Tuesday, June 23, 2009

devotion [di-voh-shuhn]
profound dedication; consecration; earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc; an assignment or appropriation
Synonyms include: commitment, loyalty, affectation

To a coliseum filled with over 90,000 fans who had been waiting (let's face it, 7 years) for a celebration of this magnitude, Coach Phil Jackson said, "We are humbled by your devotion." As a man of his caliber, having won an historic 10th NBA title in 18 years of coaching in the league, you wouldn't expect the word, "humbled" to come out of his mouth. Yet given the road traveled behind him and his team - one that was often paved with sports analysts, writers and fans who revered you one day then burned you at the stake the next - it was obvious in their faces that this public display of praise was hoped for, but certainly not expected.

It was the perfect Hollywood ending to a perfect Hollywood script (copyrighted 2008-2009), complete with every stage necessary to tell the story:

1) Exposition: the beginning of the story where the author "sets the stage"

The beginning of the 2008-2009 NBA Season. Operation: REDEMPTION

2) Rising Action: the series of action, or complications, that sets up the conflict for the main character of the story. In this part of the story tension builds.

The regular season where our heroes fought against 29 antagonists of all shapes, sizes and cap spaces; experiencing victory and defeat, injury and recovery, trades, blowouts and inconsistency play.

3) Climax: the high point in the story - the turning point where the conflict comes to a head and is decided for one side or the other- usually the most exciting point in the story

The playoffs! Our heroes continued on their quest for the coveted golden trophy by outwitting, outhustling and outplaying the likes of Utah, Houston and Denver -  adversaries who all proved their worth, but exposed their weaknesses at their most inopportune times.

4) Falling Action: events that happen after the climax - usually wrap up the story and lead to the conclusion

Orlando series - After being battle tested in the Western Conference, the Lakers were ready to take what was theirs...and they did.

5) Resolution: the point of closure - also called the conclusion or denoument when the conflict is worked out

Their once-questioned ability and focused proven; redemption achieved; celebration awaited.

* * * 

This is how the past 12 months have been for us fans who followed the Purple & Gold from that depressing day after the Boston Massacre, to a long summer anticipating another chance to make it right, through the anxious preseason, the long regular season, the heart-pumping playoffs and now this - a world championship. It wasn't always easy to face the doubters, especially when momentary lapses turned some of us into one. We hated all the bandwagoners who ebbed and flowed out of our favor, but we detested the haters even more. 12 months of ESPN, ESPN on ABC, TNT, FSNWest, KCAL, 710espn, 570klac - our hunger to remain informed was insatiable.

The 4 am wake-up call last Wednesday morning left nothing for me to challenge. Standing in line for 3 hours, pressing through a throng of fellow fans to get inside the coliseum, waiting in the hot sun for 2 hours before a mere hour of short speeches and MVP chants - it really was no matter. For fans who had waited for this day to finally come, the obstacles were but trivial inconveniences. After all, when it comes to dedication, the guys wearing the jerseys weren't the only ones who won that trophy. 

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