Salvatore Pane

Month: October, 2011

My Beautiful Dark Twisted NBA Fantasy: How We Can Survive the Lockout

If we put up a united front, we can beat this Lockout.

The single greatest tragedy to ever befall humanity took place in 1999, when the NBA Players’ Union went on strike effectively shortening that year’s pro basketball season to 50 games. I was fourteen. I had given up comic books and other ungainly reminders of my youth after discovering girls. On the precipice of high school, I was nearly ready to abandon sports altogether. Dan Marino was about to retire from my beloved Miami Dolphins, and it was clear that no matter how the ’99 Lockout shook out, Patrick Ewing (my all-time favorite athlete) was not long for the world of pro hoops. He was the spokesperson for the Players’ Union that year, and he was always on Sportscenter giving murky updates about the Lockout and the players’ demands. I vividly remember seeing him on TV at my grandmother’s house during this period of great unknown, and he did not resemble the hulking warrior of my childhood fantasies. He looked tired and old.

The ’99 Lockout finally ended when the owners threatened to use scab players. The NBA managed a 50 game season in which my New York Knickerbockers surged into the Finals only to be dispatched by Tim Duncan and those dastardly San Antonio Spurs, a spiritual repeat of the ’94 Finals in which I watched my heroes fall victim to the Houston Rockets (the ’94 loss was even worse because John Starks, one of the all time great Knickerbockers, had suffered a mid-season injury and was only a shell of his former self; at full capacity and with Jordan stinking it up in Double A baseball, surely the Knicks would have finally won that evasive championship). The Knicks’ roster was dismantled after the next season. Ewing was sent packing and it wasn’t long before fan favorite coach Jeff Van Gundy was exiled to Houston. As high school dragged on, the Knicks weren’t mine anymore. Their players resembled villains straight out of Jack Kirby, cruel jokes with gruesome sci-fi names like Starbury and the pint-sized dunk champion Nate “Donkey” Robinson. I fell out of sports completely, and it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I returned to both the Knicks and the Dolphins, proud franchises who had squandered the ensuing decade (the Dolphins to endless quarterback changes and the Knicks to a deluge of outrageous longterm contracts).

Hope came last offseason. We didn’t win the LeBron sweepstakes, but we did manage to sign Amar’e Stoudemire, a player I now affectionately refer to as “my boy” , a player who has over the course of a single season moved up my rankings of all time favorite Knickerbockers to #3 (behind Ewing and Allan Houston but ahead of John Starks). He’s an offensive specimen, he parties with Kanye West, and he’s writing a YA series about basketball. He’s a player I can get behind and thanks to him (and to a much lesser extent the plump Carmelo Anthony aka Mr. Lala), the Knicks returned to the playoffs for the first time in years.

And now, just as the Knicks are primed to return to Eastern Conference dominance in the wake of the Miami Heat’s collapse and Boston’s unceremonious march into the annals of old age, the Players’ Union is going on strike. Again. Guys. I can’t fucking deal with this. NBA at Halloween is a tradition for me, and the thought of going without it (or worse, no NBA on Christmas day) is just too much. Many NBA fans only start following in the playoffs. I can’t do that. I love the regular season and its endless continuity, how Knicks games can be televised nationally on back to back nights. It’s not like football where everything is so dependent on weekends. Following professional basketball is a 24/7 pastime that gives me comfort, solace, and relief.

To that end, I have devised a plan to get through the NBA Lockout and I urge you (the true shining ballers) to join me. Below, I have posted every Knick game that was supposed to be nationally televised over the course of the 2011-2012 season. Of the 82 possible games, 22 were selected for national broadcast (as a child, I had access to the Madison Square Garden network which meant I could watch EVERY home game, but alas, in Pittsburgh I am deprived of such basketball holiness). This is what I’m going to do. Every time a Knick game is supposed to be on, I’m going to drink whiskey in the dark and watch an old game on YouTube while suppressing thoughts of rage and ineptitude. I’m going to drink until I don’t have feelings anymore. I’m going to relive the glory days of my youth. Only you can stop this, David Stern. Only you can stop this, Amar’e Stoudemire. I’m begging you. Please. For my well-being, end the Lockout. I’ll be live tweeting my experiences, and if you want to follow along, I’ve provided links below. I’ll be starting the games right on time. The official hashtag is #MamaThereGoesThatMan. Together, we can end the NBA Lockout. I’ve never believed in a political movement in all my life, but this is something I’m willing to sacrifice for.  I don’t want to live in a world without the NBA. We are the 51%.

Wednesday Nov 2nd 8PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 1 of 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5RufBukOYs&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL90AEC033C118DBD4)

Tuesday November 8th 8PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 3 of 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C4DBqm6zjXo&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL610DA3A281B22F24)

Wednesday November 16th 10:30PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 5 of 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUFtGhOzgyk&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL610DA3A281B22F24)

Thursday November 17th 10:30PM (1999: New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers Playoffs Game 6 of 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn3eiVcPF60)

Wednesday December 7 7PM  (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 1 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Iyy_PyiU-I&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL26A78CDF7CE4DC0D)

Tuesday December 15th 7PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 2 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOPzKzp_P4I&feature=related)

Tuesday December 22nd 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 3 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1kXKXpmfOU&feature=related)

Sunday December 25th 12PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 4 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qSoArI82Ik&feature=related)

Thursday January 12th 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 5 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=voR0wKCo0R4&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PL73C4AD243676E091)

Friday January 27th 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 6 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBx0Fu_ZyTQ)

Thursday February 2nd 8PM (1994: New York Knicks vs. Chicago Bulls Playoffs Game 7 of 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9RICekPQAo)

Friday February 17th 8PM (1998: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Playoffs Game 2 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MC0wsAhMEOc&feature=results_main&playnext=1&list=PL4273D7D26FB9ADE7)

Sunday February 19th 1PM (1998: New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat Playoffs Game 5 of 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WSP9Jt1VHFU&feature=results_video&playnext=1&list=PLBB8A429E9639D3FA)

Thursday February 23rd 8PM (2011: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics Playoffs Game 1 of 4 NOTE: You have to torrent this one)

Sunday March 4th 1PM (2011: New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics Playoffs Game 2 of 4 NOTE: You have to torrent this one)

Monday March 12th 8PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Wednesday March 21st 7PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Thursday April 5th 7PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Sunday April 8th 1PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Tuesday April 10th 9:30PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Sunday April 15th 1PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

Tuesday April 17th 8PM (TBA because surely the Lockout won’t last this long)

My boy is proud as shit.

Pedagogy Interview – SAY WHAT!?

Today, HTMLGIANT published an exit interview I did with students who had me for Intermediate Fiction and Advanced Fiction workshops. We talk genre writing, MFAs, old vs. new school, and a ton more that will be (hopefully) interesting to anyone who has ever taken a workshop. Let me know what you think.