Crunch Time

I respect the NBA playoffs because it’s really the only thing that matters in professional basketball. Some teams produce gaudy regular season records only to flounder in the first or second round when it counts. Other teams fuck around and put themselves in worse position, seeding-wise, because they know they can turn it on whenever they want. In the end, the best team usually wins it all.

This isn’t the case in the NFL or MLB. In the NFL there are only 17 games, so teams must generate wins over the course of the regular season to get into the playoffs. And once they are there, all manner of whacky shit can cost them everything they have worked for. In baseball there are too many games, but games still must be won. And in that sport, opposite of the NBA, the best team rarely wins. Too much luck is involved on a daily basis during a 7-game series.

That is why the NBA is so great, because it imitates real life better than any other sport. I can identify with it. Out of something like 850 kids I graduated with in high school I believe I only ranked like 165th according to grade point average. And we all know who excelled in that department: it were the hard workers. (To be fair I am not knocking them, they did their thing.)

Where I excelled was, if I dare say, what actually mattered. I never learned how to study — which is ultimately why I failed in college (among other non-school-related factors) — but I did kill all the important end-of-semester exams and I did great on my SAT. My statement when I applied to colleges was incredibly me; I basically told every university that they can accept me and I can do great things and have my name attached to [insert school here] or I can go somewhere else. I don’t know where any of that came from, but it was what I did. I got accepted to each school I applied to and inevitably chose Virginia Tech because it was the best of the bunch.

What matters is being remembered. I could always do what everyone else does and be nice and say the right things all the time, but where is the fun in that? There are those who max out their potential but don’t have a lot to work with, and there are those who always have something left in reserve for the opportunities when it counts. I am old enough to know that hard work means a lot. I am also real enough to understand that showing up when there is actually some consequence, when something is on the line, is what differentiates all of us. You either have it or you don’t.

The same concept applies to interpersonal relationships, and everything, really. I would not be in the position I am now if I played it safe. I have to talk my shit. I have to make people uncomfortable. When you are used to getting your way all the time, I am probably the wrong person to enter into your life. Again, it’s not about right now. It isn’t about tomorrow or the next day or the next week or the next month, even. It is about being remembered. I am in the business of Forever. I always have been.

Forever can be very fleeting. I get bored with people easily. Nothing is really ever enough because I, too, am used to getting my way all the time. It takes something special to feel the fear that I am not in the driver’s seat in every single situation. But that’s also the spice of life to some degree. The sun comes up, and the sun goes down. That’s not really what’s going on, though. Instead we’re all just revolving around it.

It’s kind of why I respect the NBA playoffs so much. Because it’s not about today, it isn’t about yesterday, it isn’t about tomorrow. It’s about arriving when it is time to arrive. I have disappointed so many people in my life who have gotten high off of the sugar rush that is me, the transient fix that I deliver to them, the thing that separates me from all the randoms and non-randoms that occupy their time, and in the end I just wasn’t around anymore. They had no idea who I was, or what I was in it for. I was only there to pass my own time, knowing all the while that it was me being remembered and not them.

That is what makes today so unique. I know that everything and nothing is coming for me, and it always has been. It’s supposed to be temporary and it’s supposed to last forever at the same time. I am going to be remembered whether I like it or not, whether I try or I don’t try. But it has been a long time since I have considered what it’s like to be on the other side of this paradigm, where I know for a fact that I will remember. Whether I like it or not.

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