Sports & Recreation

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Best Convergence of Talent San Francisco 2013 -

By Albert Samaha

There is a certain ecstasy only experienced through sports. It is an ecstasy of losing yourself in the present, every sense attuned and aligned to the rush of adrenaline and joy. It is an ecstasy that blooms only under the proper conditions: a lingering anticipation, oscillating between fear and hope, building drama and drawing prayers with much at stake, and generating a deep wanting ... and then Pablo Sandoval hits his third home run or Colin Kaepernick races past the Packers defense for a touchdown or Steph Curry steals the ball from Ty Lawson and drains a 25-foot three-pointer.

We've been blessed here in the Bay. Our time has come. We had a long, cold sports winter, which first hit in Game Six of the 2002 World Series then raged on through Super Bowl XXXVII and nearly a decade of athletic irrelevance. But the sun came out in October 2010. And now we're in the midst of The Bay Area Sports Renaissance.

Over the span of a single school year, we've had playoff runs in each of the four major sports. Hard to remember the last time the Muni buses didn't have Go Giants! or Go 49ers! or Go Warriors! on the destination sign. It's been a nine-month bender — of cheering, sleeping, drinking, rinsing, and repeating. Oh, the memories. Matt Cain's perfect game. Buster Posey's grand slam. Sergio Romo's strikeout. Frank Gore's touchdown in the NFC Championship game. Andrew Bogut posterizing Javale McGee. Klay Thomspon hitting a one-handed runner to send Game 4 into overtime.

And that's just the team sports. Local boxers Nonito Donaire, Andre Ward, and Robert Guerrero have matched the magic — all three beginning the year on most lists ranking the Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world.

Sure, there's been pain. It's part of the sports fan's tradeoff, the downside of the emotional investment. But, through these festive days, the long arc of Bay Area fandom has bent toward celebration.

These things come in cycles. But sports are not meant to be enjoyed in the future tense. They are best consumed and appreciated in the moment. These are good times, friends, to embrace and to savor.

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