I watched the Magic-Purple game last night with some folks who know me but don't know much about my basketball-watching habits other than that I am a Celtics' fan.
Their initial assessment was surprise:
"I thought you were a Celtics' fan! When did you start rooting for the Orlando Magic?"
"Tonight." I said. "For me the basketball world is reduced to two things, rooting for the green and rooting against the purple."
"That's a lot of hostility, Lex. I'm not sure I'd call what I see rooting against a team so much as an expression of Two Minutes Hate from Orwell's 1984."
They had a point.
As a general matter, I can get through most every day without even thinking about the purple, much less getting worked up over them. But once I commit to watching them play, it's as if I summon up every negative thought and feeling from the 1980s and just spend the entire game venting, or maybe the the right word is "exploding." I'll never forget game 5 of the 1986 Western Conference Finals because it was such a cathartic moment.
"Yeah, Lex. I'm gonna have to think about this. You're so mellow. It's hard for me to imagine that something like a basketball game can transform you into a raging lunatic."
"Every basketball season has two ways to end happily," I said. "The Celtics can win and the Lakers can lose. I can live with the Celtics losing. I can't live with the Lakers winning. So every big game they lose is another sign that I'll have a happy offseason."
Silence descended over the table as they absorbed this odd human behavior that I've allowed to occupy my being.