A Brooklyn Forest

Most years I would have been really upset about Duke making a second round exit during the NCAA Tournament. That happened today. True story: I threatened to run away from home in 2001 when Duke trailed Maryland by 21 points during a Final Four game. I had a backpack filled to the brim with everything I needed and even went so far as to take my Razor scooter out to the front porch. I was 10 years old. Duke ended up winning 95-84 and eventually defeated Arizona in the National Championship a couple days later.

I have a lot of other stories about my fanaticism regarding Duke University’s basketball team, but that is by far the most pathetic. Most of the others involve me throwing all my team apparel in the trash can after they lost games or tossing my mattress about my bed frame. It’s an awkward time in life when your worst problems are inconsequential college basketball games.

What is strange about being 32 — or perhaps, what’s normal about being 32 — is that I really don’t give a fuck anymore. If truth be told this season I paid less attention to Duke, my no-doubt-about-it favorite sports team for roughly 20 years, than I have since 1998 or some shit. It wasn’t necessarily that I don’t care (even though I don’t), and part of it probably had to do with the Chiefs going so deep into the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl that I lacked the time. I can’t deny that. What it is, I think, is I need the games to mean something. I used to live and die by meaningless regular season contests. Nowadays I understand that the only thing that matters is the NCAA Tournament. Duke lost in the second round this year. Oh well.

But I’ve alluded to this in some of my Chiefs blogs over the course of that season. The real reason sports have taken a back seat over the last six months or so is because I have shit going on in my life. “Shit” is doing a lot of work in that sentence. But I don’t owe it to anyone to get any more specific than that, even on a blog that pretty much nobody reads.

This is the final article of my age-32 campaign. In 25 hours (it’s currently 10:50 PM on March 18th) the clock is going to strike midnight and it will be March 20th and I will officially be a 33 year-old. A handful of hours after that and I will be in Las Vegas with the only person in the world I want to spend any time with, ever, but especially on a day that means something to me. I mean, birthdays are arbitrary as all get out and they don’t matter. But if it is to be my day, why not be with the person I want to be with?

It’s a complicated life that I live, but I opted into it. I didn’t have to; I just want to. I have never liked anything to be easy, and of all the challenges and difficulties and things that keep me up at night as I wonder why I do it when I could just continue on being numb to everything all the time this is something that I have felt is my life’s work. How strong am I, really? How much intestinal fortitude do I possess? Will it all be worth it in the end? Or will I somehow rationalize, even if it doesn’t work out in the long run, that the experience made me better off?

I ask.