I went to the basketball last night, passing up the alternative of the Rugby World Cup (on which more soon). I had some mixed feelings. Having made the move to Brisbane, I’ve committed to supporting the local teams at least in the sports I follow to any extent (AFL, basketball and cricket) but the Bullets’ opponents tonight were the Townsville Crocodiles, the first basketball team I followed, during my stint in the tropics in the mid-90s. Unlike the relatively tepid supporters of the Bullets, Townsville had and has a large and fanatical fan base, to the extent that they outnumbered (or at least outshouted) the Brisbane supporters in their (our) own stadium. At least part of me wanted to be with them.
On the other hand, Australian basketball, more than any other sport, is lacking in any notion of club loyalty. As a result, there are three or four players on the Brisbane team whom I’ve previously cheered as players for my local (Tville or Canberra) team. They include Derek Rucker who is, I think, the most skilled point guard the NBL has seen, though his career has never been crowned with the big prizes such as championships or Olympic selection (he was MVP back in 1990).
Despite any mixed feelings, it was a great night, with a convincing win by the Bullets, and was made better by the fact that you can go to and from the games by ferry, avoiding the traffic jams that usually accompany any sporting event.