The Wide Angle: Jumping into Timberwolves’ fandom

Published 4:50 pm Friday, July 5, 2024

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It’s hard to know when exactly I became so interested in what the Timberwolves were doing, but there I was, watching NBA draft coverage through and pretending I understood who these players were and why they were being drafted or where they were even being drafted from.

By now, it’s no secret that I have very little basketball interest outside of covering it for my job, which admittedly I’ve found enjoyable over the years, made that way because of the close proximity of those people I was working around.

Aside from that, however, I’ve had very little interest in college or professional basketball other than the brief flirtation with what the Minnesota Gophers might be doing at any given time … so I’ve been disappointed a lot.

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But that’s Minnesota. Like so many others, I’ve grown disappointed over our sports scene past high school. One might even say I’m used to it if I’m to be perfectly honest.

When the Twins started this season my bar of expectations, as always, was so low as to trip over. The Vikings, I figure, are a roll of the dice from year to year, the Wild seem to be an every other year thing so I lose interest, and the Lynx kind of fell in the same realm of the Timberwolves — a passing interest.

It’s healthy, if you’re a Minnesota fan, to keep your expectations at a minimum to at least maintain a normal level of disappointment when any of our teams actually perform up to expectations. I would argue that it even heightens things when they perform past expectations. Suddenly, you’re invested because you never thought it would ever reach that point.

However, I exceeded my own expectations the first time I found myself excited to get home, knowing I was going to be able to watch the Timberwolves.

Now, before I go much further I should admit to you that I’m a bandwagon jumper. I mean full on bandwagon jumper. I watch when things are going well and stop watching when things are going south.

Because of this I missed both of the Vikings’ huge comebacks against Indianapolis and Buffalo, and you know what, I’m okay with this. It would have been fun, but I understand I’m not a true fan and I just can’t attach myself that closely. Not when there are other things I can do that won’t disappoint me.

Which makes it a little more odd that I would become so vested in the Timberwolves. I actually cared if they won or lost and sometimes became upset when they were losing, uttering such arm-chair observations as, “Why would you shoot that?” or “Take the charge.” As if the seven-foot professional athletes would ever need to take advice from a guy who needed to heave his shots from the hip just to make it to the basket in high school.

But there I was, watching with thousands of others across the state and getting swept up by Anthony Edwards, Naz Reid, Michael Conley, Jr. and everybody else running deep into the playoffs, forgetting the Twins and whatever it is they call a season at this point, or even the moves the Vikings made in the draft.

I was Team Finch by this point, sitting on the couch wondering if I should buy a Wolves jersey or not, the first such purchase since buying a Minnesota Moose jersey far too many years ago.

I was along for the ride with the rest of the fanatics as if I had been there all along, when really I was nothing more than an armchair tourist, showing mild curiosity the day after a game.

I admit, the Wolves sucked me into their season even though I have to fully admit to myself that just the year before I cared very little for what they were doing.

Will that pick up next season? I honestly don’t know. Truth be told, I’m a little scared. I’ve been burned too many times, but if I’m to believe the recent draft picks, I’ll probably be on board for the preseason and into the season itself.