Before coming to Boston last September, I was not much of a sports fan, in the sense that I did not follow sports constantly or attended games. I’d check in on the Dodgers’ and Lakers’ standings once a month, but unlike my friends, I didn’t have favorite players or went to games often. I’ve gone to three MLB games in my life (two Dodgers games, 1998/9 and 2007; one Angels game, 2005, which had the bitter farewell in the form of a “protest” by SOSers) and they’ve been all free. Soy codo, ¿y qué?
I can’t work myself up to be gung-ho over a sports team’s performance, trades and drama. The only sport that approximate that level of support is fútbol, and even then it has to be FMF (¡CHIVAS!). I’m just not a sports kind of fellow. Since I’ve been here in Boston, however, I’ve slowly been moving more and more towards becoming a fan. Maybe it’s how devoted New Englanders are to the Red Sox, Pats, Celtics and Bruins that changed my perspective towards fanaticism. I started following the Dodgers last September as they were close to getting the wild card spot, but then they lost ten games and were eliminated. Depressing, I know, but so it goes.
Being in Boston, however, always brought up the question of basketball: “Are you a Lakers fan?” (Most people figured I was from L.A. because I wore my Dodgers cap almost religiously, sometimes alternating with a Red Sox cap). The rivalry has been dormant for a while (maybe a decade or two), but it continues in the minds of Celtics and Lakers fans. It was on my mind in November, when I checked the Lakers’ schedule and saw they had a game the day after Thanksgiving at Boston. I wasn’t going home for that weekend, but a bit of home was coming my way!
I started looking for friends to go with and tickets to buy and we were able to snag six tickets really, really high up in the stands of the Garden, but at that point, any tickets were great. It was my first pro basketball game and it was Celtics-Lakers! I couldn’t contain myself as I rode the subway with my friends and stood out like a purple-and-gold (in my case, blue) thumb in a sea of green.
I don’t own Lakers clothing (¡codo!), but I figured my Dodgers cap and N.W.A were L.A. enough. Once at the Garden, we saw a number of Lakers fans, almost all wearing Kobe or Fisher shirts (0.4!). We sat in a section completely surrounded by Celtics fans, got a number of catcalls. We were even called “fahckin’ bahnies!” for rooting for the Lakers. The game was a good one, with our fearless leader, the Governator, in attendance with family (I’m sure they were visiting the Kennedy Compound), and a number of other luminaries. The game was a good one, though the Celtics won it in the end, 107-94 (not a sign of things to come, not a sign of things to come). Kobe was booed every time he got the ball in his hands when only the previous year Celtics fans were applauding him and shouting “MVP!”
After this experience and the Dodgers getting Joe Torre, I started getting more into sports and started following the teams with more regularity. I tried to see their games online, but very few regular season games were streamed online and I could not make the time for them. I followed their standings, saw the stats, and all was good. When the time came for the Red Sox-Dodgers game at the Coliseum, I made sure to watch it because I knew that would probably the only time a Dodgers game would be shown in New England in the whole season, barring a World Series appearance. Though I wish I had been there (I could have. The game fell during spring break), it was great seeing the Blue once again.
Chivas and fútbol remain at the top, but those two other sports and teams now connect me more with home. Now that the NBA Finals is once again Lakers-Celtics, I am happy to know that I’ll be able to experience it from the other’s perspective, being the fan of the currently most-despised team in Boston (not hated; that’s for the Yankees), even if it is for just a game or two before I return.
Don’t expect to run into me at a Lakers, Dodgers, Clippers, Kings, Galaxy, or Avengers game, though. I’m too much of a codo to go, especially by myself. However, when Chivas comes and plays in L.A. or Chivas USA plays, keep a look out. I might be there, screaming culero along with everyone else.
Crossposted over at my blog.