I fancy myself a lover of independent music. You know the type: whiny, literate, geeky dudes with jangly guitars and ill-fitting cardigans. The bittersweet truth of the current state of the ol’ indie rock is that it seems that every so often one of these bands breaks through. The secret gets out and all of the sudden you can buy the new Bright Eyes record at Target right next to Toby Keith and the Eagles Greatest Hits.

My first experience with this situation came in the autumn of 1995. My copy of No Doubt’s now legendary album Tragic Kingdom arrived at the local record shop. Six months later, No Doubt were megastars and I was the jerk trying to say, “I was first” to all my 8-year-old peers who could not get enough of that sublime album. That record was my little second grade secret miracle.

Apply this same scenario to movies, (Juno), comedians (Brian Regan) hot-actresses du jour (I had the BIGGEST crush on Scarlett Johansson when she appeared in Home Alone 3!).

Once the secret is out, it is out. And there is no way to hold onto the days when it was yours.

So, I guess the secret is out on the 2007-08 Lakers. My little 20-year-old secret miracle. They are going to the NBA Finals. They are going big time. And although much of this is personal perception, seeing as they play to 18,997 people at the STAPLES Center and millions more on television, it seems like up until Thursday night, they were playing just for me.

For reasons that I will not discuss: the 2007-08 Los Angeles Lakers saved my life. No joke.

I wish I were joking. Dear God do I wish I were joking.

Over the last 97 games this group of dudes has taught me so much more about myself than any film, mentor, religious icon or what-have-you ever could. I do not like this fact. I do not want to be that guy who takes sports for more than it is: a game. I try to remind myself that these guys are just physically gifted millionaires, yet for some reason, I see something so much more tangible in these Lakers. I see the fact that most of them are scared, rag-tag, misfit, twentysomethings. Wait, I am a scared, rag-tag, misfit twentysomething! Do you see where I am going here?

Never have I ever been able to relate to an entity outside myself so well (save for Juliet Burke from LOST).

I have felt the feelings of disappointment from family and friends alike when I do not live up to expectations. Do you think Lamar Odom knows anything about that?

I have said horrible and atrocious things to people who treat me with nothing but love and adoration. I assume Kobe Bryant knows a thing or two about that scenario.

The truth of the matter is that something special is happening with this team. They are everything modern sports teams are not. They like each other. They are selfless. They are likeable. They are relatable. They are real. And aren’t those key components to what makes an appealing hero?

This season has so many moments that were ancillary to watershed moments in my life.

The Pau Gasol trade came on the heels of heartbreak. My girlfriend of two years and I had just broken up a day prior. When the Lakers beat the Pistons in November, my best friend Ryan took me to the game to raise my spirits the day I was laid off from my job due to the Writer’s Strike. The saga of the game against the Mavericks on my birthday has been recounted time and time again, and is most likely the greatest day of my life. I stood next to my Father on Thursday as he wept with joy and seeped raw emotion as Jerry West heralded his surrogate son and newly minted Western Conference Champion Kobe Bryant.

My little secret miracle was never even mine to begin with. Only the experience belonged to me.

This season has been better than any song I have ever heard. It has been more rewarding than any movie I have ever seen. Head and shoulders above any book I have ever read. More valuable than any class I have ever attended. This Lakers season has been the most compelling and all-encompassing event I have ever been privileged to be witness to.

And it is not even over yet.

  • vintij

    So your a lesbian? I didnt know that.

  • PRICELESS

    beautifully said!

  • Michael_23

    Since the Finals is 5 or 6 days away there’s gonna be some posts and comments that are gonna be totally unnecessary the next couple days here on the LakersNation such as the article above.

  • varsityoptimism

    [Comment ID #37728 Will Be Quoted Here]

    nope, im definitely a guy.

  • Laaffiliation024

    [Comment ID #37730 Will Be Quoted Here]

    serously

  • http://www.jasonduaine.com Jason

    Nah I feel you man, things like the Lakers all have a special place within us. Whether it is our love for the team and city, their is a reaon some of us follow these guys for 82 games in the regular season. They really do effect how you feel, and it is even better when you know these guys are genuine, and seems like you could be friends with any one of them.

    we have to win the championship or it would be a travesty.

  • yearight

    Haha that had to be the stupidest thing ever. Go kill yourself over the Lakers.

  • lakerville213

    wow…this article is really deep…

    i understand what u feel varsityoptimism…when shit isnt going 2 well…and we feel hopeless…and we feel we cant depend on family or friends…wat do we have 2 lean on?

    our lakers…and hopefully sometime in next next few years…our dodgers too…

    nothing feels better than comin home from a long shitty day…turning on the tv and watching the lakers and crackin open a bottle of brew…

    LA ALL DAY EVERYDAY…GO LAKERS

  • varsityoptimism

    [Comment ID #37744 Will Be Quoted Here]

    have you ever cared about something outside of yourself? thats all it is. a way to exorcise the demons, brother.

  • http://thelakersation.com/blog PauKobeBynumDynasty

    Well that was pretty personal…You should have had a lot of bravery to put that up on this website…but we are all in this together:)

  • Swiggle

    I personaly couldn’t agree with you more. I know exactly how you feel. The Lakers are something I have looked forward to on a daily basis for my entire life and this season has been the best. So far…

  • Freshh
  • Freshh

    BTW AMAZING
    Article.

  • lakerferlife7

    WTF

  • Majic “Big” Johnson

    Good article man. I have been with this team as long as I can imagine and there has been plenty of day were it seems every damn thing is going wrong. Work, school, relationships, whatever… but when I watch my Lake Show doing the damn thang. It lifts the spirit.

    Sports are a gift from God my friends.

    By the way anyone who disagrees get “smacked with the big johnson”!!!

    GO LAKERS!!! CRUSH THE LEPRECHAUNS!!!

  • http://www.hard-wood.org/?cat=34 Billy Kupchak

    @varsityoptimism

    good read bra! :]

  • http://www.bigdaddysportsfan.com steve vonsik

    War Lakers! When I heard Pierce jumpin’ around in the locker room chanting BEAT LA, it hit a nerve. Bring it! I came across some interesting thoughts on Wilt and Jerry at http://www.bigdaddysportsfan.com. ck it out. Steve

  • domz

    I salute you man for sharing your thoughts..Dont mind people saying that you are talking stupid thoughts..We, here as family, respect everything you’ve said..

    GOODLUCK LAKERS!!!
    BEAT BOSTON!!!

  • True Lakers Fan

    varsityoptimisim i hate u

  • two0one7

    Great write up, man. Don’t mind the juvenile responses. You have to a understand lot of the readers are on here are young.

  • John from Oc

    OMG! this varisty guy is the biggest hypocrite. He’s saying that the Lakers “saved his life” yet he bashes other people about their love and adoration for the lakers..

    varsityoptimism
    May 28th, 2008 at 11:46 am
    oh.my.god.

    i am ashamed of our readership.

    i can say the possessive “our” due to the fact that i am a major contributor to this website.

    if you think that your relationship to the los angeles lakers is anything more that an one sided love affair then you are naive and misled.

    it is a truth of pro sports that is hard to follow. the team doesnt give a crap about you, what you think, or anything else remotely resembling sympathetic vibrations.

    im sorry if you still think that fanhood entitles you to something beyond a simple sense of community among other fans and reveling in the accomplishments of others. face it, without the lakers, there are no fans. there is no right to EVER take personal pride in their actions, for NO FAN WILL EVER BE INSTRUMENTAL IN A VICTORY! it is absurd. ask any television host, radio host, journalist if using the term “we” is appropriate. it is the wrong word for this particular situation. it inappropriately inserts yourself into an equation which ultimately demeans the accomplishments of the people who actually played and coached the game. Your contributions, although petty and passing, have sadly gone unnoticed by the squad. these dudes are MILLIONAIRES. they do not give a flying eff about you. the sooner you realize that your love and adoration is not reciprocated the easier it is to refer to the team as “them”.

    just remember. generally speaking, on this website i see a lot of “we won!!”s. i tend to see a lot of “they lost”s too. if you claim to be in this. you are in it feast or famine.

    also, dont be mean!!! it is unnecessary. i am just trying to open up a dialog about this issue.

    Dude, you’re a poser!

  • varsityoptimism

    [Comment ID #37775 Will Be Quoted Here]

    that is an entirely different argument.

    i was addressing the word “we” in reference to team performance.

    emotionally everyone is entitled to their individual feelings towards the events that transpire.

  • Laaffiliation024

    HE’S A CLIPPERS FAN!!! GET HIM!!!

    lol

  • varsityoptimism

    [Comment ID #37778 Will Be Quoted Here]

    ya i just jumped on the elton brand-wagon

  • Truth

    [Comment ID #37777 Will Be Quoted Here]

    You are the biggest poser on this site. If that person didnt do it i was. You write an article showing your love for the Lakers then on the same site put others down for doing the same but in a different way. You belittle Lakers fans but get angry when they do it to you. Your not part of the Lakers Nation, your just a poser.

  • Michael24

  • SpeyerD

    Couldn’t agree more Michael and John

  • http://www.lakers.com lakers_science

    THE THEORY IS ONCE AGAIN…””””””””””””4″””””””””””””” MORE GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://myspace.com/plummerrocks Machinehead18

    This was amazing. Eeven though, based on the comments you’re getting, people are bashing you, admittedly, I am feeling very similar.

    This past year has been rough for me and it seemed after every Laker win, it would get better, even if it had nothing to do with the Lakers. So Im with you all the way.

    Represent!

  • varsityoptimism

    [Comment ID #37790 Will Be Quoted Here]

    thank you for understanding!

    that is exactly what its about!

  • http://swishtheball.net andy or drew

    http://www.clublakers.com/forums/lebron-james-to-lakers-t96215.html

    should the lakers trade lamar and trevor for lebron,

    i don’t really think kobe and lebron together would work

  • lakerz

    i get it… but i dont believe you, with all the “we” things you posted before.

  • lalball81

    As expected, immature and childish responses once again.

    Anyway, good article, I think a lot of us can connect with it on some level.

  • Laaffiliation024

    this article is worse than panic at the disco

  • Luis24

    agreed with Lakerz, I always say “we”. Since we wanted Kobe to stay, we were there with Kobe when the rape allegations were presumed, we were there when we won 34 games, we were there when we had kwame and we are there to make the Lakers 8-0 at home in the playoffs, we are going to be there at the parade and wether win or lose in the Finals we will be there, to cry Purple and Gold like when the Spurs defeated us in 03 and we cried with Kobe.
    Respect the article but coming from you, its not the same

  • ValleyBoy1

    WEEEE GONNAAAA WINNNNNN!!!!! WE CAN DO IT!!!!! My man u argue to the death about peoples own feelings towards the Lakers, i.e. the whole “we” thing. Certain fans feel as thou there one with the Lakers, and probably grew up in L.A. with them. I know i did, ive know the Lakers my whole life, all the teams and all the players. It almost feels like i know them in a weird way, checking the injury reports watching them at least 82 days a year, arguing with other teams fans when were having a tuff stretch, comming home from work after a ruff day and unwinding with 6 pack of brew with my friends Kobe and Pau!!!!! So in a way us fans feel we are a part of the team, and WE as a lakers nation feel that if the Lakers win-WE win!!!!! Dont bash us, who are “WE” with the Lake Show and expect cheers over your little fatal attraction with the Lakers.

  • lakersftw

    I always use “we” whenever I talk abt the lakers, probably cuz I grew up watching them and was the only one obssesed with the lakers when I was younger. I get what ur trying to se about the “we” situation because I know those who would say “we won” and “they lost”. But u should try to keep in mind that there are those, like me, who don’t really do that at all, like we also say “we lost”. so ur comments abt the “we, they” stuff can be offensive and taken to the heart since most of us here are 100% die hard lakers fan and you’re writing for a site that we constantly go to. Anyway I just wanted you know to keep that in mind but good article; I depend on the lakers to boost my spirits at difficult times too. And I remember when I was the only one in middle school who loved the lakers and everyone else thought I was crazy but now that I’m in college, those ppl who never gave a crap abt the lakers before all love the lakers now. Its so annoying!

  • lakersftw

    I always use “we” whenever I talk abt the lakers, probably cuz I grew up watching them and was the only one obssesed with the lakers when I was younger. I get what ur trying to se about the “we” situation because I know those who would say “we won” and “they lost”. But u should try to keep in mind that there are those, like me, who don’t really do that at all, like we also say “we lost”. so ur comments abt the “we, they” stuff can be offensive and taken to the heart since most of us here are 100% die hard lakers fan and you’re writing for a site that we constantly go to; you just can’t really do that, if u catch my drift. Anyway I just wanted you know to keep that in mind but good article; I depend on the lakers to boost my spirits at difficult times too. And I remember when I was the only one in middle school who loved the lakers and everyone else thought I was crazy but now that I’m in college, those ppl who never gave a crap abt the lakers before all love the lakers now. Its so annoying!

  • DCLAKER

    Hey fellas,WE NEED TO BE TALKIN”BOUT HOW WE GONNA STOMP A MUDHOLE IN THE SMELL-TICS A$#,FO’REAL!I don’t wanna ANY negative talk this week,WE,as y’all all know,are apart of this team who has carried us to The Promised Land…..again.Call us spoiled(I am)for all the championships but when your The 2nd best(New York being 1st)franchise in NBA history,what can you say?!?

    This is a very special time in the NBA,LAKER VS CELTICS,IT’S THE 80′S ALL OVER AGAIN!!

  • varsityoptimism

    Photobucket

  • Freshh
  • http://www.myspace.com/juicyjustin juicyjustin

    I can really identify with this article, you hit the nail right on the head about how I feel with this years Lakers (and even with people finding out about the little secret bands I like then getting huge). But early on in the season, I felt that there was something special there and everytime I would talk to people about it they would say “it doesn’t matter they aren’t going to get out of the first round anyway” then slowly but surely people started coming around and started to realize there was something definitely unique about this team.

    good article, i really enjoyed reading it. :]