Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy NBA Season... It's starting?

According to ESPN, the NBA season is starting tonight. Could have fooled me. If I never watched ESPN as much as I do, I might have never figured out that the NBA season was starting tonight (I just survived a Hurri-Nor'Easter). I could tell you what day the baseball regular season starts next year, when the hockey regular season starts, and recite the schedule of a good chunk of NFL teams from memory, but I'd never be able to tell you when the NBA regular season starts. It's not because I don't care about the league, far from it, in fact, I hate the league with a burning passion (which many people will argue is a heightened form of caring). But, there are a number of reasons as to why I don't care to watch Celtics/Heat tonight, or any big game all season, and why I'd just rather ignore them.

The 82 game grind of an NBA regular season might be the most meaningless entity in all of sports. A random game between Utah and Milwaukee, for example, means absolutely nothing to anyone except the fans of the two teams, and people who work for the two organizations. You could say that about any league, I know, but even from supposed die-hard NBA fans, they don't care either. I, as a crazy hockey fan, would sit down and watch a terrible Columbus-NY Islanders game because I love the sport and sometimes just watching a hockey game would be worth my attention. I'd go to any MLB game because going to the ballpark is something that you can't experience on your couch. Every NFL and college football game means nearly everything, so of course we'll watch those with eagerness. Even European soccer makes me want to get up early to watch crappy games because they all have an air of meaning and drama to them. An NBA regular season game plucked off the line from January could be dogged by both teams and be a total waste of time to watch. There is no other sport where that is the case.

Even the first 2 rounds of the NBA playoffs don't matter. All that's being done is weeding out the terrible teams that somehow made the playoffs because there are 8 teams from each conference that made it. Does anyone want to watch a first round series between amazing Miami and mediocre Toronto when you know the Heat will win the series in 4 or 5 and it won't even be close. At least the MLB Wild Card game, problems in all, is a one game playoff! Win or go home says it all. The NBA playoffs don't matter until the Conference Finals, but in every other major American sport, every playoff game matters. There is nothing more tense than sitting through an NHL playoff game in OT, but an NBA playoff OT game? I don't feel the tension. In the first 2 rounds of the NBA postseason, there is a sense of inevitability that you feel when you watch first round series that you know who is going to win, and you're stuck watching the games. I don't get that sense from any other American sport.

The most top-heavy sport for me is European Soccer, where it is a guaranteed certainty that one of 3 teams will win a title in most major European leagues. But, there is a sense of drama in the supposed meaningless games because of relegation, which doesn't exist in any other sport. Anyone who watched Survival Sunday (the final Sunday of the EPL season in May), knows what I'm on about. It's crazy amounts of tense. The NBA can't offer you that in a Bobcats-Wizards game. It's meaningless and even the fans of the teams involved know it's meaningless. I'd still watch a Jags-Chiefs game this season (aside from the fact I'm a Jags fan), because even if it's a terrible football game, it's a football game. A terrible hockey game is a terrible hockey game, but I'll still watch it. I'll never watch a terrible NBA game, as it just might be an infomercial. There are so many more of them in that league than any other.

In the NBA preseason, almost everyone predicts that the Finals will be Heat-Lakers. If you completely ignored the NBA until the Finals began in June, and you saw that Finals, you would know that everything else in the season was meaningless. In that respect, I'd much rather be totally off in my preseason predictions  than totally right.

In short, the NBA has games that clearly don't matter, but in all the other sports I love to death, every single game matters, even in baseball, if solely for awards purposes. Every game has to matter for me to care. And in the NBA, since they don't all matter, then I feel I shouldn't give my all in watching them, or caring about them.

Hate is one thing. Apathy fuelled hate is another.

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