It has been a few months since I’ve written a sports related column. Trying to pass myself off as a worldly tractor driving comic has been fun – but who am I kidding. Like many a NorCal male, I am a sports fanatic. I realize it is currently in vogue to speak about spending weekends with nature, at an outdoor market, or dare I say a museum – in a nutshell culturing oneself. Please save that talk for the Harvard reunion I’m never attending. Put me in an air conditioned room, with a TV and a plate of food and I will gladly watch a curling match between Slovakia and Armenia.
Tuesday night I sat with a group of Warriors fans in my home, as they won their first title in 40 years. Not a person in the room was even born when they last brought the trophy home. I myself am a basketball nomad. My Warrior fandom died in 1982, when their best player Bernard King refused to sign an autograph for me – bite me Bernard!.. It was fine by me, I had been reading the same magazine over and over during Sunday Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Escalon. (Thank god for the Weekly Missal magazine for a young Catholic boy – I could only stained window glass stare for so long) An article about a young Catholic named Isaiah Thomas lead me to become a Pistons fan until his retirement which left me with one option – hello Sacramento Kings.
The rivalry between Warriors and Kings fans is much more congenial than say Raiders and Niners. Both teams have been perennial losers. So in a way, we’ve licked our wounds together for many years...but something happened on Tuesday night that may change the rooting landscape for years to come.
I remember when the Niners won their first title in the 1982 Super Bowl. The majority of NorCal rooted for them that year. As a young Raider fan I saw nothing wrong with seeing a franchise from our area – one that had stunk for years – bringing a trophy to us...and yes, I said “us”...at the time, the absolute hate I now carry for the Niners hadn’t formulated...but I realize now as a 42-year-old man, that words like “us”, “our”, and “we” are pronouns that must be guarded with an iron fist when it comes to team affiliation. They are pronouns that are protected – and to an extent given a value according to your tenure as a team’s fan – or at least that is what the “lifelong” fan will try to force upon you...
I have several lifelong Warrior fans as friends. Nate and Paul Diamantine toiled in the mediocrity of that franchise since we have known each other...but neither wavered from wearing their colors. To them I tip my cap. This Warriors title has the feel of that first Niners title in 82’. The long suffering franchise and loyal fanbase finally having their moment...
….but does anybody, (non Niner fans specifically) remember what those gold and red humans were like circa 89’?!...A disgustingly arrogant lot of “our” and “we” Niners – draped in gold satin jackets and better than you attitudes. In an 8-year span, the joy I was able to share with my Niner fan friends at the beginning of the 80s, had turned into me dancing around the room when Roger Craig fumbled in that playoff game against the Giants in 1990. (Still stings doesn’t it Paul Diamantine?!!). Sports championships happening for a friend’s team is like them bringing over a newborn baby to your house – at first it is cute and tolerable, but after 8 years of continued babies, I get sick of seeing them take dumps all over my carpet. You stink Niner fans.
See what sports does?!..I was trying to focus on something I saw yesterday – and ended up in “I Hate your Team Harbor”
(back to the “we” and “our”)
I was enjoying a little Facebook time in the tractor, when I saw an argument between a Warrior fan and a Laker fan. First off Laker fan, give it a rest. You have won multiple titles. Can’t you give the hoops squad and their fans to the North a few minutes to shine on the podium? The answer is: Of course not – this is sports! This Laker fan had jumped into the middle of a Warrior fan hugfest with this snippet, “Your first title in 40 years – big deal – my Lakers have 16 rings!” Fantastic tactic by this purple and gold idiot, except for one problem – the guy’s age. Dude you are 22 years old! You don’t get to lay claim, and glom onto a title you weren’t even alive to witness?! I watch young Niner fans do this all the time. “Five rings baby!” or “The Quest for Six”?? f you are a Niner fan under the age of 26, then you were only alive for 1 Title – and you were probably not old enough to remember it. Don’t get me wrong. I love when I meet a young enthusiastic sports fan – especially on that knows the history of his team...but knowing that history, and trying to make yourself part of it are two different things.
Local bartender Shaun Bailey puts it like this — “I absolutely love when a kid comes in the bar decked out in A’s gear, and sees my Giants apparel and makes some snarky comment about “how many rings”. My typical response is ‘kid, you were born in 1994, so unless you own a Delorean, you are not allowed to talk to me about sports, music, movies...actually, you are just not allowed to talk to me, now drink that Midori Sour and go home.”
ATTENTION Young Niner Fan: If you can’t tell me what was quirky about Ray Wersching’s pre-kick routine for the Niners in the early 80s – then don’t tell me about the title “we” won in 1982.
My only hope is that this long tenured Warrior fan base can install a little history and humility into their upcoming fan base and — yes hardcore Warriors fans — I know you hate “bandwagon” fans. That is actually what this column was initially supposed to be about – but that column would take 10,000 words. So just be happy with your title. All of NorCal is happy for you. And since I’m considering buying a Warriors T-shirt, you should know this. As a kid in 1982, I loved parades that had flatbed trailers with musicians playing on them. So it is safe to say that I’ve been on the “bandwagon bandwagon” long before you.
Touchy Subject...I read the recent article by Dennis Wyatt, regarding the rise of local massage parlors dealing in nefarious and unsavory activity. Many have voiced their opinions: “This is disgusting!”...”Not in my town”...Some have gone the other route: “Adults should be able to make their own choices”...Either way, I feel an in depth undercover report is not only warranted, but deserved by the people of this fine city. I Will Do It!...Many have issued their concerns at me attempting such an unsafe activity solely for the betterment of our community. I assure you, that much like the delivery of the Manteca Bulletin on a rainy day – I will take the necessary precautions.
Quote of the Week...”He may look like and idiot and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you – he really is an idiot.” — Groucho Marx
Who wants to Laugh?..You guessed it, another shameless plug hidden in Manteca to a T. On June 27 at The Fat Cat Music House and Lounge, yours truly will be hosting his first large production comedy show. Chris Ricci of Modesto X-Fest fame has asked me and comedy partner in crime Anthony Krayenhagen, to produce a series of bi-monthly comedy shows at The Fat Cat. We are hoping to provide top notch comedy at a reasonable price. The monster that is The Gallo Center looms large over most of the Modesto entertainment scene, and while they bring in the nation’s top talent, many can’t afford a $50 ticket. Pretending to Care (PTC productions) is lucky enough to have built up a bit of equity within the comedy community, and have recently been able to get several national acts to commit. June 27 Manny Maldonado makes his way to town for 2 shows – 8 and 10 p.m. He has worked with Dave Chappelle and George Lopez, while appearing on Comic View, Comedy Central, and Comics Unleashed. Ticket price is just $10 – available at Tresetti’s World Caffe in Modesto or by calling 209.524.1400...The town that laughs together, stays together.