Happy 57th, King.
Kendrick Perkins | Gordon the Big Engine
So I’m starting to do more non-sports writing, specifically about my experiences in Chicago and in the improv community, so if you guys want to keep up with me, you should follow it. Occasionally personal and dark but also fun and lighthearted too. The whole nine. There will still be occasional sports writing here. That is all.
(an original piece by B.W.)For a little while, he kept his eyes shut tight in the dark, hoping that sleep would come because there was nothing else to do. Eventually he just gave up, went into the little hotel minibar and cracked open a mini bottle of Jameson. Drank the thing in one gulp. Fuck it, he thought, I don’t have anywhere to be tomorrow. He chuckled to himself at the justification, before he realized that he only had himself to negotiate with. He instinctively checked his phone, waiting to hear back from someone. Tony was probably out at the club, he was still young in that way, and Manu had Marianela to absorb the blow. He thought about Amy for a second, then he put the phone back down on the bedside table.
He gingerly ambled into the bathroom in a manner befitting a thirty-seven year old in a young man’s profession. Took a look at himself in the mirror, framed by those movie-star-dressing-room round bulb lights. The scraggly beard hairs now flecked with silver. Getting old just creeps into you, he thought. One day and it’s just there, and you never get to go back.
He could see the last play again. He was set up in the post just like he wanted. Made his move and saw the basket just like a million other times. The orange of the rim, the white of the net, the corresponding symmetry of the painted square on the backboard. This time it just rolled out, bounced off, every which way but down. There were a hundred other things that happened that led to the result but the last thing is all anyone remembers.
He knew he had won enough, there was plenty of triumph already. In some way that made it worse. Knowing that they would still love him, that the legacy was still intact, this night a minor blip on an otherwise unimpeachable career. Mistakes slowly diminishing over time. He wanted it to matter there, at that moment, in the hotel room. For someone to just be mad at him, right there, to be truly and viscerally angry at him. He knew he was asking too much.
He slowly rubbed the fading circles around his eyes before flicking the bathroom light off, lurching through the stillness of the room, back towards the California king and the hope of rest, silence, and end to the day. He heard the muffled thud of a firecracker going off somewhere outside. He knew it was for him. One city celebrates while another sits on its hands, waiting for next year. That was all he had, at that moment, is the knowledge that there would be a next year, and the hope that maybe next year he would reach the summit. The ounce of hope was enough, and within a few minutes he finally succumbed to sleep.
Pending jams for pending summer.