new header

July 28, 2011

A Duo, Redone

-- Note: To listen to a dramatic reading of this post by the author, press play below --
Flash Not Supported


There's a reason the Mailman left the Jazz at the end of the 2003 season.

It wasn't because he wanted a ring.
It wasn't because he was sick of Utah.
It wasn't because he wanted to put a spin move on Kobe's wife, though I wish he would've.

It was because John Stockton left.

Hear this:

Lewis wasn't going to make it to the west coast without Clark. Penn wasn't going to disappear any lions without Teller. Wilbur wasn't flying anywhere without Orville. And the Mailman certainly wasn't going to carry on in Salt Lake once John Stockton retired.

It just wouldn't have been right.

"Arroyo to Malone, for the dunk!"
"Fast break and it's Mo Williams finding Malone for two."

Doesn't sound right. Wouldn't have been right.

I know this because I am living this. I made for a humble Mailman, but a Mailman I once was. My pasty passing counterpart went by the name of Nathan Ballard, and together during our Logan years we formed a synergistic duo that no man -- or woman -- could topple. Our college days may not have spanned the length of Stockton and Malone's court-ship, but they were Hall of Fame worthy nonetheless, a picture of teamwork framed in a Freschetta pizza box. We picked, we rolled, we dominated.

And then Nathan Ballard retired. That is, graduated, and I remained behind. What I should have done is gone to LA like Karl. Because I soon learned what life was like sans sidekick.

It wasn't the same. Sure, I still lived in Logan, sure I was still surrounded by a campus full of girls, sure I still ate pizza every day,  but something was missing. The joy of our previous duo couldn't be replicated by any stand in food, lover or TV-show. I learned how difficult it is to operate as a mere half. I attended dances solo, botched punchlines all too frequently and was forced to store in the fridge pizza that otherwise would have been consumed.

If times were tough then, they've only worsened since. The separating force no longer is school, but state, yet even in this time of great distance I believed a reunion was possible. Marriage killed that chance. I am not complaining; one cannot argue against scripture: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and his best friend, and cleave unto his wife." Slowly, but surely, I will grow to  accept that my love is to be replaced by another, one better even than myself.

Not all is lost of course. We maintain the memories, the likes of which are unparalleled in modern day: the race through the Asians, the clogging of various toilets (via instant potatoes, not Pizza overdose), a legacy of costume excellence (witnessed above), hypnotic dance moves and most importantly, a syndicated radio show which, if all goes according to plan, represents not a memory but the future.

Likewise encouraging is the subject filling the replacement half in this equation of love: Miss Nicole Blietschau. Though my natural thought is to be repulsed by German success, I yield to her superior looks and aromas and congratulate her on a victory well earned.  She can do for Nathan what I never could have done: which is to say, make spaghetti and cheesecake.

I jest of course. She is greatness, that Nicole. So much so that in my surrender I don't give up Nathan as much as I give to Nathan a superior second half; a Malone with whom he can once again pick and roll. Our duo-ship endured for quite a while. It was enjoyable, palpable, powerful. But the true love we personified has been bested by truer love.

I feel no shame in that. In fact, an opposite sentiment reigns. I rejoice, for Stockton and Malone are together again.

No comments:

Post a Comment