This is the time of year when our sports watching really kicks into high gear. March madness, then the final weeks of the NBA regular season with the excitement of daily jostling for the 8-seed and endless “what if” conversations to debate potential playoff matchups and who can sweep whom and who will make it a series and who’s a potential upset. Then, the NBA playoffs, which are the highlight of my son’s year. (We occasionally skip the final couple of games in a lopsided first-round sweep, but otherwise, we’re there for every moment of every game.)
The suspension of sports should be a major disappointment at my house, but thankfully, there is NBA2K. It would never have occurred to me that a video game could be an acceptable substitute for the real thing, but I am here to tell you that for people in my house who are not me, it is.
There were a couple of days of mourning after the NBA suspended play. But then my son got busy saving Russell Westbrook’s season. First, he copied the Rockets’ remaining NBA schedule in a notebook and played all of their games. Then, he worked through all the possible scenarios for the final season standings, determined matchups, and took the Rockets through several playoff series to the Western conference finals. Now, he’s seeded a playoffs bracket using the current standings so that he can simulate the playoffs and crown a champion.
I can be enthusiastic about many, many things as a mom, including the real NBA, but I do find I struggle when it comes to being excited about what’s happening in a video game. Especially a video game that he isn’t even actively playing himself but simulating. But I’m trying, because video games are the new sports at my house.
Once the 2K possibilities are exhausted, I am not sure what we will turn our attention to next. Perhaps the NBA season will resume, though that feels more and more unlikely. Perhaps there will be Summer Olympics, though that feels even more unlikely. Perhaps we’ll find ourselves following the lead of other sports fans and becoming obsessed with marble racing. I will admit that it has some pretty fine commentating. You won’t be sorry if you watch this “run.”