I’ve been a sports fan all my life, usually rooting for perennial losers. I grew up with the Philadelphia Phillies (most losses by any franchise in any major league sport), moved to Boston and the Red Sox (was actually at the Bucky Bleeping Dent game), and now find myself in Jersey with the woeful yet wonderful Nets.
As a writer, though, I look at sports not simply through wins and losses but also through its human drama, both inside and outside the lines. A story I read recently stirred my writer’s imagination.
It was about Kenny Anderson, one in a long line of good to great point guards who carried the hopes of us diehard Nets fans over the past few decades. Seems since he faded from the scene, Kenny has had his ups and downs, mostly downs. The story is almost cliché – lots of women, lots of children, overturned pre-nups, bad investments, charity to friends, all ending up with the athlete in debt and declaring bankruptcy despite making millions over the course of a career.
Kenny’s story, though, appears to be on the verge of a very happy ending. He made a deathbed promise to his beloved mother that he would go back and get his degree, which he just did. He’s now found a good woman and he’s gathering together all of his kids and becoming the father he wished he himself had as he was growing up.
I’m pulling for Kenny and not just because I always pull for the Nets. These sorts of sports clichés don’t often have happy endings, but this time the right pieces seem to all be in place. Bless you, Kenny; I’m rooting for you still.