Well, not quite. But still a pretty amusing example of seemingly incongruous performances. I hope you enjoy it enough to hold you until I have something to actually say again. Peace out.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Today has given me some unusual nostalgia that came from a strange place. Jerry Sloan, the Utah Jazz's gruff longtime coach, very suddenly and unexpectedly resigned, partway through his 23rd season with the team. I am very much a sports fan, but am usually able to roll with whatever happens and not internalize disappointments and triumphs and magnify them to an unhealthy extent the way I see with the more fanatical fans out there. But today's news got me a little misty-eyed. In addition to being an outstanding coach and an amazingly low-ego person, and all the usual things that would make a fan feel sad for such a loss, Coach Sloan was the last remaining link to a piece of my childhood and adolescence that feels like it's now gone forever. Larry Miller died two years ago, John Stockton and Karl Malone are enshrined in the Hall of Fame and pushing 50, the Delta Center was renamed, and even Hot Rod Hundley is gone. I don't think many non-Utahns or casual fans across the country can understand how much the Jazz have meant to the entire state, or fully appreciate the combination of people coming together at the right time that made the Stockton/Malone years so memorable. It's one of the most compelling true-life sports stories ever, one that would make a fantastic movie. I consider it a Cinderella story, even without the NBA Championship. Not many fan bases can say that.
Perhaps the reason I'm so susceptible to such sentimentality is that over the past several years, I've had a twinge of pain at the realization that my hometown of Brigham City resembles the town I grew up in less and less. I had a complex relationship with Brigham. Unlike my brother Vance, who has more or less known since he was in junior high that he would live and die there, I never insisted on being a lifer. In fact, at some point, I realized that Brigham was a small pond and didn't have much to offer as I made my way in the world. But in addition to the normal growth and change in the businesses that came and went, and the faces that moved away, every school I went to for thirteen years is either torn down or no longer recognizable to me. Central Elementary was razed probably a decade ago, and making things even weirder, is the site of the soon-to-be Brigham City Temple. My junior high has undergone a major facelift, and I found out recently that its gym, which is straight out of the 1950s and I absolutely love for some reason, will be demolished soon. Box Elder High School has undergone such an extreme makeover that when I wandered over there last year to check it out, my jaw hit the floor. It was like an old janitor friend suddenly turned into an uppity, high-maintenance woman. I have no claim on the community, and it's unlikely I'll ever live there again, and it's not as if I was such a stud in high school that those were anything even close to glory days, but I can't help being sad, and kinda pissed at the school board who found it so necessary to make Box Elder look like Bel Air. The entire thing looks to me like a colossal Super Sweet Sixteen party, a misappropriation of public money during really lean times. The more I think about it, the more I hate the people who did this. It's like when Meg Ryan got the botox treatment. Meg, you used to be so cute. Now you look like a platypus. And my school looks like a wannabe Hollywood sexpot.
I should try to wrap up here, but I don't know if there is a main point to tie this all together. I know change is inevitable, and life goes on. And really, even if the landmarks had remained the same, you can't go home again. It just seems true on days like this that nothing gold can stay. To Coach Sloan, happy trails. I believe you're a good man, and hope that if my kids ever play basketball, they get a coach like you. To Brigham City, I will continue to smile and wave when I see you during visits to the fam, but will always have a place in my heart for the old you. And to the people who created that monstrosity on 6th West, I wish you pubic lice, incontinence, and an eternity of Rob Schneider movies.