I've been here in Las Vegas for Summer league since about 9pm (pacific) on Saturday night. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I told you that this is the most fun I've had, possibly ever, in my life. Being surrounded by people who are as ridiculous and nerdy as I am is immensely comforting, so when you add a mutual adoration for the sport of basketball and an opportunity to watch it every day, you have a recipe for a pretty damn good week.
The people here previously only existed on twitter, so getting to put faces (instead of avatars) to names has been so much fun. For the most part, personalities in person have been true to internet personas, so it's been a barrel of laughs pretty much non-stop since I arrived. I spent the first half of the week with the boys from Liberty Ballers and consider those four some of my favorite people that I've ever met. We spent about 4 straight days together, sans sleep, taking in the sights of Vegas and absorbing summer league basketball at an alarming rate.
After transferring over to the SBNation house, I decided to extend my stay from Tuesday night until Saturday night because I literally did not want to leave these people. I'm so glad I made the decision, because I'm getting to spend even more time with my new friends; Spurs, Knicks and Cavs fans though they may be. One thing that's nice about this group of dudes is that, even though we've mostly never met each other, there's a immediate level of comfort because of our common interests and previous online "friendships". We've gone out on the strip with one another, we've stayed in and talked basketball til the wee hours of the morning, we've lounged by the pool, and we've watched a million games of summer league basketball.
Last night, a group of us went to the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at a theatre in Henderson, Nevada. We were legit fanboys, pre-purchasing our tickets and arriving an hour and a half before the movie to make sure we could sit together. Though none of us dressed up, Seth Rosenthal (Posting & Toasting) wanted to go as Harry Potter. I won't spoil the movie (HOLY HELL GO SEE IT IT'S AMAZING) but I will tell you that I had an amazing time laughing and joking around with the guys beforehand. When the movie ended (3am?) we were all deliriously tired and talking over one another trying to absorb what we had just seen, when, naturally, we pulled out our phones to see what we'd missed on twitter. Conrad Kaczmarek from Fear The Sword was the one to break the news to us about the horrific shooting in Aurora, Colorado at their midnight showing of TDKR. We were stunned.
It's very rare, among this crowd, to find us at a loss for words.
The shift from goofy and snarky to floored and saddened was so immediate and so profound that we had to find a way to get through it together. We decided that it was too much to absorb at that moment and so we would talk about the movie instead. It was not a lack of respect, but rather an inability to comprehend such tragedy that forced us to talk about something else.
My first thought was that we had just walked out of a movie theatre. What if it had been at our theatre? It could have been anywhere. Every single second on this earth is precious and could very well be our last.
The reaction on twitter was intense, with special attention being paid (on my sports-dominated timeline) to Jessica Redfield, an aspiring sports writer from San Antonio. Nobody seems to know how to feel. Nobody will ever be able be able to explain this away or justify it or really understand the tragedy of something like this. Senseless deaths affect us all. The best we can hope to do is honor the memories of those who died by living our lives with passion and love.
Don't feel bad for being happy. Experience joy and love and laughter so that, if this moment IS your last, it was a damn good moment.