Thursday, May 28, 2015

Dear Lebron James,

Congratulations on making the finals. I wish I could be happier for you, but the truth is, I'm holding a grudge.

Last summer, I happened to be in Cleveland having surgery when you announced your return. Literally in the operating room, my doctor and nurses couldn't shut up about it. The whole town was on fire because of your impending return, and my husband, as big a basketball junkie as there ever was, was stoked about the timing of our visit and your news.

It was a no-brainer that in December, for his birthday, I would get him the gift to end all gifts: tickets to see his two favourite players go head to head - Lebron James vs Kevin Durant. The tickets weren't super easy to come by, as you can imagine (epic match up!), and as soon as we bought them, Durant got injured. And then Westbrook got injured too. We thought about selling the tickets, but the team doctors estimated that Durant MIGHT be back in the game by the time we (and you) were there. Might. Injuries are tough things to gamble on but my husband wanted so badly to see you both play that he put it all on the line and kept the tickets. We booked flights and hotels and prayed that KD would be in. And he was! But we still had the toughest part ahead - the trip. We're from Canada, you see. A whole other country. Which means that to see you play we have to take a plane, cross a border, go through customs, all that mega fun stuff that makes people hate travelling. And to make matters worse, there was a big bad Canadian snow storm on the day of our departure, so even though we'd given ourselves plenty of extra time to make the game, the not-so-nice lady at the counter was telling us that actually, our flight was cancelled, and the next one wouldn't get us there in time. I broke down in the airport when I realized that my gift would be ruined (not to mention that the very expensive non-refundable game tickets would now go to waste). My husband, an optimist and champ, insisted that we try anyway. He asked if we could fly to Dallas, or Tulsa - he went through dozens of cities, calculating the amount of time it would take to then rent a car and race to OKC. No go, she told us.

While waiting for the flight that would get us there too late, my husband got someone on the phone who was a little more helpful. He switched us to a flight where we wouldn't get there in time for tip-off, but if we were very lucky, and everything else went smoother than smooth, we'd maybe get to see the last quarter. It was a paltry, paltry thing, but we took it. Even a glimpse of Lebron would maybe salvage this failed vacation! First we flew to Chicago, and while there my husband noticed a curious thing: another flight! Could we get on it? He ran the whole length of that damn airport trying to get us on the flight. Our tickets were not transferable, they told us. No problem. We'll pay. We can't do it at this desk, they told us. No problem, we'll run to the other end and get it done there. We only have one ticket, they told us. No problem. I can wait. Just please, for the love of god and the game, get my husband there in time. We can't help you just now, they told us, we have another flight to board. The flight we so desperately wanted onto ourselves was also boarding, without us, as we watched. And yet somehow, I don't know how and I'm not going to question it, we got on, just in the very nick of time. Both of us. We were wobbly and exhausted, be we were on a plane that was going to land in Oklahoma City in time to see you play.

Can you now start to appreciate how much this game meant to us?
So imagine our disappointment when we arrived in OKC only to hear that Lebron James wasn't there.
You didn't play in that game.
We came all that way, spent all that money, and you didn't play.
If I was a weaker person, I think my sanity may have broken in that moment.
But we went to the game. Tried not to be too disappointed since we'd come all this way.
Oklahoma won, Westbrook bringing in a lot of points, and Durant making a strong showing, especially in the second half.
But there was no Lebron. No epic match up. As far as birthday gifts go, it was an epic fail, a very costly, 2500 km fail.
The next day we rented a car and headed to Dallas, where we saw Golden State beat the Mavs. and extended their winning streak to 15. Great game.
And now you're playing them in the finals.
So here's what I'm thinking.
I'm sure you don't like disappointing your fans, and my husband is a big fan, not on their birthdays, not on a once-in-a-lifetime trip, that's for sure.
I've heard you're a nice guy.
So if you wanted to make it up to us, we wouldn't say no to playoff tickets.
If you had a couple to spare, we'd be there in a heartbeat. No hard feelings. That's just the kind of dedicated hard-travelling Canadians we are, basketball fans to the last, and always ready to forgive...and maybe, just maybe, even cheer.

Love and kisses,