Reporting Brendan Smith
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DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – I was born in 1987 and didn’t hit my sports consciousness until the mid 90’s, which seems like a perfect timetable to fall in love with America’s team. While I love the Cowboys, since I grew up a pastor’s kid, Sunday’s were dominated by church services instead of football. When the Cowboys would play later in the afternoon or on Monday night, I would be glued to the TV, but I didn’t get to experience a game live until later in life.
Because of those restrictions, the biggest treat for my family and me was a trip to Reunion Arena to watch a terrible Mavs team. I remember my dad picking me up from school and surprising me by driving to a local mall to pick up tickets for countless weekend games. I saw so much bad basketball, but I felt like I owned that arena. There were games where we would be the only fans in our section and we could spread out and do as we pleased.
This created a bond with a team that, at the time, was the laughing-stock of professional sports. But, soon the Mavs would draft a goofy German kid, and I eventually traded in my Jason Kidd jersey for a Dirk Nowitzki replica. As I grew up, so did the Mavs.
I vividly remember attending to a game in the 1999/2000 season to watch Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and the Toronto Raptors. I was 12 years old. As Vince threw down dunk after dunk, I remember thinking to myself this team could turn things around very soon. As it turns out, that Mavs team went on a run at the end of the season, finished with 40 wins and then advanced to the playoffs the next season.
I was lucky enough to attend some iconic games in Mavs history. I witnessed Mark Cuban sprinting on to the floor during the “Chalupa Incident” and then witnessed the final regular season game at Reunion Arena. I celebrated the Mavs beating Sacramento in a 7 game series and experienced heartbreak while watching Dirk chew out Jason Terry for not closing out on Steve Nash in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. I lost my mind as Dirk dropped 50 on that same Phoenix team the next year in the Western Conference Finals and then sat in disbelief as Miami celebrated an NBA title on “my floor.” The next 4 years I passionately watched a team that couldn’t get it done in the postseason and I thought about those failures almost every single day.
Like so many other Mavs fans, it was because of this climb that 2011 meant so much. One crushing loss after another led to the most satisfying sports moment of my life (even though I had terrible luck during the 2011 playoff run…that’s a story for another day). So, no matter how many players come and go, no matter how many players choose to sign elsewhere as free agents, this time of year always brings hope.
We are right in the middle of a season where the NFC East is wide open and there’s no denying the truth, this town belongs to the Cowboys. From TV ratings to radio shows to water cooler chatter, DFW is owned by the silver and blue. That isn’t going to change. But, for one family in the metroplex, tonight marks the beginning of the most wonderful time of the year…the Dallas Mavericks are back in business.
You can hear Brendan on the Ben & Skin Show, weekdays 2-6 p.m. on 105.3 The Fan.
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