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#NBAFanVoice: The Lockout Is An Opportunity

This is part of NBA Fan Voice day. Please take part by tweeting, liking, or blogging (by Posting a FanPost) about #NBAFanVoice - a day when the fan's voice will be heard by everyone.

My wife doesn't like sports. There are times when she tries, when she'll watch what I'm watching. She enjoys an impressive dunk or a great pass. She marvels at a huge hit or an insane goal. She even asks questions to try to gain a better understanding of the game, whatever that game is. But sports did not play an important role in her childhood, and so she doesn't understand the appeal. When I'm in a bad mood because my team lost, she doesn't understand why I let it get to me so much, why sports is worth it. After all, if entertainment (and that is, ostensibly, what sports is) makes you feel like crap, doesn't it cease to be entertaining, and therefore, worthwhile?

Obviously, the answer is no, because sports is about more than entertainment. It's about belonging, and about commitment, about being a part of something. That's why sports teams bring communities together, and why even the suffering is worthwhile. The Los Angeles Lakers aren't just L.A.'s basketball team. They are a part of what makes L.A. what it is. Through belonging, through being a part of something, and finally, if you are lucky enough, through the thrill of victory, sports makes your life better.

That's what's been taken from you, who love professional basketball with all your hearts. The NBA lockout has created a void in all of us. We now lack one of our common bonds. We now have one less institution to join others in being a part of. It hurts. It gnaws at us from the inside. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I need my sports fix. So it's a natural response to attempt to fill the void with other competition.

My suggestion to you: Don't do it.

After all, sports definitely makes your life better ... but it doesn't make you better. Sports provides a level of drama, of entertainment, that can be unmatched. But it doesn't make you a better person or a better parent. So, as a bunch of greedy dudes get together and force a bunch of other greedy dudes to accept less wealth, and you, the common (wo)man is left in the lurch, think not of how much your life will be sadder, or less complete, or less enjoyable without sports. Instead, use all the time you used to spend devoted to the Lakers on pursuits that will leave you a better person. Take all the money you would normally spend on merchandise and tickets and invest it. Instead of watching more football, read some books. Instead of getting into hockey, work out more. And for heaven's sake, work on your house or take a class before you start watching Dancing With The Stars just to get that competitive fix.

Sports is wonderful, amazing, fantastic. It provides a feeling that no other activity can provide. Basketball is one of the best, and it's been forcibly taken away. So, instead of trying to replace it with lesser sports, instead of wasting the same money on lesser entertainments, take this opportunity to improve your standing in life in one way or another. This is an opportunity. You've been given a bunch of money and time that was otherwise spoken for.

Use it wisely.

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