Saturday, March 14, 2009

Me and the Hornets

To get this blog rolling, I figured it might be helpful to talk a little about who I am and how I came to be a Hornets fan.

As you can see in the "about me" box on the right, I'm 25 years old and I live in Lake Charles, Louisiana. If you're not familiar with Lake Charles, it's a small(ish) city of about 80, 000 and is powered by casinos, petrochemical plants and a state university (McNeese). It's a three hour drive east from Lake Charles to New Orleans.

Lake Charles, unfortunately, is not really a hotbed of Hornets fandom. Sure, Hornets fans in Lake Charles exist, but the average sports fan in Lake Charles is much more concerned with high school football and all things LSU. The Tigers have a big fanbase in Lake Charles. You can also find a lot of diehard New Orleans Saints fans here, but the Hornets have yet to completely catch on. Driving or walking around town you'll see plenty of gold Fleur-de-lis symbols on stickers and shirts, but aside from the occasional adoloscent wearing a CP3 jersey you'll rarely see any Fleur-De-Bees. I'm not sure why that is, but I expect gradually Lake Charles will come to embrace the Hornets in the same way that they've embraced LSU and Saints football. I've embraced the Hornets, the rest of this town just needs to follow my lead. If any Lake Charlesians read this: the freaking Rockets are NOT your team.

Actually, my leap into Hornets obsession occured relatively recently. In fact, some might be tempted to call me a "bandwagon fan." That is, I didn't start following the team until well into the historic 07-08 season. That's because I had stopped following basketball completely for a number of years. As a kid I was a Utah Jazz fan. I have memories of watching the 97 and 98 playoffs that are both fond and heartbreaking. Yet after the 97-98 season I kind of lost interest in basketball and sports in general. I passed through my teenage years and early twenties barely following the NBA. I knew that the Spurs had become a semi-dynasty, that Steve Nash was the golden boy, and that Kobe Bryant scored a lot of points and might possibly be a rapist... but that was the extent of it.

So one day I sit down in my parents living room and turn on the TV. I see that the New Orleans Hornets are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers, and I decide I'll watch the rest of the game. It was a New Orleans team after all, and I had nothing better to do. Keep in mind that I had no idea that the Hornets were having a great season or that they had the best point guard in the world running the ship.

So anyway I'm watching the game, and it's a close game so I'm getting into it. I start to remember why I liked watching basketball so much as a kid. Good games have a constant ebb and flow, there's a rhythm to it it all that I love. Additionally there's the stunning athleticism and fierce competition mixed with something that I can only describe as a unique aesthetic quality. I like other sports, but basketball is the only sport that I find real beauty in. It's a personal thing, I know, but to me there' s something aesthetically gratifying about a 3-point jumpshot that swishes through the net or a perfectly executed fast break. Anyway the game is coming down to the wire, and the Cavs have a one-point lead. The Hornets get the ball with the clock winding down, and Chris Paul is able to dish it off to David West for a game-winning midrange jumper. I was ecstastic. I had not follwed the team, I didn't know who Chris Paul and David West were, but I knew I had seen a good team make a great play and I was excited.

Instantly I was once again an NBA fan and I began to follow it more closely. By the time the playoffs rolled around I was once again hooked. Though I had only been following the team for a couple of months, the Hornets playoff run felt magical to me, just as it did to that sea of yellow shirts I saw sitting in the stands on TV. The infamous game seven broke my heart, and I remember walking outside to smoke a cigarette, bitter dissapointment on my face and the beginnings of tears in my eyes. I felt a little silly, so upset over a basketball game and a team that I had just recently become a fan of. But, I decided, it didn't matter - I had connected with the team and become a part of its fanbase and I shouldn't feel silly just because my fandom was recent or because it was "just a game." I've been a dedicated fan of the team since that Cleveland game, and I've followed the current season intently. Well, more like obsessively. It's been a roller coaster ride, and somewhat dissapointing, but I'm still excited about every game and I still feel that the Hornets are capable of making a serious run.

So, that's me and my relationship to this team in a nutshell (a rather long nutshell though.. sorry).


  1. Good work! Bookmarked!

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  2. Awesome. Glad to have the 337 supporting the Hornets!