God be with me. I’m a Sixers fan.
It’s 2013 and I am the only person on the face of the Earth that can proudly exclaim,
"I have never been more passionate about the Philadelphia 76ers than I am today."
I have been a Sixers fan since birth, but my love for the team has grown so strongly recently because of my father.
Don’t worry, this isn’t your typical, "My dad taught me how shoot a basketball, took me to games, he’s a die-hard fan story."
Not even close.
To put it extremely short, my dad was born an orphan in Greece. He rummaged through dumpsters, survived day-by-day, saved enough money to make it to America as a young man, and worked every single minute of his life because nothing came easy to him. And he loved it.
That was until November 11th, 2011. My father entered the hospital with my mother and I thinking he would never come out.
He made it out safe and sound, the only blemish being he could not go back to working his ass off everyday.
Oh yea. My dad is 72. I’m 20.
Now living the retired life, television became his best friend. He eventually grew tiresome of Friends, Raymond, and Three’s Company reruns. For some reason, my father stumbled upon the Philadelphia 76ers as his new prime-time-smash-hit.
My dad never watched basketball, or any sport for that matter. The only times he did was to do something with me that I enjoyed.
It’s easy for him to follow the Sixers compared to the other Philly clubs; there’s a lot less players on the team, there aren’t many rules, and there’s at least two games a week on tv.
It didn’t take long for Dad to figure out the Sixers weren’t the best team in the league. At least once a game he will shout, "This team is lousy, good for nothing! They don’t want to win!" Which to any fan is a very accurate interpretation.
His favorite player to hate, as for most of the Sixers faithful is good ole’ Spencer Hawes.
In the English equivalent, Dad calls him "A scared little boy," and screams, "No Spencer! No!" every time he attempts to shoot the ball. "The Spencer Hawes Hatred" is the glue of our basketball bond.
I never went fishing, camping, or even had a catch with my dad. But that’s totally ok with me. Sixers games are now "Me and my dad’s thing." We finally have something together.
It hurts to watch the Sixers this season, I definitely know. A lot of people are fed up with losing. You can’t talk about the 76ers without a reference to "They haven’t been good since Iverson." Their new aggression is on what could have been Andrew Bynum. Hey, it happens, what can we do about it?
We have to stay positive. We have to stick with our team. We have to show up to games not just because they’re giving away a Wilt Chamberlain bobble head.
Earlier this month I went to a game against the Blazers where the Sixers came out on top 101-100. The Sixers were front runners the entire game until squandering their lead and making it a very exciting back and forth contest in the fourth quarter. The crowd was not the loudest when the clock went zero, no. It was when Jrue Holiday hit the free throw causing the Sixers to reach the 100 point plateau. Everyone knew what that meant. Free Big Macs.
I was so glad the Sixers won the game, while everyone else was so glad they were heading to McDonalds on Adam Aron’s tab.
I have been to five games this season, and it will be six after Wednesday’s "Fan Appreciation Night." I have ventured out of South Jersey with my mother, uncle, different sets of friends, and my girlfriend to the Wells Fargo Center this past year. I appreciate every opportunity I get.
Of course I always ask Dad if he wants to go to a game with me, but he always gives the same answer, "Aris, I’m old, and unless we’re sitting on the court, I can see better from my bed." Once again, another valid interpretation.
Even if I am the only one, I want to thank the 76ers for this season. Even though it wasn’t the most memorable, it was the most important in my life. I have had such a lovely time watching and rooting on the Sixers with my dad, and I will be doing the same for the rest of my life.
Games I went to this season:
Nov. 12 vs Milwaukee 105-96 L
Dec. 7 vs Boston 95-94 W (OT)
Feb. 6 vs Indiana 88-69 L
Feb. 26 vs Orlando 98-84 L
Mar. 18 vs Portland 101-100 W