5/17/2021
Tribes

I'm not a sports guy. I mean, I won't go out of my way to watch it, whether it be on television or in an arena. I may have made a personality trait out of being a Lasallian who has never watched a UAAP game live. I guess I felt it made me special, in a weird way, because I'm not like everybody else.

But, I must reiterate, it doesn't mean that I don't watch sports. I do. Sometimes. If it's caught my interest, I will. Last week I saw tweets marking two years since Kawhi Leonard's buzzer beater - "the shot" that arguably led to the Raptors winning the NBA championship in 2019. I remembered that I actually watched that live, on television, for some reason.

Well, obviously my brother and father were watching it at the time. They always watched these games, even bonded over it. They'd have conversations I would never understand - inevitably, because I don't follow it. But all I really needed to actually stop and watch that last possession is the fact that it's a game 7 and the score was tied. So, for some reason, I saw one of the most highlight reel-worthy shots in, perhaps, all of NBA history, or at least its recent history.

Here I go again, making a personality trait out of nothing. I don't know. I feel smug about having seen it live. I think a part of me never bothered watching sports because I feel like I could never be part of it. My brother has certainly acted as gatekeeper to basketball. I once asked him an NBA-related question and he dismissed me. "Hindi mo naman maiintindihan," he said, and that was the end of the conversation. Well, that's why I'm asking, but whatever. I guess we're all like that, in a way. I say that's why I never bothered knowing a little bit more about the league's dynamics the way I know more about, say, British radio than the ordinary person. Not that anyone's interested.

So, those tweets marking two years since "the shot"? They led me to a YouTube rabbit hole. I'm still a bit of a broadcast geek. That's Kevin Harlan doing commentary, so I rewatch videos of his best calls. That leads to a highlight reel of the best shots of the last decade. That leads to, conveniently, this last weekend, and Kobe Bryant being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, posthumously. (I almost shed a tear at the end of Vanessa's speech.) That leads to me rewatching Michael Jordan's speech during the memorial service for Kobe. I guess this will lead to me listening to "Roundball Rock" again.

I have different entry points, for better or for worse, and I'm tired of - and, also, used to - being told that since I have different entry points, I can't exactly enter. I still remember someone from college mocking me for admitting that the only John Williams composition I am confidently familiar with is "The Mission", a suite he composed for NBC News. (Broadcast geek.) That's informed everything I do. My dislike for going to gigs - something I turned into a personality trait (sense a theme?) when I had the music blog - is almost entirely down to feeling left out in the moments between the sets. I see the same people talking to each other - inevitably, since they go to the same gigs - and I feel unwelcome. I know I don't have to be accepted into the crowd, but I feel like an interloper nonetheless.

You forget those during the sets themselves, though. For the most part, there, in those moments, you are one audience enjoying the music. Okay, maybe I am describing concerts more than gigs. I am certainly thinking of being up against the barricades with Shalla and Dale when we watched Kimbra, or with Shalla when we watched GFriend. But, you know, in those moments you share that one experience. The reactions may be different, but you share that one experience, and everything else doesn't matter.

When Kahwi's two-pointed bounced those four times, we - the folks in Toronto, the folks on their televisions, me, my brother, my father - we were sharing that one experience. Watching that video again in bed last night, I remembered how beautiful it all was. And then, when the high's subsided, they'll go back to their tribes, making conversations I will never bother understanding. I will feel unwelcome again. As I always do. As I always will.

And your responses...

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