The game of the month, the game of the year, heck, the game of my life just happened, and I missed the whole thing.
Let me back up.
My wife was getting ready, preparing to go into Manhattan with me. I was hunched on our couch, watching an illegal stream of the Golden State Warriors vs. Oklahoma City Thunder game. I'd already showered, brushed my hair. Put on a nice shirt. It was around 9:30pm, Eastern Standard Time. The New York night throbbed outside our window. The Warriors were already down by 10 points. Things were not going great in the game.
One of my oldest friends, Ambrose Akinmusire, had just let me know I was on the list for his show that night at the Village Vanguard. I hadn't seen Ambrose in about a year, and it was the only time this week I could have gone to see him play at the legendary club
So there I was. Huddled, a little worried. Watching this bad, unreliable stream on my cheap laptop.
"You ready?" my wife asked, walking into the living room.
I glanced at the clock. Dammit, we were going to late if I delayed any longer.
"Alright, argh," I shut my laptop, threw it on our bed in the bedroom. Pulled on my jacket, laced up my boots. "Let's go."
We walked out into the night, just missing an L train shuttlebus as it rushed past us. "Oh right, damn! The subway isn't running!"
Damn you L train. Damn you forever. We walked down the street, down the temporary bus route. Waiting for a bus. Waiting for a bus that never came. Waiting for a bus, walking down the route as we waited until we made it to Myrtle-Wycoff, where the train resumed service.
Right as we were about to go underground, my phone blew up. I pulled it out of my jacket, illuminated the screen.
"No! Ahhhhhh crap!" I said.
"Oh baby," she took my hand. "How bad?"
"I don't know...he just. Dammit he turned his ankle. I guess he just went back to the locker room." I scrolled through twitter, desperately trying to figure out what had happened.
An alarm went off in the subway station, signalling that the next Manhattan bound train was about to leave.
"Honey, we should probably..." she started. "I'm not sure how long it'll be until the next one..."
"Okay, okay. Damn. You're right."
Put my phone away. Went underground. Thinking perhaps Steph's year was over. Damn everything to hell. Everything was the worst possible version of itself.
We rode the train in silence. She read a book and I tried not to think too hard about Steph's injury. I played solitare on my phone.
When we got out at Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, we ran to the club as we were a little late. The Village Vanguard, for those who have never attended, is in a basement. No service. Nothing. I sat, on pins and needles, wondering about Steph.
"It'll be okay," said my wife.
I only grunted.
Ambrose, Sam Harris, Justin Brown, and Harish Ragavan (all old, dear friends and amazing musicians) took the stage. Ambrose smiled into the darkened room, picked up his trumpet, and away they went. Song after song of mystic, spellbinding harmonies. Virtuostic technique coupled with empathy and knowledge. The four of them are, very honestly, some of my favorite musicians in the world.
The concert lasted an hour. I was lost in the shifting time signatures, the shifting melodies, and the endless invention.
When the show ended, I opened my eyes. Smiled. Immediately started worrying about Steph. I got up, used the restroom and--WHOA! Service back here! My phone started blowing up!!
Wait, WHAT? Steph came back into the game, and...they went to overtime...and HOLYYYYYY S##T!! What in the hell?!
I clicked on to a highlight video of the 38 foot shot.
What, just... What...?
I went back to the greenroom, and told Ambrose (who is from Oakland originally and is a huge Warriors fan) what had happened.
"Wait, he did what?" said Ambrose, a huge smile breaking out on his face.
We hung at the club for another hour. Kim and I finally said our goodbyes and walked arm in arm into the night. I felt elated. Felt like walking air. The combination of the concert, coupled with my emotional swing, had me flying high.
We made our way home, busted L train and everything. I fell asleep around 3:00am. And had to wake up at 5:45am to drive upstate to attend the first annual New York Cider Association meeting, at Angry Orchard's new expansive facility in Walden, NY. I kid you not.
I'm flying high on a little less than three hours sleep. I just broke away from the meeting to write this in a corner of the cidery.
Here's where I am. Literally, except not actually literally because I had to stand up to take the photo.
I still haven't watched the game. Everything has been second hand. Reading stories, watching short vines. I can't wait to fall down in to the game's glory. I cannot wait to immerse myself in the epicness.
For now, I'll just live vicariously through all the great writing that's been put out there (Andy, Nate, everyone). I'll cherish the suspense.
Because that's how I have to root for the Warriors, at least at this exact moment. That's what being a sports fan in 2016 entails when your life is full to the brim with music, writing, cider, and more.
I can't wait.
Who would have thought this glorious world, in its infinite possibilities, could produce this:
Ahhhh life, I just can't get enough of you sometimes!!