Friday, December 4, 2009

Watching the Bulls Win Another Championship: Fort Lauderdale 1996

Ah, the Chicago Bulls. Fru was originally from Chicago (the South Side) and I'd lived in Illinois long enough to feel connected to the city (and had had a girlfriend, Cin, who was from there and had spent a lot of time there). So during the Michael Jordan era of the Bulls, Fru and I--not really big NBA or basketball fans in general (I'm a football guy, baseball and basketball an even distant second)--she and I always watched the Bulls in the playoffs. (I saw Jordan play twice in Chicago, at the old stadium.)
One thing I recall is that the playoffs and championship were always on NBC. And in Missoula and in Champaign, NBC was always a station that came in horribly . . . We had no cable TV--by choice--back then, so we relied on rabbit ears and signal strength. And for whatever reason, NBC was always weak. I recall I'd have to fidget with the antennae, try the TV out in different spots and still put up with snow or static while watching the games. Well. But it was fun. It connected us to each other and to Chicago. But then we moved to Fort Lauderdale, in May of 1996.
We stayed--lived--at the Riverside Hotel those first few months. Fru and I and our five and three year old daughters in one double queen bed room. And the Bulls were in the playoffs once again, this time in the finals against the Seattle Supersonics (another team I liked, along with Portland and Miami) (but I was for the Bulls). I'm sure the Riverside had cable TV, but I seem to recall that it was the same story: bad reception. Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I do know that when we got into a house and we watched TV (we were not big TV watchers--hence, why pay for cable?) we found--AGAIN--that NBC was fuzzy and static-y! So, we struggled to watch--but that ended up being part of the fun--like tuning in a game that is far distant from some remote corner of the world, or finding a distant game on your radio while driving through empty landscapes on a long distance trip--it added to the excitement and pleasure and specialness of watching the Bulls win once again.
I can't place it all exactly--what years and where we watched the Bulls, but because the won so many championships and because they were Chicago, it was a yearly event for us for a long time.
No matter where we lived.
No matter the poor reception.

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