Time to Settle Accounts
March 8, 2011: And let your poor heart, break a little.
It was my first Bulls game in 15 months. One day earlier, my beloved Bulls entered Miami and bested the Heat in a contest anxiously watched and widely discussed, especially after Heat coach Erik Spoelstra committed a PR faux-pas by stating that “there are a couple guys crying in the locker room right now.”
I didn’t care much about that – what mattered was the tough road victory against one of the League’s best, Joakim Noah’s fearless face-up D to LeBron James on the game’s final possession, and Da Bulls now holding the East’s #2 seed all to themselves.
“Some view, eh?” Ryan said as we sat down. “I love these seats. I’ve been to five games this year and they all look good.”
“This is my first game since December ’09, I believe,” I said. The Bulls were in their layup lines, and I watched Rose, Noah, Deng, Boozer and the fellas run and jump and pass.
“I think we’re gonna run ‘em,” I said. “Too bad about Chris Paul.”
“Should make it easier.”
“Geez,” I said, admiring the team’s athleticism and personality, “can you imagine being eleven-years-old and watching this team? I would be going out-of-my-boots for these guys.”
“So much fun.”
“I mean, what if that 2009 Celtics series was your first real taste of playoff basketball – you were nine, and now you’re eleven, and now this is happening.”
I looked up at the United Center ceiling. “How old were you for your first trip to the Stadium?”
“Young. Early 90s.”
“I remember my first game. December 1990 against the Hawks. We sat way up at the top. I could I.D. three players: Pax was the short white guy, Perdue was the tall white guy, and MJ was the dude killing everybody.
“That was, what, six months after our third loss to Detroit? Man… I still remember leaving my friend Donny’s house in a burst of tears. And then finally, heading to my first live game.
“I remember looking up at the banners. The Bulls had the two retired shirts for Sloan and Love, and the ’75 division champs. And the Blackhawks had about 20 banners – division champs, conference champs, three Cup champs, retired jerseys, whole bit.
“Now, you come to a game, and it’s even. Bulls that side. Blackhawks this one. Just a different time.”
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