Last night, the Miami Heat tied the San Antonio Spurs three games apiece, so whoever wins the next game will be the NBA champion. Like most Americans who follow this, outside of Miami, I'm pulling for San Antonio. However, if Miami wins, I can sort of, kind of live with it, for a very odd reason.
About two years ago, I was talking with my dad, and for some reason I can't even begin to recall, he offhandedly mentioned, "I think we have a relative who works for the Miami basketball team."
Say what?? Excuse me, dad, would you like to repeat that??!!
"Yes, I'm pretty sure he works for Miami. He's some sort cousin, second or third. I can't remember what he does, but I think he's an executive."
By the way, I'm trying to grasp reality and double and triple check what my dad is saying, and trying to make certain that he's sure what he's saying.
"Yes, I think it's the Miami team. His name's Andy Elisburg." (There's a branch that changed the spelling.) "I think he's the son or probably the grandson of my father's brother, Louis."
We go through the family tree and figure out that Andy Elisburg would be the grandson of my dad's Uncle Louis, who was a pharmacist (and the one who changed the spelling). That would make him my father's second cousin, and my third. "Are you sure of this, dad?" Yes, he was pretty sure. He just didn't know what he did.
While we were talking on the phone, I went online and looked up the Miami Heat website. And then I clicked on the Team link, and then Executives. Maybe Andy Elisburg would be listed there, somewhere, perhaps.
He was there. He not only was there, he not only was a high executive...he not only was a Vice President -- he not only was the first Vice President listed -- he was the freaking Sr. Vice President AND the assistant General Manager!
I asked my dad how long he'd known about this. "Oh, I've known for years."
I was flabbergasted. "You've known for years that we had a cousin was the Sr. Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Miami Heat...and you didn't think of mentioning it??"
"It just never occurred to me," he said.
I was still in sort of an alternative-world daze. Half bewildered and half laughing. "All those years when we'd be watching sports -- which we did A LOT, my dad loves sports as do I -- all those years when we'd be watching Chicago Bulls games, watching the NBA...it never occurred to you to mention that we had a cousin was Sr. Vice President and Assistant General Manager of the Miami Heat???"
No, he said, it just wasn't something he thought about. "We weren't that close. I knew his father a bit, but I really only met him maybe once, maybe twice. I don't recall."
Yeah, but still...
It was one of the strangest conversations I've ever had with my dad. As inconceivable as it was, it was also hilarious.
I did a bit of research, and my third-cousin Andy has apparently been with the team for over 20 years! I haven't followed up and contacted him yet, because he'd be busy with the season, and there's be some off-season events and training camp, and I'd be busy, and I don't want to intrude, but at some point I will check in. And I know it won't be an intrusion, but still...odd.
I'm still rooting for San Antonio, but as I said, if Miami wins, I can at least live with it.
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