Weathering a Thunder storm


May 31, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden (13) attempts a shot against San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) during the first half in game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Not much was going for these parts for the longest time. While it was becoming a respectable part of town, it had no wow-factor. No girl next door, way too many barbeque places, obsessed college football fans, and you really had to travel if you wanted any excitement.

Though, at a young age, you met this girl on the south side of town. You don’t know how you met her, but you knew from the minute you laid eyes on her that you loved this girl. She wasn’t the most attractive, richest, or easiest girl, but there was something about her. She was simple and plain, but very smart, humble, and could make the best out of any situation.

After many wonderful years of being together, you knew nothing could ever come between you and this girl. The two of you swapped virginities in 1999 after a brief rough patch, which was followed by romance that has sustained to this day, minus the time she almost moved to Orlando in 2003.

All of your friends saw you as the “boring couple,” but secretly they were envious of the stable relationship you and her had. They were stuck in bad relationships of their own that weren’t going anywhere, and were upset things did not go as well as it did with you and your girl.

Though, about four years ago, you looked out your window and saw moving trucks. A new family was moving in next door from the northwest; just a man, his wife, and their daughter. You didn’t really think much of it at the time, but you had no idea what would happen at this crazy party two years later.

It was a melting pot of different types of people that always seem to show up for this type of thing. However, your girlfriend left the room for a minute, and out of nowhere, your new neighbor’s daughter is trying to steal your date’s thunder.

She’s throwing herself at you relentlessly, and while she is tempting, you know that you just can’t go through with it. Sure, she is beautiful and has plenty of good years ahead of her, but how could you go back on years of memories with the one girl that never treated you wrong and never stopped loving you? She never got rid of any of your thing or tried to change you. There has been a little bit of a romantic lull, but she’s prettied herself up like never before and picked up some new lingerie to spice things up.

While you your on the brink of what could be a great night with the one you’ve loved all your life, you just can’t help but notice your neighbor. At the end of the day, though, you just can not cheat on her and go back on the amazing life you two have together.

This is exactly what it feels like being a Spurs fan in Oklahoma City. It’s a bit hard to put in to words, but this analogy makes sense to me. I mean let’s be honest, being a fan to a team is very similar to being in a relationship. They take your money, are a huge time investment, and they can toy with your emotions.

Girlfriend metaphors aside, I feel I was lucky to grow up in a city without any professional teams at the time, because I wasn’t stuck loathing a bad team that may have not allowed me to fall in love with the game of basketball. So with a bit of an influence from my family, I couldn’t get enough of Tim Duncan and David Robinson. I fell in love with the city of San Antonio, and the way the Spurs organization operated. It was something so special, it’s almost unfair that not every fan can enjoy a team like San Antonio.

Around here, everyone loves football, but the Spurs gave me something to watch during the college football off-season. But some people can’t fathom why I would not jump on the Thunder bandwagon when they moved to Oklahoma in 2008 or when they really started becoming a respectable squad.

May 29, 2012; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili (20) reacts after scoring a three point basket against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half in game two of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs at the AT

Basically, it boils down to a fan morality thing. New uniforms, a new name, and a new city does not change who the Oklahoma City Thunder were pre-Sonicsgate. And I never cared for them when they were played at KeyArena. So why would I return all my Spurs memorabilia and trade it in for a team Clay Bennett snaked out of Seattle?

Maybe it was easier for the pre-Thunder NBA fans that cheered for the Dallas Mavericks to jump ship when the Thunder arrived, because the Mavs still didn’t have a championship at the time. However, I wasn’t going to throw away the great memories the Spurs gave me, and I truly enjoy being a San Antonio fan in Oklahoma City.

While I would love to live in San Antonio, purchase Spurs season tickets, and be a part of the community, I get a thrill out of walking in to the Chesapeake Energy Arena as the enemy. Just me and 17,999 people rooting against my beloved Spurs. And when San Antonio beats Oklahoma City on their home floor (or anytime for that matter), it’s as sweet as the traditional Dippin’ Dots I make a point to get when I attend a Thunder home game.

Though, the Thunder have come a long way from their bottom feeder days during OKC’s inaugural season, and now just three years later, they are contending for a championship. The Thunder faithful are struck with excitement and bringing a unique college atmosphere to professional sports. I’m not going to kid myself and say I wouldn’t love for San Antonio’s home crowd to be as electrifying as “Loud City.” However, I’m thankful the Spurs don’t have huge corporate sponsors that blows money on t-shirt giveaways at every home playoff game. That was cool for a minute, but like Linsanity, it got old quick.

And it isn’t that I wholeheartedly hate the Oklahoma City Thunder. I still love my hometown, I could watch Kevin Durant all day long, and Sam Presti is one of the best executives in the NBA, but like I said, I can not forgive the Thunder for who they once were before they changed mascots and cities. That’s like asking people to not hate Metta World Peace anymore just because he changed his name. He is still the same Ron Artest. Adding “World Peace” does not change the past. He is who he is.

And the Thunder-Sonics are who they are. It is fun being in this town, and seeing the exposure it is getting with all of Oklahoma City’s success, but I’m a Spurs fan through thick and thin. If the Thunder were to eliminate San Antonio, then I wouldn’t mind seeing Oklahoma City keeping the championship in the Western Conference, but that is not going to force me to jump ship.

Tonight I will be in attendance for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, and I’m hoping for a better result than Thursday. If not it wouldn’t be the first time the Spurs lost grip of a 2-0 lead. In fact, the last time the Spurs played the Thunder-Sonics in the postseason, they lost a 2-0 lead when they series went to Seattle. That same year, the Spurs went on to win another NBA championship. So whatever happens, happens. And as long as they are no drastic changes in the Spurs organization and they continue to treat their fans right, I’m in it for the long haul.