My Shameful Admission
It is with a heavy heart that I must write that I will do something that I am ashamed of tonight. You see, this evening at 7pm, there will be two athletic contests going on in downtown Milwaukee.. At the Mecca Arena, UWM will be playing their second exhibition basketball game against UW-Platteville, the alma mater of the Panthers’ new coach. A former student will get the chance to show his earliest supporters just how successful he’s become, while a group of division three athletes will get the unique and exciting opportunity to play in a division one arena. Meanwhile, next door at the larger, more luxurious Bradley Center, the Milwaukee Bucks will take on the Golden State Warriors in a game that mildly resembles basketball. The contest will take place solely as a means to provide millionaire owners the opportunity to increase profits through the sale of concessions and merchandise. In an uncharacteristic move, I will be at the latter event. And I will check my soul at the door.
I could try to tell you that I’m making this decision for solid basketball reasons. After all, it’s only an exhibition game for UWM, and I’m going to get to most of the Panthers’ games this year, anyway. The Bucks are hot right now, and with their three game winning streak to open the season and tons of exciting new stars, Milwaukee is whipping itself into a frenzy, and it’s something that I should see. Besides, most of these guys played college ball, and I just want to check up on what they’re doing in the pros.
Unfortunately, all of those justifications would be lies. There’s no such thing as "only" an exhibition game–every college game is special to me. And the excitement in Milwaukee about the Bucks? Maybe that’s somewhat true, but I’ve never been sucked in by excitement over the Bucks before. I don’t think I’ve even been to a game in the last two seasons. And the former college athlete angle is just flat out a cop-out. Sure, it’s kind of neat that I remember what some of these guys did in college, but they’re not doing the same thing anymore. As I noted prior to this summer’s NBA Draft, after collegians move on to the NBA, they are basically dead to me.
So why am I going to the game? My buddy Dez, who to his credit is one of my more frequent game viewing partners and has already stated a desire to see more division three and high school games this year, has a sweet ticket hook-up tomorrow night. So rather than scrounging to find someone who finds it as interesting as me to watch the UWM Panther play a game that doesn’t count in the standings, I’m taking the night off and socializing over some pseudo-hoops with three friends. And my soul would feel dirtier if not for the fact that I know that on most nights, the guys that I’ll be with would take an NCAA game over the Bucks in a micro-second. Rest assured, the NBA experience will be openly mocked by all. So my soul is at least somewhat cleansed by the fact that I’m not picking the NBA over UWM, I’m picking three good friends.
So forgive me for again deviating from my schedule. It has been an emotionally trying time, and I don’t think I’m stable enough to make three bold predictions. So this is what you’re getting today. And tomorrow, I’m calling another audible, since I can’t recap the UWM game. Seeing as I’m going to my first NBA game in 2-3 years, it’s probably as good a time as ever to review the reasons that I hate the NBA. For today, though, the reason that I hate the NBA is that it is making me hate myself.