September 27, 2010
For the next few weeks, I'm going to pick an NBA-related subject, A-through-Z, and tell you why it's worth your time, and why it's one of the reasons I love covering this league.
Because that's why I wanted to become a scribe who's paid to cover this league. Sharing the things I know and love with those of my kind. All that stuff.
Because I'm lucky enough to have your ear for however long, I don't care that this might come off as a bit twee. A little embarrassing. A little too forthright. I'm OK with that. Hopefully you are, as well.
"Q" is for "Queen."
Trey suggested "quips," which was brilliant. But then I spent part of a nighttime and a whole lot of the daytime trying to research some of my favorite quips, couldn't find enough links, and the post turned into this monstrosity about what I think is funny, and what I think isn't funny. I don't really agree with Lorne Michaels' assertion that talking about humor takes away from the humor, but believe me -- what I wrote took quite a bit out of humor. From whatever source.
Here's my assertion, as I struggle with one of the tougher letters in the NBA's alphabet. At some point in your life, you've stomped and clapped to Queen's "We Will Rock You." And, whether you're stuck in an NBA-styled Siberia, or whether you spent the better part of the 1990s enjoying six championships from your hometown team, you've gotten goosebumps listening to Queen's "We Are the Champions."
My friend, I'm convinced it's happened.
If it hasn't happened in the midst of your NBA fandom, fine. If I have to take it to your personal extreme -- Little League, 1993 -- fine. I'm stuck on the letter Q, and I'm desperate to get something up. Beats the hell out of spending all day on Quinton Ross.
At some point, I'm sure, you've been around a winner, which I'm nearly convinced piped one of those two songs into the proceedings at the appropriate time. Even if it's just by proxy, it counts. "The Mighty Ducks" were a little after my time, but I'm well aware that there was a pretty rockin' scene from any of those Emilio Estevez vehicles that took a great deal of inspiration from "We Will Rock You." It's inspiring people to this day, even. I think the influence from that movie made up about 80 percent of the speech my brother made during my wedding reception.
"We Are the Champions," my friend? Just try to not get hooked by the sway. Try not to pump a fist. This isn't a build-me-up song. This isn't something you listen to before heading out into those bright lights. That song, however anthemic, still feels like something you collapse into. Sure, it's full of fevered pitches, but it has a sense of let down -- of completion -- that almost feels like it's champagne-soaked. Freddie Mercury was often the same way, so that makes sense.
Though there's nothing laconic or timid or especially humble about the song, there's something about it that fits the "whew, it's over" relief of a season completed. Of a victory -- an ultimate victory -- gained.
And the song itself? If you've made it this far, and you're of an age where you can legally drive, there's no way you haven't heard it during a happy time. A time where your cheeks hurt from smiling. An instance that you'll never be able to top.
This isn't a bad thing, peaking that early. It's not about peaking, really. It's about enjoying and appreciating the moment you're in, for however briefly it might sustain. These two songs -- pitched first and second on this band's sixth album -- allow for that. It's recognition of at first intent, and then achievement. Critics long lambasted Queen for being the least self-aware band that's ever been. I see these two songs as a swift repudiation of such.
And at some point this winter, this fall, you'll hear "We Will Rock You." If only for the stomps and claps. And at some point next June, even if you can't stand the team that's immersed in confetti, you'll hear "We Are the Champions." And it will remind you of some other, glorious time. Or, if you're into the team that's on that podium, it will emphasize and articulate your exultations on a season well-championed. Whether you're the starting point guard, or on the couch. You've earned it.
So, yeah, "Q" is for "Queen." Long may they reign.