In August, Jon Stewart inexplicably forgot about Washington (and the legality of its weed). More recently, erstwhile replacement John Oliver committed similar oversight during his segment on the controversial “Race Together” campaign from Starbucks:
The summer of 2001 was a magical time – and not just because it was the last period of my life living in a pre-9/11 world. It kicked off with my eighth grade trip to Israel; the Mariners did not lose a single game the entire time I was out of the country (true story). Starbucks CEO, local hero, and Sonics owner Howard Schultz delivered the commencement speech at my eighth grade graduation. My dad sent regular box score dispatches to me at camp in New York as the Mariners completed the Greatest Regular season Of All Time (GROAT) – and for once, I had something to say to those incorrigible Yankee fans.
But the final month of the summer of 2001 – the August I spent traveling the American West with Camp Lech Lecha – was the most memorable experience of them all. Lecha Lecha was a roughly three-week bus tour that traveled from Seattle to the Olympic Peninsula, swung through Idaho and Montana, down to Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, and ended with a train ride to Los Angeles, a visit to Disneyland, and a flight home — sorry, Oregon — just in time for the start of high school.
A lot has changed in the dozen years since. As you know, we now live in a post-9/11 world. Once baseball resumed, the Mariners lost to the Yankees in the playoffs (the one time I do not begrudge that team its success) and haven’t seen the postseason since. Howie sold the Sonics to Oklahoma Shitty, so yeah, I don’t think he’ll be invited back to SHA graduation. And the financial model for Lech Lecha turned out to be sadly unsustainable – after a couple more summers in operation, the camp ceased to exist.
But even with all that’s changed for the worse, those memories of that magical summer can never be taken away from me. Or from the internet. And that’s what this post is all about.
Last week’s news that the Kings may be coming to the Queen City — swear to god, I did not make that name up — produced some decidedly mixed feelings. I was excited the Sonics might be on their way back to Seattle, but unhappy about how the whole thing went down:
Having lived through the Sonics’ departure, I know it can be brutal, and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone* and certainly not on the poor people of Sacramento (even if most of them are probably 49ers fans).
*OK, that’s not entirely true — I do wish that experience on OKC, but even then just because I’d prefer to have the real Sonics back.
The news also prompted an outpouring of media speculation, including an article in the Seattle Times that pointed out that the city it calls home is not exactly enamored with the NBA these days, With worse fan support than Spokane, can Seattle get its NBA mojo back? That article is brutal, especially since it’s so hard for anything to be worse than it is in Spokane: