It’s the basketball season finals again. The sports section of the newspaper whoops and hollers it up about grown men running around a gym in shorts and sleeveless shirts. They divide into two teams of five men, tall and skinny, and start the game off by butting chests and flailing arms in a ooo-rah of masculine demonstration. Their teammates eagerly chase after an orange, round ball, and slap it rhythmically on the slick floor.
Fans show up by the thousands, eager to watch these crazy men growl at each other, shout profanities, step on each other’s feet, bulldoze members of the opposite team, and so forth.
The players seem to find extreme pleasure in running wind sprints from one end of the gym to the other. The green team trips the yellow team. The yellow team elbows the green team. The green team pushes the yellow team out-of-bounds; the yellow team breaks a leg. The fans scream!
The referee, that distinguished fellow running around in a prison uniform, blows his whistle, sticks his arm up in the air (did he forget to use deodorant?) and points his other arm at a player. The player scowls, the coach shouts, the fans roar.
The team members deliberately drip sweat onto the floor, making it slicker than ever, as they wait for the offended fellow to toss the ball towards a circle suspended in mid-air. Fans wave their hands, they wave funny, snake-like things. The ball misses. The fans roar some more.
More wind sprints to see who can run the fastest while bouncing the ball up and down, up and down. Beating everyone to the end of the gym, the winner with the ball gives a wicked grin. In a demonstration of extreme athletic prowess, he jumps eight feet in the air, and slams the ball through a bunch of strings tied together. The fans scream.
Coaches pace the sidelines, gesturing wildly, wiping perspiration from their brow, and shout themselves hoarse in order to be heard. Every so often, a coach steps onto the court. Then, the prisoners with whistles grin, and are quick to call a foul on the poor fellow whose real problem is a bad case of laryngitis.
The fans continue to scream.
The game winds down in the fourth quarter, according to the scoreboard, flashing its stop and go colors. A point for the yellow team! Another point for the yellow team! The yellow team grins. The fans scream some more.
A loud buzz rips through the coliseum. The players stop running. The coaches stop shouting. The ref’s stop whistling. But, the fans still scream. Lakers 83, Celtics 79. Final. Congratulations.