Wednesday, January 27, 2021

jan 26

I cried this morning, sitting in the same spot I was that morning, 

it's been one full year  

We tapped our phones like zombies all day, jumping from story to story, choking back the tears and disbelief, thinking about Vanessa

the grayest of gray in LA, the clouds were so thick outside. the same awful clouds. I cursed them. sludgy and frantic, This day. We broke our dry January that night and I cried through the egg rolls. 

It's been a year and I still have yet to address it personally. It's hard for me to explain everything Kobe was for me. The best I can do is remember the chronicles. 


1996, I was 8 when Kobe started playing in the NBA. This means I was in 3rd grade still singing Bananas in Pajamas (are coming down the stairs!)

Juliette and I would watch Laker games standing in front of the tv. We'd pick the noses of the other team and flick them (smudge central on the face of that 2 ft deep television) and we'd scream for Kobe. he moved like Spiderman and I was in love. 

1999 Phil Jackson became the coach, Kobe and Shaq, it was soon to become my everything. 
2000 2001 2002. it was so exciting. I felt like a part of it.

I spent a large chunk of these youth years sitting 5 feet from the tv screen by myself in the living room, eating Kids Cuisine dinners, zoned IN to those games

I had a knack for attaching my sense of self to things outside myself. My disabled sister stood out everywhere, everyone knew her and everyone loved knowing her. My sense of personal identity was heavily tied to being her sister.

The Lakers were my team. and they were amazing year after year, so fun to watch, so reliable. I was proud that they were mine. Proud that we'd become so tight, the team and me.

When they won, we had won! It would then be a great night
When they lost, I'd go cold. as if I had lost something in my own life

Early 2000s. Middle school and High school, I was obsessive and emotional.
I’d write the schedule of games in my planner. I'd read the sports section in the newspaper the next morning, I'd memorize stats. I formed little mental relationships with the players.
I was so attached. 

2003 Colorado. I was so UPSET/MAD/CONFUSED. I became engrossed in the case.
I was so angry at him. How could he do this to himself!? to Us?! He ruined it

I would continue to support my team. Kobe and I would take it one day at a time. It would take time to move forward.

2005. Junior year of High School. I didn't love school. Always an outlier type, that's where I was comfortable. I had a couple close friends, but in general felt terrible at connecting with people. Every day was another day to get through. 
Joe and I exchanged our first words this year: "I have that shirt."
He was walking past my desk in AP Bio and was wearing a Cheeseburger in Paradise t-shirt. He responded, saying something about Hawaii, we looked at each other for the first real time and he smiled the most engaging nice smile and part of me melted.
He had a girlfriend.
I went to prom with one of his best friends.

2006. Senior year of high school. Joe comes out of nowhere. I'd later find out that he began to crush on me the previous year before we ever spoke, when he saw that I had the Laker game schedule written out in my planner. We'd hang out for the first time at Coffee Bean the night before Thanksgiving. It was instantly right, a "holy shit, I am going to be with this person now" kind of knowing. There was a lot of smiling, I was completely at ease with him.
Nothing so good has ever landed in my lap quite like that.

He invited me to a Laker game on our 2rd date and I met his parents. At this point in my life, I had been to 2 Laker games. His parents had season tickets. I couldn't believe this was happening. 
I was in heaven.
it was the best year of my life. I felt fun and weird and wanted, secure for the first time.

2007-2010. the Laker love affair continues through our college years. Kobe was insane. the shedding of skin. the focus, the precision, the heroics, the face. we'd watch as many games as we could get on the east coast

2010. we've just graduated college and moved back to LA. 
with an absurd twist of fate, we get tickets to Game 7 of the NBA Finals Lakers vs Celtics. It was one of the greatest days of life, We lost our goddamn minds


Years later when Kobe retired, my personal investment in basketball retired too. I had little interest in continuing to dedicate so much time to watching and following a team
It really was all because of Kobe for me.

20 years of his life, growth. drive. A force of nature
20 years of our lives, of being a constant in our homes and our memories. through our own growth.
20 years on one team in one city.

Signed off with a poem and 60 points. his daughters cheering in the corner seats
It was all so special

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