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What does it all mean?


As Ricky Christmas approaches this Saturday in Minneapolis against Dallas, there’s a buzzing excitement around the Wolves that would be stronger without the strongly worded wakeup call Kevin Love dropped this week.

As Wolves fans whip themselves to a fever pitch over Rubio’s return and Love’s comments, it’s appropriate to take stock of all the hubbub, and appreciate your favorite pastime for what it is: a game.

Over at Punch Drunk Wolves, Andy G has done just that. If you’re familiar with High Fidelity, you’ll be familiar with the headline and Catherine Zeta Jones.

Andy G:

"“Why do I care?” is the single most hazardous question that a diehard NBA fan can ask himself.“Junkies” like me, and those I surmise to be a large percentage of this blog’s readership, devote considerable time and energy to a game played by rich men we’ve never met.Lending more than surface-level thought to the reasons for such devotion is to risk spoiling the fun for ourselves.  After all, there is more “important” news in any edition of the New York Times and there are [hopefully] more pressing personal matters in any of our lives, whether they be professional, romantic, familial, or otherwise."

This is a slippery slope down which to venture. I suspect most passions run the gamut of ‘more important’.

But the point is he lists the first way to experience sports is as a diehard.

He goes on to report hearing Zach Lowe on a Bill Simmons B.S. report tell how unemotional he is as about Ray Allen wearing a Heat jersey this year:

"[Lowe’s] statement is fascinating not because he draws a line between “fandom” and “analysis,” but because he paints a huge gulf between the two concepts; one that he outwardly admires the ability of Simmons to cross in his coverage of the NBA.Don’t confuse what Lowe–or my interpretation of him, at least–is saying here.  Lowe is not saying that he does not enjoy watching basketball.  I’d be very surprised if there are many things he enjoys more, even if it’s Raptors-Wizards on DVR over his morning coffee. He enjoys watching basketball, but he’s not cheering for anybody.  Instead, he’s closely observing the strategies used, their effectiveness versus different counterstrategies, and doing so all within a context he’s created for himself by studying piles of data and statistics.  By analyzing the X’s and O’s, Lowe takes a different cognitive path to the same general emotion of enjoyment that Simmons experiences from sweating through a Celtics win."

So the second would be analytically — appreciating strategy with a dispassionate eye for detail.

He goes on to list the third:

"Wolves fans at Target Center gave still-in-Cleveland LeBron James a standing ovation a few years back, after he turned in a brilliant performance that spliced domination with showmanship in a way that opposing fans could not help but reward with cheers."

He says this is the Woody Allen method. I’d say it’s like a night at the Symphony — appreciating the performance as art, or a feat in itself. (Aesthetically pleasing, in other words: Fly)

He goes on to cite pieces by Klosterman, Robson — even New York Times blogger, Nate Silver, but — to me — the gist of it is simpler than all the excellent, epic explanation Andy G can muster.

Because I grew up watching KG bound about the court with Steph, jumping out of his skin after defeating the Bulls. Because I saw Ricky Davis jack shots up and Mark Blount and Michael Olowokandi and scads of others drain the life from him before he won in Boston. Because the worthless basketball that followed was so painfully, obviously awful.

And now it’s not. Saturday, Ricky returns and with it the boundless joy of surprise and wonder and all the things that make you realize there is more to this game.