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A Bog Valentine's Day

I try to avoid the obsessive linking to various blog posts merely because they mention my name (really), but this Valentine's Day changed the game a bit. And since I'm celebrating the holiday a day late, you can celebrate it with me, for one second. First of all, Free Darko got all these smart people, plus me, to write all these smart things about love and basketball. (One of those people, Dan Shanoff, also did a long (long) but great Q&A with The Big Picture, in which he sorta sent me Valentine's Day wishes.) Also, On Frozen Blog sent me a blog valentine. And The Far Post photoshopped my head onto cupid. And Distinguished Senators posted Nats-themed candy-hearts-and-musings, meaning the Bog enjoyed V's Day in four sports yesterday.

(As for Distinguished Senators wondering whether he should worry about the Wash Times's new blog stuff and purty new Nats page, the answer, as he well knows, is of course not. Newspapers are scared and running for our lives from all these bloggers. Or we should be, anyhow. Read Shanoff, above.)

The point is, I felt sorta bad that all those Free Darko people wrote so much more thoughtfully than I had about love and sports and all that, but then I thought maybe I could make it up to the world when I got on an elevator in the Wachovia Center yesterday and ran into a large man wearing wings, heart antennae, a shirt that said "Stupid Cupid" and a pink sweater while carrying a basket of candy. His real name was "Vernon Ruffin." His stage name was "Keith From Up Da Block." He was a member of the Broad Street Beefcakes, the 76ers male dance team. He explained that this was part of the 76ers "Unvalentine's Day" promotion.

The Stupid Cupids, aka the Broad Street Beefcakes. (By Sports Bog)

"So if you see a fat man with wings, it's not the end of the world," he explained. "It's just 'Sixers marketing."

And indeed, the promotion went on all night. There were punching bags to "unleash your love." There was a station to write break-up cards to your ex-sweetie. There was a halftime shooting contest between guys and ladies, in which the winners got to rub cake in the losers' faces. (The guys won, but everyone seemed covered with cake by the end.)

And in the lobby before the game were about a dozen Stupid Cupids, handing out candy and posing for photos. They were anxious to explain their gimmick.

"We're kind of like the girls, but we're a little larger, a little more refined," said Marc Greenfield, aka Vanilla Thunder.

I asked if they were at all embarrassed by their get-ups.

"You know what, I can't see what I look like," Greenfield said.

"But when you look at yourself in the mirror, you think, 'What the hell am I doing?'" said Mark Kratzer, aka Philly Mignon.

Anyhow, I got a Twix and moved on. The Stupid Cupids performed in the third quarter; they seemed excellent, although I was also interviewing a 'Sixers heckler at the time. But when I saw them in the back tunnel after their performance, all the Stupid Cupids were slapping hands and celebrating and seemed most pleased. Love, or at least like, was in the air.

Other stuff happened, including a Wiz win, and I'll write about all that later. But anyhow, at the end of the night, the guys who worked in the arena's security office tried to call me a cab to the train station, but the wait was more than an hour because of the holiday and the weather, so I walked to the subway, where I met two kids from Bowie who live in Philly and had gone to the game to root for the Wiz. One had a Kwame Brown jersey on. They thought there would be lots of single ladies at the game, because people with significant others wouldn't be going to an NBA game on Valentine's Day. Well, not so much on the singles thing, as it turned. After the game, the Bowie guys went to a bar, but things hadn't worked out there, either. So we all sat together on a smelly Philly subway train late on Valentine's Day night; me and two Wiz fans from Bowie and a parking lot attendant who was also amused, and we watched my video of Gilbert Arenas's postgame interview on my handheld and listened to these two kids as they discussed the philosophical difficulties of the post-collegiate dating life and critiqued their various wooing techniques.

"Well, you're coming home with me, cool guy," one of the Bowie guys finally said. "So I guess your approach didn't work."

Free Darko's got to get those kids to write for them next year.

By Dan Steinberg  |  February 15, 2007; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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