I’m sure we can all remember our first sporting event we attended, I’ll never forget the Phoenix Suns vs. Atlanta Hawks game I saw with my Father in 1989. I remember walking into ,what seemed like, a brand new shiny area that had colors so vibrant they would confuse my 700 pound RCA tube television back at home . Kevin Willis might as well have been the Incredible Hulk with his monsterous height and interior scoring ability.It felt as if I had been blind and deaf my whole life and Veterans Memorial Coliseum shook these senses alive. Of course, the old Coliseum was run down and on the verge of collapse but that was the magic of the Suns and sports in general. Every sports fan has a similar story that is equally beautiful and romantic . However, eventually there is an end to the story and romance.
I will remember this years season finale against the Denver Nuggets as my last game. I was diagnosed with a terminal illness at the beginning of 2012 and my time is coming to a close. I am not writing this to curse a world that has forced this fate upon me or gain sympathy.I just wanted to say goodbye to something that has meant the world to me throughout my life. There have been few things that have remained constant in my life since that first game, the Suns being one of them.
I had always hoped that I would live to see the Suns raise the Larry O’Brien trophy but I finally realized this past year that it was never about wins and losses. As girlfriends and friendships passed through my life, the Suns always played 82 games (minus a lockout or two). Each and every game brought a hope and promise that brightened my days. All the highlights and wins blurred the failures and defeats over time. The Phoenix Suns became a friend that would not waiver. An imperfect friend that might make mistakes but were always there and would fight for me. Personally, that was all I could ever ask of someone or something.
As my health has failed me, I have had to retire from the recreational basketball I was playing on a weekly basis. In the past, anytime I hypothetically thought ,”what if I lost an arm or leg”, one of my first concerns was losing the ability to play. It was difficult to accept. The only thing that kept me going was watching the Phoenix Suns. Watching those games made me feel like I was still in the game. I was just on the bench waiting for coach to call my name.
In many ways, this was an awful and unsuccessful season. There is a lot for a fan to find at fault and complain about. For me, this was a championship year that I wont forget. Even through the embarrassing loses, I loved every minute of it. Of course I would have liked to see that championship happen for the team I loved for so long, but I enjoyed the ride regardless. It was 24 years well spent. In defeat, Ill always be a Phoenix Suns fan and in death, Ill remain one. Thank you. It was a blast.
Update: feel free to contact me if you’d like to share a similar story, suns memory, or just to argue that Kevin Willis was more effective as a mid range scorer. Thank you for the support!