May 5, 2009

Fanhood through Facebook

Facebook is great for so many things. Planning parties. Connecting with old friends. Crashing parties. Stalking new friends.

In developing my stalking skills, I’ve realized that Facebook is really about one thing: priorities.

Look at it any way, and that’s what it comes down to. Playing Facebook poker? That’s because you’d rather be procrastinating than studying. Messaging the girl who sits next to you in French class? That’s because you’d probably rather be poking her.

When you’re like me, though, and everything revolves around sports, it’s even easier to see. There comes a time in every season when sports fans have a very serious choice to make on Facebook: Continue with the emo updates and Birdman lyrics, or convert your status into a miniature sports blog. I went with the latter.

It’s simply a basic truth that sometimes sports are more important than everything else. This was one of those times, and the result was that I was fully immersed in the best series the NBA has seen this side of Golden State—and my Facebook status was right there with me. As the series wore on, my Facebook experience changed from blankly staring at the profiles of all those I-knew-your-name-but-never-actually-met-you people from high school into a declaration of my fanhood that unfolded over the course of the playoffs.

It started out innocently enough, with the always popular “How did that just happen?” after the Bulls took Game 1 in overtime. Then Ray Allen broke my soul with his Game 2 buzzer-beater, so I had to ask another question: “Did anyone else notice how little regard Ray Allen has for human life? Or, mine anyway.”

(Purposely omitted: any acknowledgement of Game 3.)

At this point, I made a really bad mistake. I bought tickets to Game 4.

I’d like to point out here that I’m doing my best to be obsessed with this series while still attending classes and doing work. So here we are, it’s the University of Chicago, it’s the place where fun freezes over and a dinosaur steps on the integral of sex, it’s the place where students actually like doing work (yeah, it’s true), they actually like going to class (well, sometimes), they actually like living in the library (not true), and I’m just stuck in this series. I have Charlotte Brontë sitting on my bed and suicide terrorists to study, but my Facebook gives away my true priorities: “Is going to Game 4.”

Now, some people might say that I’m not very good at watching these games. They might say that I get—I need some air quote help here—“too worked up,” that I “need to watch my blood pressure,” that “it’s just a game,” that I “need to stop crying in public,” that I “need to shower more frequently.”

Those people might be right. I don’t remember sitting down at any point during Game 4. Maybe because we had standing room-only tickets, but I say it was the intensity of the game that kept me on my feet. And somehow, the Bulls won in double overtime.

Facebook status: “Is complete after going to that Bulls game.”

Three more games, and I just don’t know if I can make it. The Bulls crumble in regulation of Game 5 and somehow still have a chance to go up 3–2 for the series when, on the last play, Rajon Rondo breaks Brad Miller’s face. Miller misses the game-tying free throws, the Celtics win, and I hop onto Facebook.

Facebook status: “This series is killing me.”

It might have been a serious detriment to my health, I don’t know. Then again, I’ve been having those shooting pains in my chest and left arm for years, so it was probably nothing.

And the journey continues. Game 6. The Bulls’ first elimination game, meaning that this could be it for the season, meaning that I’m going to be needing a defibrillator or least some Bayer.

Of course, neither team can win in regulation. Why would they even think to do that? And who needs another double-overtime game? Not I. Let’s do three overtimes. Somehow, the Bulls pull it off. The series is tied 3–3, and I feel like that horse from Hidalgo. Just pull the trigger, Viggo Mortensen.

Facebook status: “Is dead.”

That’s right. I died, and lived to tell you about it on Facebook. Since I was dead, I could only watch Game 7 from a ghostly netherworld. It’s one of those things where I know the Bulls lost, but really it’s all too foggy to tell and I’ll just say the series is forever tied 3–3.

All I can do now is say, “Thanks for a great run.” I’m walking away from this postseason with an important lesson: The playoffs are always worth it. They’re important enough to not do any homework for weeks. They’re worth the continual irregular heartbeat. And they’re certainly worth my Facebook status.