Aug 3, 2008

Native to Seattle

Photo: Seattle Native.

Did you hear the big old news? The Sonics are leaving town. You know, the Sonics? It's a baseb--um, a basketball team in Seattle, and they're moving to Kansas or Oklahoma, or somewhere in The Middle of our country--one of those states that can barely support themselves, let alone an entire professional sports team. I care about the Sonics as much as I care about our official air hockey team--or hockey team, whatever (I believe we have one)--because they let go of my favorite player (I think his name was Ray?), and they never seemed to win (although don't quote me on that). To be fair, had they been on a winning streak or won the NBA Tournament (or Playoffs/Championship/Open/Derby--one of these), I would have been the last to know. And also the last to care.

To me, basketball is an exhausting sport; tiring to play, tiring to watch. To my neck, it's like a drawn-out, bouncy version of tennis; back and forth, back and forth, up and down, up and down, and sometimes side to side. When I was younger, basketball had more of an appeal to me, mostly because 1) I played it, and 2) the good-looking guys. My love of sports was enhanced by the hotshit athletes who had nothing but unrequited love for me, especially the celebrity demi-gods (Michael Jordan, Kobe, Barkley, etc)... what would they have wanted with an underaged, chainsmoking, Certified Sandwich Artist working at Subway in '96? Nothing, that's what; maybe a footlong meatball sub, but that's about it.

Organized sports is a lot like organized religion: it's a bunch of white folks--on the court and in the stands, in the pulpit and the congregation--showing off their prowess alongside a selected group of ethnic people who excel in gospel-singing or slam-dunking, or both; same thing, really. I used to love participating in sports--much more than participating in church--but lately (like, the past 19 years) I've been gravitating more towards Bollywood than volleyball; cheese over activity, that's what I always say. Or what I've been known to say. Or what I've said. Once.

The reason I bring it up is because I love Sherman Alexie. You know, the guy who wrote 'Smoke Signals', and all of those other Native American tales of angst and triumph (or whatever those tales are about). He's a brilliant writer Native American, and he writes amazing Native American stories for Native Americans the world to learn from read. I love him. That's unrequited, too.

Because the Sonics are leaving--for the flat and uninteresting Red State of Okiehoma--The Stranger (our local 'independent newspaper', whatever that means) allowed Sherman Alexie to write a Sonics Death Watch column, detailing tidbits of his own weak and emotional detritus for the masses, or for the Seattle Supersonics, full stop. Without boring you to death, Sherman Alexie is a crazy basketball fan, like boy-band reunion tour crazy. I enjoyed the column, as he is 1) a comedian (gut-busting), 2) a heavenly writer (with God-like powers), and 3) Native American a Seattleite (or better yet, a Native American Seattleite), but felt it was too short to have any impact on our community as a whole, and always wished for a BIG OL' FEATURE written by him--something I could add to my shrine, in lieu of a DNA sample.

And just like that, it was done. While I was dying at work, ignoring my home, resentfully parenting, losing money, freaking out, and floating in and out of oblivion, MY WISHES WERE BEING GRANTED. How's that for good karma? The last time I attempted this, I wished for a pink pony, and received my little brother, Sam, instead; I learned about 'irony' and 'atheism' at a very young age.

The article is about how he testified at the Sonics' trial, for reasons I didn't quite understand or care about; it is funny, filled with curse words, and is written in long-list form, which are the Top Three Reasons you should read this article.

So thank you to The Stranger, the Sonics (soon-to be: the Oklahoma City Bombers), and Mr. Sherman Alexie, for writing one of the only Stranger features I've ever laughed aloud at in a coffee shop; the experience was delightful (laughter!), frightful (Starbucks!), and surprising (laughter in a Starbucks!--I usually just violently eyeroll). Although I did resent him for being in print and getting to say the F-word about 28 times. I never get to have any fun.

If you like basketball, humor, Native Americans, or ALL OF THE ABOVE, please follow the link to this hee-larious article: 61 Things I Learned During the Sonics Trial.

#15. In writing, thinking, and talking about the Sonics' possible relocation to Oklahoma City, I shuffle like an iPod through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and Hall & Oates.

Read it.


barbjensen said...

That was totally worth the twenty minutes I just spent on it. It's not that I'm such a slow reader, I just had to stop and catch my breath and wipe the tears away occasionally.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

I know, right? He's my hero. I aspire to make lists like Sherman Alexie.

Manthony said...

The spirit of the buffalo runs deep in Sherman Alexie's lists. (I'm a card-carrying native so I'm allowed to say things like that without it being politically incorrect.)

konichiwa, bitches. said...

The Sonics leaving Seattle reminds me of a few events during my formative years that changed my life, which I felt were tragic and unwarranted but out of my control, which has given me a complex now. Anytime something good happens to me, I wait for it to be whisked away.

1. Shawn Kemp leaving the Sonics
2. Alex Rodriguez leaving the Mariners
3. Soundgarden breaking up
4. Rage Against the Machine breaking up
5. The formation of Audioslave
6. The building of a stadium the people voted down three times
7. September 11, 2001
8. George W. stealing a SECOND election
9. The smoking ban, which took effect while I was living in Canada and was informed about on the telephone as if a relative had died

I fucking love the Sonics, pissy losers that they are. The stages of grief will be worse than when I wouldn't believe my mom for a year that Santa didn't exist. I may need therapy.

Snotty McSnotterson said...

For me, learning that Shawn Kemp had fathered 800 babies and was driving a Honda Civic (or whatever the details were) would be on that list. The formation of Audioslave wouldn't, but I understand.

I loved having a basketball team, but feel like I was waiting for them to become actual winners before committing to them; I waited a long ass time.