Ode to Obsession: A Family History of Loving the Spurs Too (?) Much
The NBA playoffs are here and, for Spurs fans, short of a miracle, will probably soon be gone.
We got a glorious and dignified round one W at home just a few days ago, and tonight we play game five against the Warriors in Golden State. The odds are not in our favor.
It’s okay, because A) we made the playoffs, for the 21st season in a row, and B) it’s hard to be legitimately upset about an early postseason exit given San Antonio’s deep and glorious playoff history. The fact that we’re even hanging given the circumstances is a testament to the wizardry of this program. I love it all so much.
I might love the Spurs too much, in fact. I mean, I don’t think so, obviously; but other people do. But even if they’re right (they’re not), I don’t think I can change it.
My obsession with the Spurs is generations deep. I don’t even remember ever becoming aware of the team; Tim Duncan was just always a presence in my life, you know? Rooting for the Spurs is a family tradition, forever amen, and we shamelessly take it too far.
Here, in honor of our favorite team, are some of my family’s top Spurs moments over the years:
When the Spurs won the championship over the Nets in 2003, my dad got everyone in the car and drove us from Austin to San Antonio that night, just so we could breathe the champion air, I guess.
While going through old school assignments a year or so ago, we found a writing exercise of my sister Reagan’s from grade school. The prompt: “If you were trapped on a deserted island and could only bring one item, what would you choose?” Her answer: “My Manu Ginobili jersey.” (“4th Grader Immediately Accepts Fate of Death, Reps Argentinian Great To the End”)
In that same vein, I found a journal of mine from sixth grade in which the first entry is a carefully, enthusiastically detailed rundown of Ime Udoka’s last (only?) great game ever, against the Suns in like 2005 or 2006. It is 100 percent the most detailed game writeup I have ever authored, including anything I produced while actually sports writing years later.
My dad, Reagan and I were once given tickets to a Spurs game on the row directly behind their bench. To this day it is one of the best things to ever happen to me. We managed to swipe a bottle of Gatorade half-drunk by Manu, gave it to our best friends, the Bartons, who saved it and then poured it over their son Kyle before his first varsity basketball game months and months later. This is, in retrospect, definitely the most cultish thing we’ve ever done. (We were super mostly kidding about the whole thing, I swear.)
My dad gave the commencement speech at my high school graduation, gave me a general idea of the topic — success versus significance — and asked if there was anything in particular I’d like incorporated. I requested an illustration he’d used before: comparing the retirement speeches of Michael Jordan and David Robinson. Together, we proceeded to theme an entire graduation address for a bunch of theatre kids around The Admiral. Peace out, high school.
We had the Spurs selfie hung in our house for a while. Like, framed.
We had a family taco night — grandparents included — and watch party on the night of Tim Duncan’s jersey retirement, and every single member of our family cried. Not exaggerating. Everyone.
Just a couple months ago, my Chevy Cruze bit the dust. As I moved all the random belongings in it to their new vehicle home, I found the newspaper from the day Duncan carefully preserved in the back pocket of one of the seats. It goes without saying that it has taken up the same spot of honor in the current car. Just a little piece of history and culture for passengers.
I’m sure there are other anecdotes I’m forgetting, but you get the idea.
I thought everyone had a team they loved to that degree until I got to college and saw the looks of fascination on friends’ faces when stories like these came up. It makes me a little sad, but hey, not every team can be as lovable as the Spurs. (Do YOU have a team like this? Please share your stories. It makes me so happy.)
San Antonio, thanks for another great season. Patty Mills, I will literally marry you at any time. And regardless of what happens tonight,
Go Spurs Go.