right there? That’s your fault.”

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