Sunday, April 20, 2014


Interesting article in the Times sports section this morning about a the old Hilton in Oklahoma City, which is reputedly haunted.  This spooks out the opposing players who stay there, meaning they get less sleep, and play less well the next day.  So they call it the "6th man" for the OKC Thunder.

This caused a few reflections.  First off, you can see how this place might need to be Ghostbusted.  Pretty spooky.

But why would a bunch of NBA players be particularly freaked out.  For one, it was build in 1911, and you can imagine how old buildings from back in the day from slave areas (Oklahoma was not admitted to the Union till 1907, but it was a "slave territory") might not elicit the warmest of fuzzies from a predominantly African-American cohort.

You might also think that these black guys, many of whom cut their college careers short so they could assure themselves of big paydays before they messed up their knees or ankles, and so are perhaps on average less-educated than the typical wealthy clientele of high-end hotels like this, are easily spooked.  Compounded by the persistence of Christian faith in the African-American population, which leaves the door open to thinking about the dark side of things.  I thought this stuff for a minute or two, and there may be something there.  But that's 10% of it, if that.

But I will say this. Me, with my Ivy League PhD and all that, I don't really believe in ghosts.  But scary movies freak me the fuck out.  The end of "The Blair Witch Movie"? I prefer not to think of it, too real.  I still have scary associations from "The Sixth Sense." None of this stops me from getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  But I will tell you honestly that I prefer not to sleep in the house alone. Not because I'm really afraid ghosts are gonna get me, not because I think somebody's gonna break in, and certainly I don't think Graham would protect me in either of those cases. But still.  Would rather not be alone.

And hotel rooms?  I don't like em when I'm alone.  Particularly the first night I'm in one.  That is when I am most likely to have recourse to the sleeping pills I make sure I take with me when I'm on the road.

So I feel for these guys.  The fact that they are able to perform at a high level going from hotel room to hotel room night after night is impressive.  As for Oklahoma City my suggestion is this:  go down the road to another hotel. I'm sure that OKC/NBA has a special deal worked out with this hotel, but they should cut another deal with another one. Let the guys sleep.

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