(A16 - One of the best Fanposts of the year. Stefanie reminds all of us why we continue to fight, why we continue to cheer. We're not doing it just for us, but for future generations of Kings fans as well.)
I am a mom of sports fanatics! Instead of cartoons in the morning, I wake up to the sounds of Sports Center and ESPN recaps. I will occasionally wake up to one of my kids jumping on my bed because they can not wait to tell me the final scores to ALL of the games from the night prior. I knew that this was bound to happen with boys, but I had no idea it would be this early in life. You see, my boys are only 4 and 7!
I grew up on the San Francisco 49ers, and the Giants, but basketball was not something I kept up on UNTIL I moved to Sacramento for college. I moved here in 1999, and anyone that lives in Sacramento will tell you that it is impossible to live here and not follow the Sacramento Kings. I found myself not only watching games, but going to restaurants and local bars to cheer on the team, and even going to a few games every season. I still would not fall into the category as a die hard basketball fan, but my boys are another story.
Now that they are old enough to play, they are in love with basketball. Last year was their first year of playing on a team, and it would be safe to say that they eat, breath, and sleep basketball. We have a hoop in the living room, on the bathroom door, bedroom door, and hall way. Balls are flying through my living room at all hours of the day, and the tile area of our floors are often used to practice bouncing in the winter time.
We have lived in Natomas the past 2 years, so it has been even easier to follow the Kings considering we are right down the street.Every time we drive by Arco (sorry, bad habit, I know it has a new name), my boys will roll down their window and yell, "Go Kings!" They have foam fingers on their bed posts, a Kings bobble head that they insist stays in the living room for all to see, and my youngest runs around the house in a little lion costume with his jersey over it. He loves to be called Little Slamson. My oldest son dreams of being in the NBA one day, or at the least becoming a sports commentator. He will spark up a conversation with anyone that is willing to talk sports with him, especially if he sees someone wearing Kings gear.
Unfortunately we were not able to make it to more than one game this year due to finances, but the boys followed via the television.They watched when they won, and they watched when they lost. I even tried to persuade them to root for the Warriors so that they would be prepared next year if the Kings left, but they kindly declined the thought. I guess we were contradicting our "fan for life" way of preaching now that I think of it.
As an adult it is frustrating to watch team owners that are doing everything in their power to leave. I have become tired of the politics, and overwhelmed by the games that are being played, and I'm not talking about the games being played on the court.. I began losing my interest in the team about half way through the season, that is until I realized just how much a simple game of basketball, along with the Sacramento Kings can mean to 2 little boys.
My oldest goes by J.T. and he was so excited to hear that Jason Thompson would be signing autographs last month, so we went. I was shocked when I heard that my 7 year old wanted to write a letter to the Maloofs and give it to Jason Thompson in hopes that he would pass it on to the owners. He sat down and put a lot of thought into his letter. It was then that I realized just how much this team meant to my kids. I watched the excitement in the eyes of my children and was instantly taken back to when I was a child myself. I could feel their passion. I remembered what it felt like to dream big dreams, and really believe that anything was possible. Here was my 7 year old giving a hand written letter to an NBA basketball player, and he truly believed that he could make a difference simply by using his words. He made me proud, but a different emotion began to consume me.
I was filled with confusion. How in the heck did I go from that little dreamer to a pessimist that hoped for the best, but prepared myself for the worst? I guess the world just has a way of sucking you dry as you become older, and it is such a shame. We get so caught up in the politics of it all, that we miss the magic that is taking place around us. At that moment, I realized that I have a choice. I can throw my hands up and walk away, or I can hold my hands up with a Sacramento Kings foam finger on it and cheer with my children, even if that means doing it to the bitter end.
A few weeks have gone by since the signing, but today I was caught off guard in the grocery store when my 4 year old tapped on my leg and pointed a few feet away. There to my surprise was Jason Thompson standing in line for a Jamba Juice at the grocery store. My son was so shy that he did not talk much, but Jason tenderly bent down to his level, and had a full conversation with my son. I doubt he even realized how much this meant to me at that moment, but it is something that I will never forget. He wanted to see my 4 year old jump, and asked him if he could dunk. At the end of the season my 4 year old was still too short to get the ball up in the net. He was discouraged, but as of today, he is a different kid. In his mind, a real NBA player thought he could dunk, and because of that, he is already talking about next season when he gets a little taller.
Today there is a twinkle in my little boy's eyes. He is currently running around in the backyard with his brother and his basketball, and I am certain that in their little minds, they are pretending to be center court at Arco Arena in front of thousands of fans. They are working together to make the winning shot, and instead of sitting on the couch typing, their mama is watching them from the stands and cheering them on. I can guarantee that they are NOT in a Royals jersey, and they are NOT in Southern California. They are wearing purple, black and white, and they are playing for the SACRAMENTO Kings.
All I can do now, is wait with the rest of you, and hope that maybe the Maloofs will have a change of heart, and realize that there are still fans out there that really want them to stay. It may have taken a 4 and 7 year old to keep me rooting them on, but if they can keep a mom that never really watched basketball before cheering, I have to believe they could convince anyone to keep cheering for SACRAMENTO. That includes the Maloofs.
Joe and Gavin, if you are reading this, please take a second and try and remember what it was like to be 4 and 7. You have 2 of the littlest, yet biggest fans right outside your door. You not only have them, but there are more of us that want you to stay EVEN with a losing record. We have stuck by you, even though you have filed paperwork. We are asking you to stay, even when you are thinking of leaving. You can't put a price tag on faithfulness. We want to ride out the storm, and cheer on the players. We really hope you will reconsider.
I may be partial because this is my home, but even the players will tell you that you won't find more loyal fans. Maybe, just maybe that should be reason enough for you to stay. HERE WE STAY! SACRAMENTO KINGS!