"Two minutes! Two minutes!", the PA announcer would bellow toward the end of a game. No automatic timeouts for this moment. Not in basketball. Just an informal and boisterous announcement over the loud speakers, as the play on the court would continue.
If the game were a blowout, we would start grabbing our coats and umbrellas. If the game were close, we might nervously grab our seats.
"Two months! Two months!" is the mantra for our current situation. Has this been a really long and intense game or what? Two years of wondering if we would lose our team. The same two years of fighting the possibility.
Three years of despair. Anger. Depression. Bitterness toward the previous owners, the current owners, the NBA, and our local politicians. Three years of wondering if ANY hope of another team would ever arise again.
When that hope finally showed up in the form of Chris Hansen, we knew this was it. This was our chance. We had to get our fighting spirit back again. We had to allow ourselves to care again. We had to expose ourselves to heartbreak again.
Then came the ten months.
Ten months of waiting for arena details to trickle out. Ten months of wondering how our local politicians would react again. Ten months of sending emails and leaving voice messages. Ten months of rallies, committee meetings, and public hearings. Ten months of listening to loonies.
This led to the stressful the month of October. The city and county councils took it down to the wire, but got the job done. Arena approved. EIS and SEPA studies could begin any time. Enough had been done for our guy Chris to pursue a team.
Our excitement was followed by two months of mind numbing quiet. Wondering if Hansen was really pursuing a team yet. Wondering if there were any teams even available. Desperate to hear any news whatsoever. Two months of wondering if Virginia Beach was something. Two months of wondering if the Maloofs might try another Anaheim maneuver. Two months of swirling rumors.
Then came the January announcement. The purchase was signed, sealed, and delivered to New York. We rejoiced. We celebrated. We waited for David Stern or Kevin Johnson to drop the other shoe. In fact, we are still waiting for KJ to pull Ron Burkle out of his hat. We assume he will.
Now All Star Weekend has come and gone. No major announcements from anyone. Stern didn't tip his hand in either direction. The owners are still under a gag rule. KJ continues to lobby. Nothing has been resolved.
So here we are in the game's final moments. David Stern yelled "Two months! Two months!" when he mentioned the dates of April 18-19, when our fate will be decided.
We believe we have the advantage. We believe that a binding agreement with a non-refundable $30 million deposit, Steve Ballmer's signature on it, and a nearly shovel ready arena behind it gives us a sizable lead with the ball in our hands.
The knowledge that Stern is passing the buck to a group of owners that tend to support the decisions of other owners adds to that confidence. We believe this will get done.
Yet we nervously grab at our seats as we hear Stern's announcement over the loudspeakers.
Why? Because we wonder if Stern will yank the rug out from under us. Because anyone who ever watched Kevin Johnson play knows he will not give up until the last whistle blows. Because there are lawsuits pending and, while they are laughable, we know that any lawyer can get lucky if they draw the right judge.
Because this is Seattle, for crying out loud.
So hang on for the remainder of this roller coastery game, everyone. I'm as nervous as the next guy, but I believe we will win.
Just please don't let this go to overtime.