Basketball has had a long run as my favorite sport in the known universe, but sadly its time atop my personal Mt. Rushmore has come to an end. I’ve loved basketball since I was a wee little man. I even stuck around after the Joe Smith draft. I salivated over pictures of the “Dream Team” in freshly-pressed episodes of Sports Illustrated. I considered the “We Believe” season one of the great achievements of my own personal life, even though I had absolutely nothing at all to do with it and was living in Amsterdam at the time and couldn’t even watch the games live because reddit didn’t exist and the internet wasn’t what it is now and obviously Dutch bars weren’t showing some random Warriors vs. Mavericks series at like 3am or whatever time it would have been.
But, today, sadly, I must admit that basketball can no longer lay claim to my heart as my favorite sport in the world. That honor, surprisingly, has been usurped by something called “Slippery Stairs.”
Here, witness perfection:
can someone explain why japanese game show 'slippery stairs' hasn't made its way to our part of the world yet pic.twitter.com/cd1BHvvoKl— juan (@juanbuis) November 20, 2017
Yeah, sure, you could spend all your time watching Stephen Curry put up 20 points in a quarter, en route to leading the Warriors to a remarkable come-back. Or, yeah, you could watch Kevin Durant swish shot after shot after shot in a way that almost mesmerizes the nervous system into a soft, dreamlike complacency wherein everything is gentle, smooth, and just.
But why would you watch those (admittedly awesome) things when you could be watching the entire story of human history unfold before you — “human comedy” writ large in technicolor hues — on a simple, slippery-as-all-hell staircase before a live TV audience in Japan?
I watched this clip a couple of times yesterday, and every single time I felt closer to the source. Felt closer to a semblance of meaning and depth in this topsy-turvy universe.
Here, the full video is even better:
I could break down this tape play by play like Apricot does so well, but instead, let me point you to the moment I realized “Slippery Stairs” is all of us, at our core:
I give you, minute marker 7:50 until the end (screenshots via the above video):
Purple Dude is so, SO close to winning. He goes to take the final step, and —
OH NO! HIS FEET GIVE OUT. HE SLIDES DOWN THE ENTIRE STAIRCASE TO THE IGNOMINIOUS SOUNDTRACK OF PUMPED-IN CARTOON BOUNCY SOUNDS. OH THE HUMANITY!
A look of utter despair snarls across his face. He shakes his fist into the sky.
Meanwhile, Green Dude, who barely avoided Purple Dude’s wipeout, slowly, slowly inches his way towards the finish line. The crowd screams wildly. Can he ... can he ... OH SNAP! He did it! He grabs the prize paper in the winner’s box and screams into the air!
Relief, gratitude, exhaustion, pain, triumph — the full spectrum of human emotion plays across his face like an orchestra reading through the entire history of classical music in the span of three short bars.
Green Dude grabs the victor’s card, and slides back down the once-unbeatable staircase. He is, once again, followed by the pumped-in sound of cartoon bouncy sounds, but he has mastered those sounds to his own will, and now they herald his triumph like blaring trumpets at festive gates.
Anyways, this NBA season has been fun and all, but — and maybe this is the championship hangover talking or something — I’ve yet to get as excited about the Warriors as I did yesterday watching this random episode of “Slippery Stairs.” Call me bandwagon, call me jaded by too much basketball perfection.
Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson are a delight to watch. But until we get a little deeper in the season, and until these games start giving me all the feels, I guess I’ve found a new favorite sport in the world.