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A very sad day in my life

Today is one of the saddest days in my life, not just my sports life. This is far more heartbreaking than Ken Griffey Jr leaving Seattle. This is more scarring than all of the sports teams I grew up with, save the Seahawks, having losing records… Its a life trauma. 100 years of losing and a curse does not compare to this. I hardly have words to describe it.

My most vivid childhood memories are tied to sports, mostly baseball and basketball, but some football too. And its those memories that keep me coming back as a fan. That said, this time I can’t go back. It has been ripped away from me.

The Seattle SuperSonics are no more.

Now somebody may say, “Wesley, you have lived in Kentucky almost 8 years! You haven’t been to a Sonics game in 4 years! And every remnant of the team that was around before you moved left when Rashard Lewis signed that mega-deal in Orlando.” And I say yes this is true, but being a true fan(atic) is more than just players, names, colors and records.

Being a true fan is why I will probably never be able to love the NBA the same anymore.

But true fandom is what fuels me to follow the worst team in baseball is if its 2001 and they are on pace to set the A.L. single season wins record ….Or why I love a team that has never won anything, and in their only chance to win played like dogs and plagued by a host of terrible calls, including a 15-yard clipping penalty on a quarterback that made a tackle after throwing an interception. It’s why my first pair of player signature shoes were those of none other than Gary Payton. Why I nearly cried when Ken Griffey Jr. was traded. And why Brian Blades is my favorite football player of all-time.

Adult life has brought many disappointments to me that have been much worse, but none have hurt this much. I understand why people die, why relationships go sour, why things change whether you like it or not–but I just don’t understand how a team with an NBA championship can be stripped from a city to be taken to a city with no professional sports, only a brief history of supporting a team, and a much smaller population with less of, well everything, you need for a major sports franchise.

The second the team was sold to Clay Bennett’s ownership group these rumors started, well not rumors. It was pretty clear that Bennett wanted to move the team out of the city, even to ESPN.

I have no idea what the politics and circumstances are surrounding the situation. I know that Qwest Field and Safeco Field have been built within the last ten years and that has not been forgotten by tax payers. I know that the second Howard Schulz DECIDED to sell the Sonics there was very little effort to field a competitive team, evidenced by role players such as Antonio Daniels not being resigned. (Daniels was key in the Sonics taking the eventual NBA champion Spurs to a game six with two of their top three scorers, Vladimir Radmonovic and Rashard Lewis, injured after game 2). I know that David Stern is the most agenda driven sports figure, and if he wants something, done one way or the other, it gets done. But I don’t know why this is happening. I am literally in a daze.

I was going to bed. I can’t. This is top 5 worst days of all time. I still have all the memories I had earlier today of the Reign man (Shawn Kemp), the Glove (Gary Payton), Mac-10 (Nate McMillan, who coincidentally was offered an insulting contract offer to remain in Seattle as coach), and even Steve Scheffler…. the thing is they are no longer connected to a great franchise, in the magnificent city of Seattle, in the beautiful state of Washington.

The city will get anther team. But it doesn’t matter. This is a dirty deal and all parties are wrong here involved in this are wrong, starting with the ownership, current and former for setting it up the sale. The city is responsible for not stepping up to the plate and allowing history to walk away. David Stern and his smug attitude that holds a city hostage, making the public fund a private businesses place of operation. (Ownership in Cleveland and D.C. ponied up major cash for arenas). I even blame fans for not seeing through the smokescreen and taking care of a team that is conspicuously doing everything right NOT to stay. I am included in that group. And still, there is much more blame to go around.

I can take a lot…. not this.

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