Yes, I plan this in advance. And no, I don't feel like plunging back in yet, this close to the end of both the college and NBA seasons.
I drifted away from basketball around when I moved into this apartment five years ago. TV-less and burned by the Blazers (who broke my heart first on the court, then off of it with jackassery and other bad behavior), I didn't feel like following the NBA. (During this time I happened to listen on the radio to one particular game, followed by the famously awk-warrrrrd press conference with then-Blazer Rasheed Wallace, who answered every single question with "Both teams played hard.") And college ball was dauntingly broad; I didn't know any program anywhere near well enough to feel I could root for one. (Oregon Duck basketball when I'd been in college at UO was competent but non-spectacular, at best, though I join many Ducks in my love for old and funky McArthur Court, where you're almost on top of the court and you almost feel you need to be strapped to the wall, you're so tilted in the stands.)
I was vaguely curious about the attempt to resurrect the American Basketball Association, whose team the Portland Reign played (when competing teams showed up) at Warner Pacific College, so my jones wasn't going away. I just usually ignored it.
It hit me about two years ago that Hey, I am kind of missing it. Then I forgot that I missed it.
But after the draft when the Blazers picked Greg Oden, I decided OK, it looks like the Blazers are becoming a team I can root for again, like it was in the Nineties, plus they've cleaned things up to try and get the bad taste out of our mouths. But...I'm gonna give them a year before I start rooting for them again. I think they need a shake-out year.
They're in that shake-out year. And I've watched with some amusement as a lot of Portlanders have gone frickin' bipolar about this team: the Blazers can do no right. Then (in December, with the 13-game winning streak and some great squeakers of wins) the Blazers can do no wrong. And now, again, the Blazers can do no right. A lot of Portlanders are weathering the ups-and-downs, and bitching in the process; I've tried to remain detached from that, dipping into basketball coverage at most. (And I think some people want the Blazers to suck, like it's some karmic payback for choosing Oden who then had the knee injury that benched him for this season.)
I'm waiting because I want to follow from season's start. I don't want to be all fair-weather about it. Part of me's wanted to root for or at least follow the Houston Rockets -- I've always kind of liked coach Rick Adelman -- but to do so now, when the Rockets just reached the second-longest winning streak in NBA history, would be fair-weather. But I'm willing to be there through whatever the Blazers weather.
As for college hoops, next season -- to brush up -- I should get advice from my family members who watch lots of it: Mom, Dad, Aunt Nancy Walsh up in Olympia, they can teach me stuff.
Oh, and my best basketball-rooting experience so far? High school hoops when my cousin Jeff was playing for Dayton (Oregon) High in 2001, along with future Duck and NFL player Dante Rosario, their team going to and winning the state championship. And I was there for that season! Not for the finals, because I couldn't spare the time away from work to go with the family to Pendleton, but for the games in the Willamette Valley. Good times, and good wins by good kids. Fun. Which is what sports should be.
(This entry was brought on by seeing some highlights of March Madness and thinking Whoa. Good shots!)