If Lebron Is “The Decision,” Does That Make Me “The Waffle?”


“I’m, like, a superhero. Call me Basketball Man.” ~Lebron “The Decision” James

One way to keep warm during January in Cleveland

Let me set a couple things straight here. I don’t hate Lebron James. I’ve never met the guy. He might be all right; I have no idea. What I do hate is what he represents. I’m talking about people who have all the talent in the world and seemingly no humility to go with it. When I think of the true legends of sports: Michael Jordan, Lou Gehrig, Chris Evert, Secretariat, for crying out loud…they’re the ones who keep the silly comments to themselves. And oh, yeah, they’re the ones who’ve actually WON championships. Lebron, the King of Choke, the Lord of No Rings, is 0-for-2 in that department.

Again…this Lebronimosity I feel isn’t really personal. I don’t even care about the NBA with the exceptions of the Finals and maybe the conference championships. It’s a bunch of guys with more talent and far more money than I’ll ever have. It’s entertaining enough when it matters. To use a coaching cliche, it is what it is.

Or is it? This year, for some reason, I really got sucked into the NBA Finals. I think I was rooting more against the Miami Heat and their swaggering ways than for the older, more blue-collar Dallas Mavericks. I didn’t have a dog in the fight, being from neither of those two cities (or, for that matter, 75 Cent Lebron’s jilted Cleveland.) But man, did I enjoy watching that fight.

It's not just Fail, it's Lefail

 One thing about sports: if I get sucked in, I’m forced to examine my own life through the prism of what’s going on in the court or on the field. This year’s Finals had all kinds of food for thought. If you’re one of those people who appreciates years of hard work paying off, you might have cheered for veterans Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. If you believed in backing up your words, maybe you were pulling for Miami to grab the first of their promised “six or seven” rings. And, of course, whether you were a Lebron hater or a Lebron fan, you had a strong rooting interest. (I was personally glad to see an upset, but then, I feel the same way about the Heat as I do about the New York Yankees.)

In the end I knew what it was that drew me in. It was that stupid nickname. “The Decision.” (I mean, what kind of nickname is that?) It refers to Lebron’s choice to relocate from grim Cleveland to glittering South Beach…for only a slightly bigger contract. Money talks. No doubt about it. Even if you’re already rolling in it. But it was about more than just cold, hard cash.

If I played basketball (and I did, if only in high school), I’d be one of those players who accepted the league minimum just because he was so happy to be there. I’d wake up every morning and thank God I wasn’t stuck in semi-pro ball in Turkey or China. I’d be grateful for what I had. Because that’s always been my nature. No matter how bad I think I’ve got it, I’m riding high next to 4/5 of the world. I’m one of the lucky ones.

But there’d still be that nagging thought at the back of my mind. Maybe I’m actually worth a little more. Maybe, if I spent more time on my defense or ball handling, I’d be more than just a benchwarmer. Maybe, if I learned how to Win Friends and Influence Coaches, I’d break out of this hardwood purgatory.

And a purgatory is exactly where I find myself. I’m no pro baller. It’s hard enough for me to run without pain in my knees. But I have to make a living just like everybody else. Like Nowitzki, who’s my age, I hear that clock ticking and I know that my youth is rapidly slipping away. I know I won’t be able to sustain myself in my current position forever. Nor should I really want to. As any normal person would, I want to expand my horizons, challenge myself, climb metaphoric ladders.

It sounds easy. It isn’t, really. Not for someone like me, who struggles with a very introverted personality. But, you know, it’s a DECISION I have to make in the end. Until I do, I’m just gonna be “The Waffle.” Kind of a funny nickname. But most nicknames are. It’s up to me to eventually change it.

Until then, I’ll continue to be a part-time Lebronimosity and full-time fan of underdogs, unsung heroes, and champions in waiting.

Like myself. I hope.

Is this me?I'd rather be this one

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on June 16, 2011.

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