Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kenny Phipps is celebrating tonight

One of my classmates at the University of Houston College of Architecture was a guy from San Antonio by the name of Kenny Phipps*. He was a huge San Antonio Spurs fan, and he never let anyone forget it. He had Spurs posters and other memorabilia around his drafting table, and during the evenings he could oftentimes be found at his desk, working or studying while listening to Spurs broadcasts on the radio (given San Antonio's proximity to Houston, AM radio broadcasts of Spurs games were not at all difficult for him to pick up at night).

It wasn't exactly easy for him to be a Spurs fan surrounded by Rockets fans, especially during the mid-1990s when the Rockets and Spurs were actually both very good teams (the Rockets, of course, winning back-to-back titles during this time) and had a healthy rivalry going. But Kenny never backed down; he gave as good as he got from his Rocket-fan studiomates and the basketball-related banter that resulted was oftentimes a light-hearted distraction from the monotony of model-building and drawing.

Whenever the Spurs won, Kenny would march through studio shouting, in a slightly-shrill tone, something along the lines of "Spurs, baby, Spurs! Oh, yeah, baby! Spurs!" Over time, the phrase "Spurs, baby, Spurs!" became an identifying catchphrase for him. To this day, when I think of Kenny I think of him gleefully uttering those words.

After graduation, as happens so often, I lost touch with Kenny. Last I heard, he had moved back to San Antonio and started a family. But that information is several years old.

However, as the San Antonio Spurs - having swept a thoroughly outclassed Cleveland Cavaliers team - celebrate their fourth NBA title in eight years this evening, I know that my old friend Kenny Phipps is, somewhere, right now, jubilantly screaming something incoherent about "Spurs, baby, Spurs, oh yeah, SPURS, BAYBEE!!!" Remembering Kenny the way I do, that thought brings a smile to my face.

(*I'm using Kenny's real name in this entry because I don't think he'd object to anything I've written here about him. Besides, maybe one day he'll come across this post while egosurfing and get back in touch with me...)

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