The next few paragraphs can’t come close to doing justice to my true feelings, which will, on many accounts, seem ridiculous to even spend time lamenting over. That said, the event will be remembered forever and show it’s face as deep scar on my left ventricle should a physician ever ask.
The anticipation was built over a the course of three months. I put in hours of research, countless nights of dreaming, and days of planning to be ready for one big moment that would not only live, but grow in the years to follow.
Now it is possible I was setting myself up, only to fall victim to over selling said single moment. Possibly building a situation so immense it only makes sense that it’s existence was possible in a dream state. Or maybe I constructed an expectation attained only in the movies. It’s possible.
So for now in order to finish my though and hopefully bring closure to heartbreak, I’m going to skip what “did” happen, and simply state what “didn’t” happen. I did not see my favorite athlete play.
Expectation set too high?
The tickets were a gift from my loving and supportive wife. She understands my “manly” sport obsession and puts on a good face when “my” teams loose. This, however, was just too much. While she stood at close distance with the Iphone cam patiently waiting to capture my big moment, it was impossible for her to mishear the wave of groans generated from the ESPN update just minutes before tip off.
Her eyes, a mirror of mine, water filled and red, confirmed the news I refused to believe. “He’s not playing?” I couldn’t answer. I couldn’t comprehend. The day was here and the time was now. He must play. I ran the past four games back in my head searching for signs of distress or fatigue that would suggest he take a game off. Nothing. My grief was quickly entered its anger stage.
In the expensive shoes that I cherish so much because they bear his signature, I stood firm. Halfway on the parquet, politely placed between a sea of 12 year olds and a security guard, my fancy feet were cement blocks as my mind continued to refuse the grave reality.
The picture taking ceased and my outstretched hand that previously pleaded for an accepting high five was at my side. Hesitation took me up three steps then back to the hardwood; two, three, and four times. By the fifth time the national anthem had started and I courageously manged to get myself to the railing where his teammates just passed.
Maybe he’s waiting in the wings. Maybe it’s a strategy. My mind filled with movie quality excuses that only bought me more time to suffer.
Numb, I retreated to my lovingly gifted balcony seat. I safely planted my body in the seat that was scheduled to bring me childhood joy.
Tip to buzzer the game was great and yet my expectation was not met.
Two days removed, I can fully comprehend that athletes are human and subject to the same physical discomforts and ailments as a 32 year old school teacher. Unfortunately, other realities are present simultaneously. Ticket prices, hotel cost, gas, food, time off… the list obviously goes on and my teacher salary obviously does not.
In the end Lebron is still my favorite athlete. I wear the IPromise band because I appreciate and respect what it stands for and what he does. I wear his gear because it connects me to something that is much bigger than myself.
Am I disappointed with my experience; emphatically YES! Am I disappointed with Lebron; less emphatically, but just as accurate, No.
More pictures will come later as it’s still a bit too soon for me to be fully reminded of what did and did not happen.