Sing it, Ella...
I'd try to go back through this year's posts to Denver Stiffs, and try to count the number of times this season has been described in terms of things less-than happy. Simply going back over a sampling of the games showed several examples of what a tough and confounding season the Denver Nuggets have had. Yet this far into the campaign, I sit and watch DVR-recorded losses late into the night (and a win against the pitiful Lakers last evening). I read every article I can find, and still read the other Stiffs authors religiously.
Do I have a problem? Am I simply unaware I'm a masochist, and no one is willing to bring it up with me?
Funnily enough, no. As least far as you know.
Part of my Nuggets fever is simple. I'm a fan of basketball. The game is beautiful in many different styles, when played well, and can be something of an art when performed by some of the most graceful athletes I've ever seen. Less simply, I'm a fan of the Denver Nuggets, even in years their basketball is not so beautiful.
For a long-distance Stiff, the Denver Nuggets are a quick ticket home. A ticket to memories of friends and family, Pepsi Center seats, Panhandlers Pizza, and Easy Street Wheat. I'm a Colorado kid (who funnily enough, is in no rush to move back) who listens to the KBCO Studio C Channel on his headphones on the bus every morning, catches news on Broncos, Rockies, Avs, and more, and could probably still sketch out Casa Bonita's general floorplan for you. In my world, Blinky is the only clown, Stormy was the first name of a weatherman, and CSU/CU games actually matter. Even if I'm never back, Colorado is probably the only home I'll ever know.
For most anyone attached enough to the Denver Nuggets as to tag along in these times of hoops famine, it's because you've come to care. Over the years and the history, or for a player that still makes you excited, you care. You follow along because you care more about the names on the front of the jerseys than the back. Or eventually even the names in the front office. You love the years our opponents dread coming to Colorado, simply knowing what playing at altitude is like against a good team. Those years, being a Nuggets fan feels less like a fever, and more like warm fuzzies.
But even in years that you know you must be crazy to be watching the 70-something-th game of a season lost in the mid-40's, when Nuggets Fever still wracks your bones, and compels you to see things you can't un-see... You'll be watching. God help you, you'll be watching. You're sticking it out, as even fevers break, right? You just have to sweat it out a little further. Basketball NyQuil, as it were.
I got it bad... and maybe that's still good. A week from today, next season begins. Between now and then, we get four more games to send off a hell of a year. I get the feeling this post-season doctors exam will be uncomfortable.
What's your cure, Nuggets Nation? If you're still here with me, we can sweat out whatever four more (fairly tough) games bring, no? Please bring your own thermometer.