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Ugly shots off target in season of old guard

3000 NewsWire Editorial

We’re watching a passing of the guard this month. May means basketball at my house, hours and hours of it during this month filled with the NBA playoffs. This year’s play includes classic characters: The LA Lakers, the Boston Celtics, and our beloved San Antonio Spurs. Each of these teams are fading, some faster than others. All are now eliminated from this year's championship quest. They’re being pushed aside by newer teams. It’s a lot like computer technology.

But nobody’s standing these still-young men up and shooting them with tommy-guns. That fate has been dished onto a hapless HP 3000 this month.

It takes five minutes to watch its demise, but a sad cavalcade of clips up on YouTube that are filmed in a cornfield look like disrespect, mistaken for humor. The firing squad treatment includes an array of weaponry best suited for a Yosemite Sam cartoon.

In the video, a cannon is misused, misses the mark and must be wheeled closer. These shooting buffoons act out a fantasy in the video: the final chapter of what they have titled “an HP 3000 mainframe computer.”   

That’s like calling the Spurs “basket-shooting athletes.” Inept as a tourist trying to lead a tour, the Brave Citizen Soldiers in that video perform some kind of work so they can stock their gun cabinets and ammo boxes. The work can’t be knowing a 3000. One of its points of pride is as the computer that ensured you didn’t need a mainframe.

People rush to dismiss things they don’t know. You take a dismissal seriously if it comes from a veteran, one steeped in the era. Steve Kerr now broadcasts his opinions on TV after playing as one of the old-guard players on the Spurs. When he suggests the NBA guard is changing, I look up and see how old Shaq looks. How slow Kobe has grown. How little lift our hero Tim Duncan can summon from his jumps around a May basketball rim. These guys have lifted millions of hearts in many dozens of playoff games.

The dirty little video wants to help push the 3000 onto the floor, just like the sportswriters and TV clowns want to hasten that guard-changing. Funny thing, though — and you might have seen this too — some of these legends of the game, on the court or in IT shops, have become a tough out to notch on the scorebook.

But we shouldn’t weep over that juvenile defilement of the HP 3000, right? That box taking the bullets is just a collection of hardware and plastic, I was told by one community vet, who should know better. He does know better, and maybe he loved the work he accomplished while a 3000 was on this watch. The utter debasing of a machine isn’t supposed to provoke emotion. It did for me, though, as unexpected as any cheer leaping from a heart in a playoff game.

We’re all about basketball here, Abby and I. It’s part of our glue together. We’re more than fans. We respect the game, even when our fellas lose. So even while our favorites fade, whether they’re teams or systems, we can stay interested in what’s still remaining to play. That’s called loving the game. If you can't respect what others remain devoted to -- well, someday it may be your career facing cheap shots, the kind that the old guard doesn't take.