Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"An Open Letter to Houston"

Whenever there's a great comedy bit - in this case, one written by Scott Gilmour of Sports Column - I can't help but steal it. I've taken Gilmour's idea, in some cases recopying entire sections of it. Just wanted to know that what comes below isn't exactly my creation. (If you hate it, I suggest you blame Scott!)

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Dear Houston,

First off, we would like to officially welcome you to our hell. Our cities are charter members of that small fraternity of places that know what it's like to lose their team. Actually, let us rephrase that: that know what it's like to have our teams either folded underneath us or carpetbagged away. We feel that we should have a talk with you, you know, one of those "just girls" talks.

Face it, we've all been through horrible breakups before. One party wants to make things work, and the other desperately seeks greener pastures. Some of us have had the grief of having the departing party leap into another, more successful relationship. We hope that we can find a hook-up somewhere, but it looks like all of the available men (or women) hook up with more glamorous partners wearing the most expensive clothes and perfume. You think that you'll never shower enough to clean the "dumped" off. Having lived through these disasters, we will share our relationships with you Comets fans.

Suppose you have a partnership with someone. We'll assume it's a guy, but hey, this is the WNBA and we know all about "don't ask, don't tell". Suppose your partner hooks up with someone new.

In Scenario One, the new person is 23 years old, has a hot body, is a part-time lead singer in a rock band and successful puppy doctor who speaks five languages and is a cordon bleu chef. You'll still be upset, but you can understand why your partner left. He or she is probably better off.

In Scenario Two, your partner tells you that they are leaving. Because they've turned gay (or straight). Or is joining a monestary. Or the French Foreign Legion. Or wants to be chemically neutered. Or doesn't even bother telling you they're leaving at all and are just...gone the next day without so much as a "wham-bam-thank-you-Ma'am".

As survivors of the second scenario (don't even get Charlotte started) ,you see, no matter how many time you tell yourself "it's not your fault", you get the overwhelming impression that it was something you did to hasten the decision. Because you didn't love them enough.

What's worse is when everyone is telling you - your parents, your friends, other human beings, Norman Chad - that you made a bad decision and you put your love in the wrong place. That everyone around you knew that your lover was a jerk who could never make a living, that everyone had bet that your love would only last a few years, and that love is just a stupid idea for idealistic losers anyway. (And by the way, your naysayers are married to some jerk who has nothing but contempt for them.)

You've gone through the Five Stages of Break-Up exactly the same we have. First, there's denial. Then, there's anger. Then, there's bargaining. And then, there's depression. WHOA IS THERE DEPRESSION. However bad these four stages may be, for ninety percent of us there will be the final stage: acceptance. When you realize that there was probably nothing you could do who could make him stay. (The other ten percent of us still stick pins in our voodoo dolls.)

Our advice: a lot of mimosas. Seriously. Until you can get to that place called acceptance, there's a hell of a big hump to get over.

There are some things that are out of the question. One of them is stalking. Trust me, when you see him (or her) wearing those new clothes and kissing someone else, your blood will boil. Maybe the league will decide to throw a party in your old city - bring an All-Star Game or some other fundraiser. Do not go there. All of the memories of the good times will just come flooding back. If you make a break, it should be a clean break. At least, a clean break until ten years from now when you get a new WNBA team and your two-timing ex comes to town. In which case, anyone wearing a Comets jersey in your arena will be burned at the stake.

Be prepared for the rumor mongers. If any two-bit WNBA franchise even hints at leaving their arena, Houston will inevitably be mentioned as a possible landing zone. This is the sports equivalent of running into your ex at the bar - it rarely goes anywhere and refreshes old wounds.

I also want to warn you about jumping into another relationship. Atlanta and Chicago might look teh sex-ay, but you don't have the history and you'd be limited to awkward small talk. Take stock of what your ex did to you - he bailed out of the relationship; you woke up one morning and found an empty spot on the bed, his stuff gone and a mailbox full of unpaid bills. Relationships on the rebound are always bad ideas.

It's going to take a long time to learn how to care again. There will be brief Tourettes-like outbursts of inexplicable anger that will confuse many others. But there are other fish in the sea. There's that New Yorker who seems so confident. There's someone in Los Angeles who looks like they have a car and a job. Even that bitch from San Antonio is starting to look really attractive.

After a while, you'll fall in love again. We understand. As for the Comets...well, if it wasn't meant to be it wasn't meant to be and you're probably better off without them. I hear that drinking makes the pain go away faster.

We hope you can get it back together and that your relationship works out. But if it doesn't, give us a call.


Salt Lake City

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