A Night Out

2 Dec

…or How To Impress Jeff Klein if You Are a Girl: A Story in Three Parts

Part II: Talkin’ Sports
Part III: Chasing with the Blue Stuff

*****

It was NBA playoff season, so there wasn’t even a question as to what the after-dinner plans were.  To his credit, though, Jeff did make an effort and asked me something to the effect of, “You don’t mind if we watch the game first before we head out, do you, Thao?”  I didn’t mind at all, actually, but I’d like to state for the record that even if I did, it is well nigh impossible to say no to Jeff Klein…especially when sports are involved.

The Celtics were playing the Bulls that night.  I remember this because during the commercial break, Jeff asked me if I knew which city the Bulls were from.  Maybe I had said something to indicate otherwise, or maybe I appeared confused before answering, but I will never forget the look of surprised pleasure on Jeff’s face when I (correctly) answered that the Bulls were from Chicago.  “Wow, Thao. I didn’t think you’d know that.”  In the spirit of not lowering his expectations any further, I refrained from telling him that while I could probably hold my own in a knockout game, my first of maybe two exposures to the Bulls was from Michael Jordan and Space Jam in the mid-90s.

Having established that I sort of knew something about basketball–at least, enough to follow along–Jeff stayed true to form by proceeding to inform me that, “Thao. Just to let you know, we’re rooting for the underdogs.” And so we did.  For the rest of the night, some of the KDR brothers and I were treated to a classic Jeff Klein style commentary of the basketball game.  He had a gift for “talkin’ sports,” so to speak, in explaining things to people and getting them interested.  I learned quite a lot about basketball that night.

Anyone can tell you that Jeff’s enthusiasm for sports was infectious.  I found myself watching many of the ensuing playoff games, partly out of the desire to have an idea of what he was talking about when that 3 am text message came (how else would I know what “tell your parents that the good guys won” meant?), but more so because he got me interested in it.  Eventually, Jeff stopped being surprised every time I mentioned a piece of sports news, although I remember him making the impressed face again after finding out that I knew of Ramirez’s 60-game suspension in baseball.  Of course, I think this then meant that he expected me to know things–there was this implicit expectation that I would not drive him crazy like his mother, Carey, did and “purposefully pretend to not know what she was talking about even though she [and I] played varsity sports in high school.”

But I digress.  For Jeff, you couldn’t know about sports and not be deeply passionate about it–this is more than evident after spending just a few moments with him or after reading a paragraph or two of his sports writing.  And so, ever since that night, every single time I open up the sports page or hear about any sports-related news, I always find myself thinking, “I wonder what Jeff thinks about this?”

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One Response to “A Night Out”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Night Out « Kleinsaucer - December 22, 2010

    […] How To Impress Jeff Klein if You Are a Girl: A Story in Three Parts Part I: Live to Eat Part II: Talkin’ Sports Part III: Chasing with the Blue […]

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