By now it is as reliable as the mosquitoes, the afternoon monsoons, and the girls complaining about frizzy hair: for the fourth straight summer, the Miami Heat are headed to the NBA Finals.
Yes, haters, we have seen the maps, and we are well aware that the whole world is going for the San Antonio Spurs for the second year in a row:
Because what are sports without a team to hate? The MLB has the Yankees, the NFL has the Patriots, and in recent years the NBA has had the Heat.
It’s enough to make me recall my favorite fun fact about Florida history, which has never been more relevant: the first flag to be flown over the state read three words, displayed below in all their bold typographic glory.
Which brings us squarely to my point about the supposedly great state of Texas: a state that pretends that it was, or still is, the wild west, while being oblivious to the fact that Florida is the state that Texas pretends to be.
BIG TEXAS, the Lone Star State, Don’t Mess With Texas, you know, all of that BS.
But Texas, for all its open carry/ cowboy imagery nonsense, has seemed to forget that Florida was, and IS our country’s last frontier. Back when the railroad was already connected to the Pacific, and towns were spreading across the map, the majority of Florida was still untouched and undeveloped wilderness— save for a few surviving patches of our native Seminoles, who by the way were never defeated by the U.S. Army— even after two wars.
For perspective, the railroad reached Miami as late as 1896, compared to the 1850s for most of Texas.
As a result of this isolation, Miami in particular is probably the most disconnected metropolitan area in this country— attached to the rest of the country by politics and geography, and not by culture or necessarily popular will.
A book that came out last year dividing the U.S. into eleven “nations” didn’t even consider much of Florida a part of North America, but rather a part of the Spanish Caribbean.
Here are a few maps to illustrate our worldview:
Image via American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America
Image via Weather Channel
Image via Slate
So what does all of this imply for the NBA Finals, you ask?
Even as The Decision has launched us into an era of unprecedented hate, we still keep it together with the smartest offense in the league, and we have our own backs because under these circumstances, we are all that we've got.
Analysts can speculate, draw tables, and et cetera, but when it comes down to it, the unified front against our historically talented team only adds fuel for the fire that has already burned through two consecutive victories, with our eyes on the three-peat.
We are used to feeling alienated in our own country as we pave our own path and make our own destiny. Texas, on the other hand, has become the centerpiece of all the gun-toting backwardsness that the U.S. has come to symbolize on the world stage.
So the rest of you can go ahead and laugh it up, slap your hands together and fire your rifles into the sky.
Texas and the San Antonio Spurs might think they can handle the Heat, and they have plenty of bandwagon riders backing them up.
But this summer, the little outcasts on the edge of the map are poised once again to take on the Goliath in the middle of it all. The gods are always in favor of the persecuted, and dare I say it— the underdog.
In the case you have grown incredibly fond of the San Antonio Spurs overnight, here of my coworker's six reasons to root for the Spurs, thereby justifying your madness. I do not, for the record, cosign any of that nonsense.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.