The 1993 Houston Rockets championship was the best sports moment of my life. The 2005 University of Texas football championship does come in a close second, though. The reason that the Rockets' championship trumps the Longhorns' is due to my absolute obsession at the time with all things basketball.
I played basketball on a regular basis, papered my wall with posters featuring my favorite players, and wore basketball jerseys. I also collected basketball cards (this accounts for my extensive knowledge of the teams and players of that year). My friends and neighbors also caught Rockets fever after the team won the first 15 games of that season.
We would get together at a neighbor's house to watch the games on Pay per View. My friends and I made voodoo dolls of the players from the other teams. We would rip them apart when necessary. The adults would drink as they got excited and made amazing comments about how one of the other team's player resembled a farmer and how one of our players must buff his head in a bowling ball buffer. And when we played the New York Knicks for the championship, we used to marvel at the enormity of Patrick Ewing's nostrils.
We made many jokes at Patrick's nose's expense. The on-going one was that we could fit a roll of quarters up each nostril. These were not the nicest comments but if you look at the guy's nose I am sure you will see where we were coming from. The great irony of this joke came when I worked at a local record store after college. Patrick was an assistant coach with the Rockets and a regular weekly patron of our store. So here I was, working a cash register with a roll of quarters within arms' reach, when Patrick Ewing- my sworn enemy comes in. God could not have set me up any better to finally determine if Patrick's nostrils could indeed house a roll of quarters. Thankfully or not thankfully- depending on how you look at it, common sense prevailed and I resisted the urge.
When the Rockets won, I was in Heaven. My friends and I celebrated by going outside and banging pots and pans. We held up signs that said, "Honk if you love the Rockets!" and people honked.
So, now that you know a bit of my history with the Rockets; let's fast-forward to today. To be honest, I haven't kept up with the Rockets in the past few years. No other NBA team has stolen my affection, though. I am always a Rockets fan at heart. I recently found out that the Rockets were on a roll again. I decided to become a real fan again. I watched them tie for the second most wins in a row.
Last night, I watched them lose for the first time in 24 games yesterday. Luckily I got to watch it with one of my favorite people and one who was just as zealous as we watched the Rockets in 93, Neha Patel. We went to this place near my house called Beer Island. It looked a lot like a frat party with a hand-painted banner in the front. It was a bar but it did not serve mixed drinks- just beer. The cliental was odd to say the least. Several people brought dogs and for a moment, it seemed that two were going to fight. There was a strange 50ish biker chick with several jump drives hanging from her neck. She was accompanied, quite naturally I must say, by a large biker-esque guy with a mullet. There were some young college-types. There was a lady who was quite loud and enthusiastic, wearing a duct-tape shirt that said 22-0. She really should have updated it to 23. She was obviously excited but strangely alone. She made a lot more sense when her friend came, also loud and also wearing a homeade shirt.
Overall, it was a fun/funny atmosphere despite the loss. And I always love to spend time with Neha. Despite the loss, I am still going to be a fan.... at least for this season.
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