And it was over. We had lost, and all I had to show for it
was a headache from too much caffeine too late, a
stomachache from too much pizza. Vinnie’s Dad asked
why the coach didn’t bench Starks when he started
heaving bricks. Vinnie said the game was bullshit.

— from “The New York Knicks, 1994”

Because it’s all bullshit and lies until the fourth quarter. When Jordan jumps, or Barkley grabs a board, or Magic has HIV. It’s the way the ball bounces – hugs the rim the way you want to hug your partner, or the arm of the chair. When it’s the fourth quarter, it all comes down to who can carry the ball. Who has it in them to make the difference and go the distance.

Distance Traveled is about basketball. It’s about life, and family, and love, and relationships, and the purpose of life. It’s about the hook shot Magic makes. It’s the poetry of going 2 for 18 when the game is on the line. It’s the hand you can no longer hold. It’s saying goodbye to past mistakes, and throwing up a jump shot when you’re triple teamed, and no one is open. We are facsimiles of the players and plays we think we can copy.

But eventually the game ends, and you have to take everything at face value. The winners drink. The losers drink. The janitors clean up the mess left from cheers, jeers, and broken hearts. The lights go out. You say goodbye to the players, loved ones, enemies, and continue with the game of life. As long as the ball keeps bouncing, life will continue.

Since Bent Window Books has shuttered, purchase your copy of Distance Traveled directly from Michael Chin.

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