I realize, ladies and gentlemen, that I am a nerd. I like to read history books and obscure Italian Renaissance plays every once in a while and, sure, I know what a "worm-hole" is and, all right, maybe I do have a homemade "Count Down to Crystal Skull" calendar hanging in my apartment (the new Indiana Jones comes out tomorrow and I'm SUPER-PSYCHED). Fine. I readily admit to my nerdery.
I like to think that I balance that out by being a sports enthusiast. Of course there is such a thing as being sports nerdy but I will leave that to the side for a moment.
So, I thought today I would share my enthusiasm for the Detroit Pistons. They are playing for the Eastern Conference championship and open the series tonight against the Boston Celtics.
You may ask, "But Nat, don't you live in Chicago now? Shouldn't you be a Bulls fan now?"
And it's not just because the Bulls sucked it up this year.
You see, I was a young lad when the Pistons won two NBA titles during the infamous Bad Boy years at the end of the 80's. I remember watching the games with my parents in the TV room. I grew up a few exits up the freeway from the Palace of Auburn Hills, their arena. I endured the days when the team colors changed from Red, White and Blue to a disgusting sea-weed green, and then back again. I was in the arena when the only redeeming part of the game was Grant Hill. And in 2004, my senior year at U of M, all of my housemates had assigned good luck seats for the finals when the Pistons won their most recent championship.
It's hard to give up a team when you have that kind of fan history.
That last championship in 2004 was the triumph of the team over the individual, we told ourselves. That was the year when a team of relatively unknown players - good players but not 'name players' - went up against a team which had won three of the last four championships and featured the likes of such legends as Kobe "The Next Jordan" Bryant and Shaquille "Kazaam!" O'Neal. And the Pistons spanked them by playing good team basketball.
There's nothing better than waxing rhapsodic about your home town sports team winning a championship.
So here we are a couple of years later and it's fundamentally the same core of Piston players - by now 'name players' but still not legends - playing a Boston team that features three high-profile star players with Boston holding on to home court advantage, and of course I couldn't be more excited for the series to start.
How excited am I? Nerd excited. Indiana Jones excited.