Not counting my first 16/17 years when I didn’t have any reason to know any better, since then as a sports fan I’ve been taught this lesson too many times: Your heroes are expendable.
I learned it first and hardest when first baseman Steve Garvey was allowed to go to San Diego at the end of 1982. Eight baseball seasons of my childhood as a fan were literally anchored to the “Durable Dodgers” infield of Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey. For me to ever consider that quartet unbreakable was unthinkable. Until, of course, it was broken up, first by trading Lopes to Oakland before the 1982 season.
A part of me still hasn’t forgiven, and all of me will never forget how unique it was to have been able to count on the same four players for so long. Something like that in this day and age of pro sports is about as unlikely thing to ever happen again.
The class on Harsh Reality was in session again yesterday in which I learned that Lakers great Derek Fisher was traded to Houston.
All I can do is shrug, though. And remember his character, his leadership and his clutch play best exemplified in what is no doubt in my mind the greatest and most improbable finish to a basketball game ever, during the 2004 playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs: