What a day today! Barca won with such style over Man U. And Lakers beat the crap outta Nuggets to break the 2-2 tie. Phew.
It's impossible for me to work after 4 pm on the days when Lakers are playing a home game at Staples during play-offs. For one, the Holiday Inn next door plays some insanely loud music under the pretext that it's a Lakers party. A huge 4x10 hoarding lures you to "come party with the Lakers". It's so not. ESPN now broadcasts live from across the street so lots of camera peeps and spot boys rule the area. All the major news channels show up with their mini vans and major equipment. The sponsors from Toyota to Vitamin Water to what not line up their stuff in mini-booths right outside. A few radio stations do the same. And of course, Barry's Tickets (official scalpers!!!) bring the biggest possible buses. If that doesn't create a ruckus, what will.
By 4-4:30, all the restaurants and bars start filling up with fans in yellow jerseys. One glance and all you see is number 24 painted over the back of most of the jerseys. Some try to pass off regular yellow tees as a Lakers jersey. Not working pal. Who are these people and how do they get off work so early to rush through traffic and make it here at 4 for a 7 pm game? And why do I never get off work at 4. It's annoying. By 5ish, the limos begin to arrive - regular, white, stretch and line up right outside the venue. The crowd is so diverse. You'll see everything from teenage gals in minis to school boys hanging with dads to cougars in one-sleeve tight dresses to handsome men with grey hair to wierdos.
Today was the 5th game in the series (Lakers have to go to seven games. It's like no heartburn, no fun with them) and I just went for a few minutes to peek in. It was exhilarating to say the least. The energy inside was so contagious. I saw Kobe almost do a slam dunk and left. Love ya Kobe. Mwaaaah. If I were single and had no one to go home to, I would perhaps rarely go home.
Amidst the crowd (I was almost dodging the crowd while walking, occasionally pushing people) to reach my car. A lone sardar in jersey number 18 (who wears that? must have found it on sale) almost crushed me with his car in the parking lot. Jerk. It took me another hour to get through the traffic.
As I was driving back, I realized that no matter what people say, LA is a one team city. Not the Dodgers, not the Angels (they don't even count as LA anymore), not the Clippers, not the Galaxy, not the Kings, no one else. I won't even mention the arena football team. It's Lakers all the way. People might enjoy other teams now and again but when the Lakers are in full swing, no one else stands a chance.
Love em or hate em, but we just can't live without them.
Photo credit: starspill.com