Polar Bear on the Loose

Chronicles of a polar bear's life in society.

Email: mercuryranch AT yahoo.com

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Here we are on the eve of a Spurs game. The first game in the final series of 2003; the 2003 NBA Championship is on the line. Why on earth do I care? There isn't a soul in the NBA organization that cares about one teensy, tiny (figuratively speaking) polar bear fan. There isn't even a single soul in the Spurs organization that cares one way or the other about me personally. So, just why am I all fired up about this?

On one level, in my observations of the Spurs organization (if I block out the Dennis Rodman aberration), they have character. Yes, everything they do is designed to win the championship, but they choose to do so by building a cohesive team able to focus on winning basketball. They win basketball games by signing players who are willing to share the spotlight, because it takes a team to win basketball games consistently. They sign players who will contribute to the community, because when they can do this and aren't spending all their time in police stations being bailed out, they can show up for practice and be prepared to play winning basketball. I cheer for the Spurs because I can see an essence of the illusion of what sports are supposed to be all about--character, sportsmanship, work ethic, and, like it or not, role models for youth and adults to look up to and, maybe, emulate.

Sadly, the players, in many organizations, are the cash cows that bring in the money for the big business organizations. (The cynical side of me says this is true in all professional sports organizations.) The players are expendable. Use them up and throw them away. Hire new ones when the next big name comes along (say, some recent, unproven high school graduate?). The organization rakes in the dough and tosses peanuts to the real entities. All this comes at the expense of the fans. Few average people can afford more than nosebleed seats sponsored by local businesses on special nights without spending a minor fortune to take the family out to the ballgame (if you have to watch on TV, why not stay home and save the dough?). I'm not saying the Spurs organization isn't this way to a certain extent (yes, they renegotiated David Robinson's contract two years ago so he made less money, and they had more room on the salary cap). Except in arena dealings (we need a bigger arena, the arena's too big, and now, again, the arena's too small--give it up already, make do or suck it up and go back to the Dumb Dome--or finance your own place next time), they put on a good public relations front. The illusion is there. They have the team, they have the organization, this is their year. This polar bear is looking forward to a good series with the Nets. Go Spurs Go!


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