For the Love of Basketball
December 15, 2006

The first night we were together we lay in bed drunk. Talking in that way that 4 am makes sense. The way that those first few moments of a new man make sense. Lying there sharing ideas and stories. He says, "I don't have a religion. Duke basketball is my religion." In that early moment of the early morning I knew we were never going to last. That didn't make sense.

What I didn't know, until that point, was how I felt so strongly about the importance of religion. His lack of one, was troubling. It is not important what yours is or who you consider a god. It is important you have one. It means a belief system and a foundation. It is something that roots you and a system you can teach your children. A fondness for college basketball is one thing. To consider it your religion is a whole different story. It apparently also means that you will be devout about spending time watching, talking, and reading about it. After all Coach K is your god, you must treat him accordingly. With all due respect and proper time for prayer and reflection. That may mean endless hours watching games, reviewing play history, reading on the Internet and glorifying past wins. That too was a sign. One that would come later, as the 4 am conversation was in May and as I learned there 'aint no basketball in May.

Don't misunderstand. He was a good person with values, kindness and heart. We had good times. That was a relationship I don't regret. But such a bold statement was apparently a warning for me. One I didn't even know I had. Even in a drunken sleep depraved state. Clearly there were other warning signs. But I already knew how it would end, so why not enjoy the ride? And what a ride it was. Men who worship basketball as gods also know how to drink beer, make 4 am a new bed time, set up stadium seating in their living rooms, and beer pong tables in their driveways. It was several months of heavy partying, a constant stream of people, places and friends. There was always something to do and when there wasn't he made it up. He turned The Bachelorette into a betting game. He decided Martin Luther King Day was a reason for a keg. He even got me to play flag football. A feat achieved by no one past or present.

As with all good things, that too had to come to an end. I figured graduation was the time to do so. He apparently believed otherwise. And discussed as much with his friends. Who are equally as drunk, at most times of the day. After a night on Bourbon street, I was the recipient of a 3 am door bell ring and I let up a disaster of an individual. He smelled of beer, b.o. and cigarettes. He lost a contact lens somewhere. He was post-bachelor party, and post-strip club, and I was half asleep. What happens thereafter is up to your imagination. A few short hours later, laying in bed again, his phone rings. This time the bedroom conversation, is between him and a friend. But the result is the same as it had been a year earlier; I knew it was not meant to be. This was my deductive reasoning, gleaned from my training as a lawyer. Or simply the fact that cell phones are notorious for allowing others to hear your every word. So I heard this, "you are with her? I thought you said last night you went there to break up."

And there it was. Not said to my face, but the message was clear. Maybe that is what you get in a world where NCAA is the bible. Or when you chose to continue a relationship when you even know that it was not meant to be. I don't really think so.

There is not much more of a lesson. Shit happens. Relationships end. And that was inevitable, especially here. Where geography and personalities were never meant to be long lasting. We meet certain people who touch are lives and leave an impression. Or at least some crazy stories, ridiculous pictures, and an ability to watch eight consecutive hours of football. It does not always have to be meaningful and spiritual. It can just be fun. Sometimes there passion is not ours. And clearly where Duke blue is involved, we differ on what spiritual is. From that I learned I truly am not a fan of college basketball. Which has come to be a running theme, just ask Magoo about that. Who knew Florida would be a powerhouse? I also learned how important some values are to me. For that I am thankful.


Blogger magnetbabe said:

Wow. Even I felt a slap in the face during that phone call.
I'm not convinced it was a lack of religion that was the problem as much as a lack of values. If you value basketball (DUKE basketball, yuck!) above everything else, you value too little.

8:43 AM 

Blogger e.b. said:

The phone call was not meant to be overheard and it was probably something he discussed with his friends in a drunk conversation. Like I said shit happens. At least I got to hear it and put two and two together.

2:11 PM 

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