The Timberwolves teased us this winter, threatening for months to qualify for a mysterious tournament of undecipherable origins that people in other cities call “the postseason.”
After watching the Oklahoma City Thunder eliminate the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night, we now know how not to act if the NBA Playoffs ever return to Target Center.
In short, don’t act like an Okie.
Clip and save these rules of postseason behavior, just in case the Timberwolves become worthy of Charles Barkley’s creative conjugation of the verb “terrible.”
1. Dress yourself: You might think it’s cute when the local team lays monochromatic T-shirts on your seat, so you can all look identical on TV, but you wind up looking like a class of first-graders whose parents enrolled you in a school requiring uniforms so they don’t have to fight with you about clothes at 6 every morning.
It’s bad enough for a middle-aged male with a beer gut to wear an ironic Troy Hudson jersey. It’s worse when you wear clothes provided by someone you don’t know.
Be adults, not sheep. Wear your own clothes.
2. If you can’t get a ticket, don’t gather like zombies: Thunder fans gathered outdoors to watch the game on TV. This doesn’t demonstrate unity. This demonstrates that there is nothing else to do in your town.
3. Don’t stand the entire game: The guy behind you paid 200 bucks for that seat, and you’re not letting him use it? You should be Tased.
Stand up when your team lifts you out of your seat, not when some marketing guy who’s trying to get a job with the Heat tells you to.
4. Never chant “Beat L.A.!”: Nothing makes a fan base sound more small-time, more like a bunch of hick wannabes, than borrowing a decades-old chant about those bullies from the big city.
5. Act like you’ve been there before: This isn’t your senior prom. If you’re really good, you’ll get to do this again.
6. Don’t boo the greats: Do you really think you’re accomplishing something, or affecting the game, when you boo Kobe Bryant or any player of his stature? He loves shutting you up. Better to display a little perspective and revel in your chance to watch a Hall of Famer up close.
(There is an exception: You are always allowed to boo the Heat. And Dwight Howard.)
7. Don’t copy: What you notice as a traveling sports writer is that if one team has any success with a marketing or promotional venture, it will be copied by every other team in professional sports.
The same music gets played at the same time in the same venues. During seasons in which they finished in last place, the Wolves would conduct the same, mindless, over-the-top introductions to the same soundtrack as the world champs.
Come up with something unique to your team and your city, or don’t bother.
8. Don’t complain about bias: Whether they are competent or not, the refs and announcers don’t care whether your team wins or loses. They really don’t.
They work a million games, and if they have an opinion on covering your team it is probably based on the quality of the media relations staff, the airport, the hotel and the local restaurant scene. If they hate your team, it’s because your coach is a jerk.
9. Pick new music: Instead of playing the same music in Oklahoma City (or Minneapolis) that they play in Miami and New York, try adding a local touch.
If the Wolves ever make the playoffs again, they should play musicians of local origin, such as Prince, the Jayhawks, or a dozen bands someone hipper than me could conjure up.
And they could replace the predictable soundtrack with a pep band.
There’s nothing quite like going to a good college basketball game and hearing a pep band. Why can’t that work in the pros? It would be better than another rendition of “Rock and Roll (Part 2).”
Minnesota can do better than Oklahoma City. But we probably won’t.