There’s no practical way to test parade-goers this morning lined up along Figueroa and up to the Coliseum for drugs, alcohol or intelligence.
With that in mind, you take your own well-being into your hands by calling in sick to your bossman and expecting to keep your valuable job, driving toward South Central to find a parking space, loading up on purple and gold gear and expecting all to be honkey-dorey for a couple of hours of pure joy and celebration.
I’m not going to be the old man out on his lawn shaking his fist at all those darn people trampling my petunias or relieving themselves on my hydrangeas (although, from what I understand, it’s what you add to the ground below that makes some of them change a beautiful color of blue rather than the normal white and pink). I may look more like Mark Madsen dancing on the stage — a spastic reaction without a retraction.
But I won’t sit back and watch all this stuff going on in person. I see no worth in that. I’ve already made that clear. A lot of any kind of happiness has been drained from these festivities, from how it’s been paid for, how it’s become out of proportion and how some citizens have taken to reacting to this on Sunday night by becoming entitled to destroying property, and seeming to have sheer joy in doing so.
I was at the Dodgers game on Tuesday night, watching the team honor a line of police officers from Gardena, Santa Monica and other areas around town for doing things like saving people’s lives. When the officers were escorted off the field and up through the field-level box seats, the fans around them stood and applauded. Joe Torre tipped his cap to them earlier. Tonight, the Dodgers honor local firefighters.
I walked out of the stadium later (before the game ended) and ran into the L.A. Times’ T.J. Simers in the elevator (we don’t take stairs if we don’t have to), and he admitted that scene honoring the local heroes was among the “misplaced priorities” he was writing about for today’s editions (linked here). I was in complete agreement, with that, as well as his Monday column after the Lakers won the NBA title, wondering how disenfranchised fans suddenly latch onto a team because they’ve overcome “all the odds” to capture a championship.
Why does this Laker title fail to resonate with us middle-aged white males, or am I spreading my wet blanket too wide? Am I, and Simers, just burned-out sports writers who have seen this dance taken far too often with only a short-term effect? It’s worth examining, as much as it’s worth taking seriously.
In the economic times we’re facing, having a party seems like both a perfect and imperfect exercise. We need the diversion, but we don’t need the expense to throwing it. We need the release from the stress, but we don’t need the mess in the aftermath.
The delirium, and the debris. Those who can celebrate responsibily, and those who lack some basic human instincts.
I’m listening to an interview with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, who admits he can’t even really enjoy the day — he’s focused already on having some draft-pick candidates in for workouts today, and they’re already planning for next season — who to keep, who to dump, who to pick, who to pass on and, if it comes to that, who’ll coach the team next season.
There’s maybe a 12-hour window for even the team to catch its breath and figure out what just happened.
OK, the parade is just around the corner, and we have to decide which TV channel to record it on — not to channel more of our outrage — so we can TiVo toggle through it later in the day. For now, it’s too nice out there to waste sitting inside. Even with the June gloom.
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