Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Pre-Game Anticipation

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Pre-Game Anticipation

Article excerpt

The best thing about sports is not the sports. It's not the games, matches, and duels. It's not the confrontations. It's not the competition.

Rather, by far the best thing about sport is the anticipation of sport.

It's exactly like real life, where the best aspect is not necessarily living it but anticipating it. Now, this is no down-in-the-mouth diatribe about how things never turn out right, blah, blah, blah. That's absurd. Of course, they do. Why, let's see, there was that exquisite moment back in the summer of '74, or was it '75, when.... Then, just before that, in perhaps the autumn of '56, yes, definitely the autumn of '56, when .... Oh, stop. Relax. Don't click on your e-mail and berate Your Humble and Obedient Columnist for his negative outlook. That's a joke. A tiny, little joke, a 1 on the official 10-point Sporting Scene joke- o-meter. Certainly things work out. Life not only can be good but often is. Yet, make no mistake, there is absolutely nothing like the anticipation of what it will be. Be honest. Did a school dance ever measure up to how much you looked forward to it? Graduation? Did the new diet regime deliver what you imagined? Did the new girlfriend or boyfriend, turn out to be Rhodes-smart? (And did you care? Sorry for the digression.) Was the weather as good on your vacation as you had hoped for? Did Mr. Right perchance ever turn out to be Mr. Wrong? These days are perfect examples. We are just into the NBA championship series between Chicago, the block bullies with the swaggering attitude and supporting talent, against Utah, the never- quite-good-enough good guys anchored by the consistently sensational team player in a me, me, me sport, John Stockton. Who knows how the best-of-seven series will go down but we're having the best part right now: The anticipation of each game. Gosh, maybe Michael Jordan will score 60 points in one game. Maybe he will be held to three and generally have his ears boxed by super Jazzman Karl Malone. Maybe Dennis Rodman's gross tattoos will fade and he will behave and convert to the Mormon Church. Come on, it could happen. …

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