"... as a result of your watching the Pistons and their losing, I'll be asking all the cable channels to cut off service to Iowa. You bastard."
And that's a legitimate beef. Is it worth my being able to watch a Pistons game in Iowa if the result is a loss? Of course not. And I would gladly hand over my cable service for the greater good. I think the Pistons lost for other reasons. Yet Evan is correct - it was my fault. Allow me to explain:
See, I watched Game 1 of the Pistons-Sixers series last Sunday, and the Pistons won. However (and that's a Stephen A. Smith "however!" if you know what I mean - okay, you don't), I still unwittingly fulfilled my duties as a Detroit sports fan. How?
I didn't watch the first quarter of the game on television.
Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Ian? Well, please let me continue, Arnold:
During the Detroit Red Wings' Stanley Cup Championship runs (And Liz, one of those wins - 1997 - was over the Philadelphia Flyers - HA!), I came upon an interesting finding. When I didn't watch the first period of a Red Wings playoff game (because of work or school), the team would win. When I watched the game on TV from the beginning, they lost. After the Wings' lost a second game in their 1997 first-round series versus St. Louis, I realized this was much too serious a trend to be trifled with. So from then on, I refused to watch the first period of a Wings playoff game on television.
Friends would snicker as we met at sports bars to watch games, yet I would insist on going out to my car to listen to my radio. My dad and uncle were baffled as I went to a bedroom or out to the car while the game was on TV. But the proof was beyond a reasonable doubt. The Wings' record was incredible - they only lost two more games - when I did this.
Black & white? Was 1997 that long ago?
But last year, the mojo rose again - this time for the Detroit Pistons. I denied its return. Surely, the well had run dry. However, the results were unmistakable. When I missed the starts of Pistons games because of class, the team won. When I could watch games from the beginning, they lost. I knew the magic had undoubtedly returned when Detroit won Game 1 of the NBA Finals. All the so-called experts thought the Los Angeles Lakers would easily stomp the Pistons. How did this happen? The answer was clear to me: my friend Eric and I got to Sticks in Ypsilanti late in the first quarter. Four games later (I had the night off during their one loss), the Pistons won their third NBA championship.
2004 = vivid color, baby!
Tomorrow's game starts at noon CST on ESPN. I'll be at brunch. Or the movies. Where I won't be is in front of the TV at the beginning of Game 4. Too much is at stake to test the fates.