49ers VERSUS BLAZERS.

PRE-GAME.
He settled into his third level seat, looked down at the Moda Center court, and announced dramatically,

"I think I'm going for the Jazz."

Shhh!
I shushed him.
This is where the Blazers play! This is our team!

I know,
he said,
grin engulfing his elfin face.
But I like the suits the Jazz are wearing better. They're black.

Okay.
I said.
Makes sense. But at least keep your voice down, okay?

He didn't.


1st QUARTER.
I think number 41 is my favorite,
he loudly announced.

Why is that?
I asked.

Because he has cool hair and it doesn't look all fancy. So he's my favorite.

Okay.
I said.
How about a favorite on the Blazers? On the team you might consider cheering for?

I MIGHT be going for them too.
he said.
I'm actually going for both the Blazers AND the Jazz.

Alright.
I said.
Traditionally, basketball games don't end in a tie, so there is a high likelihood that one team will have more points than the other at the end. Which means that that team will win and the other team will lose.

Oh.
he said.
Then I might still go for both. And why is is it hard to see some players' tattoos? Because I can't see some of the tattoos very well on the big TV up there. Is it because some of their skin is darker and the tattoos are harder to see?

Interesting,
I said.
That is not something I had thought about a great deal before. Do you have any tattoos?

No!
he said.
I'm never getting any tattoos! They're hard to get off! Do you have any?

Not yet,
I said.
I might get one when I turn sixty.

2nd QUARTER.
What do you think of Damian Lillard?
I asked.

I don't know who that is.
he said, absorbed in -

- what are you doing?!
I exclaimed.

He looked up from his sketch pad.
I'm drawing a Star Wars basketball game. Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Jango Fett are the Jazz.

Who is that?
I said, pointing to a figure in the middle holding what appeared to be a large stick.

That,
he said, furiously coaxing black ink into mutant-ish shapes with his gel pen.
is Darth Maul. He's a Blazer. That's his light saber he's using to knock the ball down.

Oh.
I said.
Not a bad idea. They could use some more muscle.

Is it halftime yet?
he looked up again.
Do we get food at halftime?

Yes.
I said.
We'll get a veggie burger.

Or...
he suggested.
we could get ice cream.

No.
I said.
We'll get a veggie burger.

HALFTIME.
Can I get a veggie burger?
I asked the lady.

Do we have those?
she asked me.

Umm...
I said, pointing at their menu.
It looks like you do.

Oh yeah.
she said.
We're all out.

You're all out?
I said.

Yeah.
she said.
We're sold out.

Thanks.
I said,
and we shuffled away.

It's really hot in here.
he said, gripping my hand as we circumnavigated the 3rd floor food offerings.
I bet I know what would make us feel less hot.

I can't wait to hear.
I said, waiting for what I knew was coming.

I bet,
he said.
that ice cream would help us be less hot.

It's January.
I said.
We are not getting ice cream.

QUARTER 3.
Why do you have to pay to join the army?
he asked as we ate our ice cream.

You don't.
I said, trying to steal a bite.
They pay you to join.

What!?
he said, laughing.
I always thought you had to pay to join the army.

Nope.
I said, watching Portland pull ahead.

Well,
he said.
How much do you get paid if you're in the army?

It depends on factors like what rank you are, how long you've been in, and what it is exactly you're doing,
I said.

Oh.
he pondered.
Like...would you make about a hundred dollars?

Yep.
I said.
Most people in the army probably make more than a hundred dollars.

Oh.
he said, as CJ threw an errant pass far below.
What if you don't do a very good job in the army? Would you make like one dollar?

I don't know.
I said.
You'd probably still get paid the same, you just wouldn't get any raises, and if you did really bad, they'd kick you out.

Oh.
he said.
So you'd make like two dollars.

QUARTER 4.
Why are people leaving?
he asked.

Well,
I said.
the Blazers are ahead by enough with three minutes left that a lot of people probably think that they've already won.

But they haven't!
he said.
They don't KNOW that the Blazers are going to win! So why are they leaving?!

Excellent point.
I said.
One reason we're not leaving yet.

Yeah.
he said.
I think that number three is my favorite.

Why is that?

Because I like his hair the best. It's not all fancy and it's short.

Right,
I said,
glancing over at his lion's mane of locks spilling around face.
You like the shorter hair?

Yeah.
he said.
I don't really like the Crab* guy's hair because it's longer and it's sort of like a mohawk and all fancy and I don't really like it.

You like CJ McCollum's hair better?
I asked.
Number Three?

Yeah, he's my favorite.

The buzzer sounded.

POST-GAME.
Well
I said.
What'd ya think? Good time?

Yeah.
he said.
Pretty fun.

It's two and a half hours after your bedtime,
I said,
looking down at his beaming, caffeine-ish face grinning under the street lamps.

Oh.
he said.
Maybe I'll take a nap on the way home and that way when we get home I can just stay up the rest of the night.

No.
I said.
Not how it works.

Fine.
he said.
I'll take a tiny nap now and then I'll just stay up until two o'clock when we get home.

No.
I said.
But I am hungry for a veggie burger.

Yeah,
he said.
I really wanted one. How come you didn't let me have any supper?

____

*Allen Crabbe