Wednesday, August 20, 2014

In The Now

As published in The County Times (

By Ronald N. Guy Jr.

When will this end?  Let’s get this over with.  I can’t wait until…

Raise your hand if you’ve used one of those expressions.  Be honest.  A few hands are still down.  Come on.  There you go.  All hands are up now, as expected.  To test whom I’m dealing with, put your hands down if you haven’t used them with an FCC-banned wrinkle word inserted for emphasis.  Whoa…all hands are still up.  It’s good to be among my kind of people.

My hands?  They are raised in spirit.  I can’t type with my guilty mitts raised to the heavens.

Guilty?  Yes…of looking ahead.  I, like you my fellow time-continuum sinners, have wished away all sorts of frustrating moments, time-sinks and undesirable situations.  I have frequently longed for a Star Trek transporter, a time machine - like Doc Brown’s DeLorean or the Omni from that 80’s “classic” T.V. show Voyagers - or at least a fast forward button. 

As a kid, road trips couldn’t end soon enough and I pestered my folks with the timelessly irritating question “are we there yet?”  I wished away every age and school year.  Age nine was cooler than eight; life at 10 was sweeter still.  Fifth grade was big-time, but once sixth grade hit, fifth graders were barely worthy of my acquaintance.  I loathed attending my sisters dance recitals.  I think of them today when I see kids combating boredom with fancy electronics gadgets.  I had a transistor radio and Southern Maryland’s one FM station within range of the primitive device.  Bitter?  Me?  Absolutely.

I learned my “respect time” lesson slowly.  I kept seeking the occasional tomorrows into adulthood: the next Friday night during a long work week, a diaper-free life while toiling through the early years of fatherhood or simply the promise of a good night’s sleep and an agenda-less morning.  But as my opening test indicated, I’m merely a member of a present-disrespecting, future-obsessed mob.  Even the sports world lacks immunity. 

ESPN’s Darren Rovell recently interviewed Maryland native Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA MVP.  The main topic wasn’t Team U.S.A or the FIBA World Cup (the present); it was a distant future.  On the heels of LeBron James’ return home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, speculation about Durant’s future has begun in earnest.  The wet dream of Washington Wizards fans – this one included – is that Durant pulls a LeBron, clicks the heels of his Nike’s three times while declaring, “there’s no place like home.”  Stoking the “Durant to D.C.” fire, the Wizards have compiled a nucleus of young talent, improved dramatically and have structured its player contracts to support a major financial offering to Durant.  They even hired Durant’s high school basketball coach!!!

Here’s the problem: Durant’s under contract with his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, through the 2015-16 season.  So what are we to do for the next two NBA seasons?  Ignore the Wizards?  Dismiss the continued development of John Wall and Bradley Beal, one of the best young backcourts in the game?  Should Thunder fans temper their enthusiasm or succumb to “Summer of ’16” anxiety during the next two years with Durant, campaigns that likely will include deep playoff runs and perhaps a NBA championship?

Shouldn’t the answer be an emphatic “no”? 

From age and parenthood I’ve learned that moments are unique and fleeting and that the greatest joys are often found in the journey, not the destination.  Sports frequently remind us that the future is uncertain: see Robert Griffin III’s instantly franchise-altering collapsed knee and, more recently, Indiana Pacers forward Paul George’s broken leg.  So while it’s good to dream, it is awful presumptive to assume Durant and D.C. will be a fit in two years.  As John Mellencamp advised in his classic “Jack & Diane”, “hold on to sixteen, as long as you can, changes come around real soon make us women and men.” Adapted for “Durant 2016”, the message is this: don’t dismiss today for an un-promised tomorrow.  Or, more simply, stay in the now.  Although, I still wish I would’ve had an iPad at my sister’s dance recitals.  Some moments are too painful to bear.

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