“Time is a drug. Too much of it kills you.”
― Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
This post isn’t really about the numbers.
As you get older, the frequency of days that break your heart trends inexorably upward.
My favorite author, Terry Pratchett, passed away yesterday from complications related to Alzheimer’s. I wasn’t anywhere close to prepared to lose such a brilliant man. I knew he’d been ill but I’d thought we’d get a few more decades of his brilliant wit and humor to brighten our dreary existences.
Instead, I find that the world has a Pratchett sized hole in it decades too early.
This reminded me of one of my most vivid memories ever. I saw Larry Bird play exactly once in person. I was incredibly excited. My dad had taken me on my college trip and I’d picked Boston as my college town. As a treat he took me to see my favorite basketball player and my first live NBA game. I loved that Celtics team. They’d made the playoffs with a combination of veteran savvy and a budding young star in Reggie Lewis. Larry was extremely banged up having to go to the hospital between games. The Celts were down 3-2 to the Cavs but on the night Larry summoned the ghosts one more time at the Garden. He was a whirling dervish. His shot was a little off so he went into point forward mode and was a passing machine (14 assists).
At one point, Larry dove into the crowd to get a loose ball (while wearing a back brace) and my dad and I looked at each other in amazement and laughed. Anyone who caught the highlights of that game on CNN saw me and my dad laughing as the last image from that game (we saw it at the hotel). The Cs crushed the Cavs to even the series and go back to Cleveland for a game seven and what I naively thought would be a series clinching win and a trip to the conference Finals versus the Bulls. I was beyond stoked as a Celtics fan for the possibilities of the next four years.
That was the last game Larry Bird ever played at Boston Garden.
By the time I got to Boston for school, Bird was retired. Kevin McHale limped along for one more year a shadow of his former glory as his legs betrayed him. Robert Parish stuck around a bit longer.
Thirteen months later, Reggie Lewis died of a tragic heart attack while practicing basketball in the offseason.
Endings are never quite how we planned.
I’m watching the Spurs playing like a champ against the Cavs and wondering if the end is around the corner. Tim Duncan is my age. Manu is showing his miles. Diaw hair is a very french salt an pepper. The miles are also showing on the young spurs. Patty is still not himself. Tiago has been out.
And Kawhi, the all important MVP of this team, has missed critical time.
Did the Spurs already get their ending?
Kobe can’t stay on the court. KG is on his farewell tour. Ray Allen is sitting out the season
I want to believe we get one more run from the Spurs but father Time is undefeated.
I would dearly love a Spurs-Warriors western conference Finals and one more Lebron/Duncan Finals. I would also love a few decades more of Discworld books.
We hope that life is fair but it really never is. My gut tells me it isn’t time yet. The numbers are murkier.
I will either be pleasantly surprised or I will have to be happy with the memories and the body of work. Because if it is the end? What a ride it’s been.