Gloom has cloaked Seattle like a November fog. That quote about us was in last week's New York Times — meaning our civic funk about sports is so funky it rates as national news.
“This is the worst sports scene in the history of sports scenes.”
Gloom has cloaked Seattle like a November fog. That quote about us was in last week’s New York Times — meaning our civic funk about sports is so funky it rates as national news.
Not for me. Strangely, I’m getting happier.
Not in a jump-up-and-down-yelling sort of way, like in ’95 when the Mariners had their miracle run. But lately I have been going through a sports renaissance. I grab the paper and go to the sports pages first thing. I skip past our lousy local teams and head straight to the pro basketball standings.
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Usually what I find leaves me with a grin.
Thunder Madness is what I have. And I’m not the only one.
I’m obsessed with the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA team formerly known as your Seattle Sonics. You know, the one that was sailed out of town last summer on a breeze of lies?
They are 14 games into their new season, and I didn’t think I cared. Yet they are so awful they have attracted a cult following. Which roots for them to lose.
Last week, when the Thunder lost by 20 to a team that had won only one game, their new fans booed. Or groaned, some said.
Either way, the despair was palpable. A writer for The Daily Oklahoman wrote a column about the city’s shiny new team titled: “A first for the Thunder: boos.”
You could hear smiles cracking all over the Northwest.
“Hearing about the boos in Oklahoma was almost freakishly enjoyable,” e-mailed Peter Nussbaum, a longtime Seattle basketball fan.
Nussbaum runs supersonicsoul.com, a Sonics fan blog. Something compels him to keep his fanzine going. Lately it’s been all schadenfreude all the time — about the NBA’s cratering attendance or the financial woes of Thunder owners.
Example: Did you know that one Thunder owner — Aubrey McLendon, who infamously used six exclamation points in an e-mail to show how bad he wanted our team in Oklahoma — just lost nearly $2 billion in a stock-margin call?
Now that’s freakishly enjoyable.
Sure, it’s also petty. What’s curious is how happy it makes me anyway. The joy is no less real for being dishonorable.
I’m pleased the Thunder is the worst team in the NBA. That fans are booing and going to games less than expected. That the taxpayer-financed arena is named Ford Center, after the carmaker (stock price: $1.43), which prompted someone to suggest renaming it Bailout Center — a perfect nod to the NBA’s extortionist business model.
I don’t know if this affliction will help me through the winter. But thousands apparently share it.
There is a Web site called cursethethunder.com, where you can cast an electronic evil eye on the team. It’s a list hexing the Thunder to toil forever in failure and mediocrity. Juvenile, right? Yet so far 14,000 people have clicked to send the curse. Including me.
Where is all this coming from?
One of the players said this whole story, in which supposedly sophisticated Seattle lost out to podunk Oklahoma City, “said something about Seattle that people there didn’t want to believe.”
We lack self-esteem? We’re not as world class as we think we are?
Well, whatever it was, it’s Oklahoma City’s problem now. All that’s left for us is to enjoy it.
Danny Westneat’s column appears Wednesday and Sunday. Reach him at 206-464-2086 or email@example.com.