My Mom’s Obsession with Basketball (and Jeremy Lin)
Saturday night. Madison Square Garden, Knicks vs. 76ers.
Mother Daughter bonding time over basketball.
Not a basketball fan. Has a vague idea how basketball is played. Knows there are 5 players on a team at a time, it’s played in quarters not periods (she thinks), a basket is 2 points, a 3-point shot is worth, well, 3 points.
Huge basketball fan. Knows more stats about the players and various teams than Daughter’s Husband. Watches as many games as she can on TV and has opinions on all the players and teams.
How did my mom, who, before Jeremy Lin came on the scene, didn’t know a football from a basketball, become such a big basketball fan?
Like the entire nation, my mom was swept away by Linsanity. In case you were living in a cave and had no access to TV or newspapers back in February of 2012, Linsanity was the phenomenon created by Jeremy Lin, the first American of Chinese or Taiwanese descent to play in the NBA, who went from an underdog on the Knicks to the most talked about person in one week.
Photo courtesy of Jim McIsaac/Getty Images.
Jim and I were in Hawaii at the time, and I remember him saying, who is this Jeremy Lin? We got sucked into watching all his games. For those few weeks, the entire nation was talking about Jeremy Lin. So you can imagine how proud anyone of Taiwanese descent was that one of their own was making headline news and wowing the nation.
My mom’s maiden name is Lin, and my Lin cousins and I all agreed that, sure, Jeremy Lin could be our distant cousin. Taiwanese Americans and Taiwanese in Taiwan followed the rise of Jeremy Lin with a fervor and pride beyond anything I’ve ever seen.
Even my favorite Taiwanese restaurant in NYC Chinatown had pictures of Jeremy Lin up and were constantly talking about him.
So it’s no wonder my mom started following Jeremy Lin and watching all his games. But what is a surprise is that even when Linsanity died down, she was still watching basketball.
It first started with only watching Knicks game. She never missed a game, and continued to root for Jeremy Lin, long after the fervor had died down. Through all the controversy and positive and negative press about Jeremy Lin, she stood by his side (figuratively, although I’m sure she would have liked to stand by his side in reality).
She clipped everything she could find about Jeremy Lin from the Taiwanese newspapers (and still does).
When the Knicks let him go, she turned on the Knicks and to this day, has not forgiven them for giving up Jeremy Lin.
Her allegiance then switched to the Rockets. And she cheered every time the Knicks lost. Then I noticed she was not only watching Rockets games and Knicks games, it seemed she was watching any and all basketball games.
She told me she didn’t like certain teams because they were too “rough”. She didn’t like certain players that were the most popular because they too were rough and “played dirty”. She likes exciting games with lots of action and thinks blow-outs are boring. She roots for the “nice” teams and players. But above all, she rooted for Jeremy Lin and the Rockets.
She started talking to Jim about basketball and Jim once said to me, I think she knows more stats about the players and teams than I do.
Her obsession with basketball continued to grow, and I learned not to call her during a game in basketball season. There were one too many times when I was on the phone with her and realized I was talking to dead air.
She was so busy watching the game, she either hangs up on me or just holds the phone to her ear without speaking until I realized I was talking to myself.
Now, during basketball season, if I have to call my mom, I ask Jim first – Is there a basketball game on? If the answer is no, then I call her.
She is now a Lakers fan (since Jeremy Lin is now playing for them). And she attended her very first basketball game, Knicks vs. 76ers with me this past Saturday, thanks to tickets from our family friends Yung and Chao-Mei.
I warned her before we went that she can’t cheer too loudly whenever the Knicks miss a shot, or boo out loud if they make a shot, as we are in New York territory.
She enjoyed her first game, even though she declared afterwards that the game was “boring” and not very “exciting” since the Knicks dominated for most of the game.
But we had a good time together. She even took her first selfie with me.
She took a picture with Calderon (because he’s not too bad for being a Knick).
And she took a picture of me with Stoudemire.
Who didn’t look so big on the court, but compared to me is a giant.
It was a good bonding night and even though I still can’t understand her obsession with basketball, at least I got to experience her first live game with her.
So to anyone who knows my mom, since it is basketball season, don’t call her when there is a game on. She will hang up on you.