Last night, the Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA championship. As a superproud Dallasite and sports junkie, I haven't stopped smiling since. *cue music to do the happy dance* I'm happy for everyone in the organization from Mark Cuban to Rick Carlisle to Jason Kidd to Jason Terry.
I'm happy for me, too.
Being a sports fan is not for the weak of heart. It can be exhilarating, but, more often than not, heart wrenching. In the four major pro leagues, there are at least 30 teams vying for a championship, which means the odds that your team will win the Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, World Series or NBA Finals are slim.
And yet I root anyway. I willingly allow my heart to be stomped on. Why? Sports are the ultimate reality show. You think you know, but really you have no idea. If the team that was supposed to win always won, there would be no reason to watch. But just when you think you have it figured out, the Texas Rangers, who'd lost nine straight playoff games to the vaunted New York Yankees, beat them to advance to the team's first World Series, sending me so high in the sky.
In other words, sports offer the best chance for the unexpected to happen. There's always a chance David will beat Goliath and hopefully in spectacular fashion.
If we listened to the experts, the Mavericks were David and Miami with the Superfriends trio of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and Chris Bosh. The three superstars to the Mavs' one - Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs were too old to get it done. Not talented enough. Too soft, including their best player.
Bullshit. Dirk isn't soft. I was never one of those who said he couldn't lead the team to a championship. He's too damn good. Does that mean that I assumed it would happen? No, but not because I didn't think he could. Sports are a funny thing and trying to predict what will happen is futile at best. Basketball is a team sport, and as Dirk has demonstrated before, he can't win by himself.
I hoped and prayed that he would win a championship. I admit to being selfish and wanting my teams to win, so I can feel good. But this time, more than anything, I wanted Dirk to win.
I've never met him, but I've never not seem him be respectful of his teammates, his opponents, and the game of basketball on the court and in interviews. He puts the work in without whining or at the prompting of others. He doesn't run around seeking accolades or trying to become a brand. How can anyone not love him for that or respect him? In all honestly, he seems like a really humble, nice person. And I love that about him.
Dirk just wants to win. And now he has.
So Dirk, congratulations! And thank you for proving that hard work does pay off.