Giants, schmiants: Just give me the Lakers any day |

Giants, schmiants: Just give me the Lakers any day

At the risk of being fired (for reasons I’ll reveal later), this was my impression of Sunday’s Stupor Bowl: It stunk!

Not only did it bore me to tears (even after a glass or two of wine), but I was surrounded by mostly New York fans. Sheesh, what a nightmare!

Thank goodness for the hilarious commercials.

I watched the game, however, in a marvelous atmosphere. I and several of my Tribune colleagues attended the Horizon Casino Resort Super Bowl shindig, where we ate, drank, won prizes, bet, ogled huge-screen television monitors (and NFL cheerleaders) and trash-talked with lots of cheering people.

But the game? Fogetaboutit.

And that’s why I risk getting canned for writing this column. My boss, Gail Powell-Acosta, whom I like and respect (really), grew up in New York and has hordes of relatives still living there. So, for which team do you imagine she was rooting?

Right! The Seahawks!

No, the Gi-ants, of course.

And whom did I favor? The only logical choice, the Patriots.

And which team won?

Right! The Seahawks!

No, the stinkin’ Gi-ants.

As the game’s final seconds ticked away, Gail’s maniacal cheering nearly cost her a lung. Her New York relatives weren’t spared, either, since she spent the next 30 minutes or so calling every one of them.

What was I doing through all this? Sulking. That’s right. The Patriots were a pizza slice away from going undefeated, and here comes this bunch of muscle-flexing gangsters to ruin the day.

Which, of course, brings me to a personal, gratuitous sports memory one or two of you might enjoy: I grew up in Los Angeles, and consequently spent most of my childhood cheering for the Lakers, Dodgers and Rams.

The Lakers quickly moved to the forefront of my imagination with players such as Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Gail Goodrich and, eventually, Wilt Chamberlain.

But in the ’60s, even these great players couldn’t beat the Boston Celtic cheaters. The Lakers lost SIX NBA finals to the Cheaters. At the beginning of each final, I’d say, “THIS HAS TO BE OUR YEAR.”

No. Never.

All that dashed hope turned me into a devastated, warped little kid. It’s a wonder I didn’t grow up hacking people with an ax (Instead, I became a journalist, which is basically the same thing.)

Fast forward to the 1983-84 season. The Lakers and Cheaters are in the finals again, and I’m not a kid anymore (physically). The Lakers HAD to win this one. Right?

No. The Cheaters won 4-3.

My grip on the ax was really tight now.

But I had more reason to hope when the 1984-85 season ended with the same two teams in the finals. Alas, my hope turned to dread at the final whistle in the first game: The Cheaters had walloped the Lakers, 148-114.

“THIS IS JUST WHAT I NEED!” I remember thinking. BUT … after five games, the Lakers led 3-2. Game Six was in Boston, where the Cheaters rarely lost.

I watched the sixth game that afternoon on a dinky black-and-white television in my home at the time in Olympia, Wash. My wife and daughter were waiting for the darn game to end so we could all go to the park.

With about a minute or so to go, the Lakers built an insurmountable lead. And I started crying.

My wife and daughter looked at me like I had a foot growing out of my forehead. But I knew: My childhood trauma had just evaporated in a flurry of layups, dunks and swishes.

To this day, the memory of the moment still gives me goose bumps. It’s probably how Gail will feel in the years to come about the Gi-ants victory.

– Paul Dunn is editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at (530) 542-8047 and

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