Today I am filled with a growing sense of trepidation. It is, as you may know, the NBA Finals. And for some reason that escapes me at this moment, I have made another bet with the dog. His team is Dallas. Mine Miami (just as an aside, it seems as though the dog and I hold nearly everything in opposition - he likes the day time, I the night. He hates to get a bath, I luxuriate in the sink, etc).
Our bet is simple. If Miami wins, the dog must find a way for me to get Outside, if only for a moment. If Miami loses, I will once again allow him to author my blog (an outcome I imagine to be exceedingly undesirable for me and for you as well, reader).
Why do I do this? Now I am not only in turmoil over the game itself, but also at the prospect of once again losing to the dog. And this conflict prompts the question: Why pay any attention at all to sports in the first place?
Ah, would I understood more fully the lure of these displays. Why do I care whether Wade makes the shot? Why am I biting my tongue as he sails through the air, a blur of total grace?
Do not his gymnastics suggest their opposite - the hardening of the flesh in rigor mortis? The stillness of those once heaving lungs? An appreciation for a sport cannot but suggest an intrinsic acknowledgement of death - that these athletes are able to accomplish these feats is remarkable in part because they will not always be able to do so.
Does the dog sense this? Does it make him quiver?
Or does he prowl around the room, hoping a clumsy human will drop a piece of food so that he may consume it? Does he simply become drunk with the happiness of others, never understanding why or how?
I asked him today, "dog, why do you like basketball?" And he simply stared into my eyes, smiling, but did not offer any kind of response. Was it because he didn't understand me, or is he keeping some secret? And what does he know of his own mortality?
Does he understand, like I do, that as we cheer and cheer so do we also absolutely perish?
Basketball is my memento mori.