On February 7th, with the Dallas Mavericks at a God-awful record of 21-28, word got out that the Mavs made a pact within their basketball team. Legend has it that O.J. Mayo was the ringleader, and he suggested that the Mavs grow their beards out as a sign of solidarity and not to shave until they reached .500.
Soon after, word of the pact got out to the fans and the Mavs even made it a formal thing, making a pledge on their official Facebook page for fans to show their support by not shaving, and for the folks who had to, to wear Mavs paraphernalia until they reached their goal.
For some, I imagine they looked at the pact with disgust. Here was a team that was a world champion less than two years ago, and they were making a pact to grow beards until they reached .500. How pathetic.
However, I saw something different. As a lifelong fan of the Mavs, I decided to make the pledge and follow their lead. Sure, the Mavs were seven games under, but Dirk Nowitzki was regaining form from his injury, and I figured the pledge would last a few weeks, at the most, before I’d be in the barbershop, in Chico’s chair, getting it cut off.
Well, it didn’t exactly go that way. Soon, the Mavs started to resemble a group of characters that looked they didn’t bathe, let alone shave. See, the pact included no lining of beards, no trims, nothing. The only exception was cutting hair under your neck, so it wouldn’t get caught in shirts, but hell, what was that going to do? So what started off as a pact built off of fun, team-building and even a morale booster turned into an exercise of patience and resolve, mixed in with a healthy dose of frustration.
The Mavs would go on a winning streak, inching closer and closer to .500, only to lose a lead in a game and fall back into a hole. The Mavs, on two occasions, got within one game of .500, only to get their dicks kicked in the dirt at home against the Pacers and at Staples Center against the Lakers. The Pacers game is affectionally known around Dallas as The Omar Game, since Mayo invited Omar The Barber to the arena in anticipation of a Mavs’ win and the opportunity to finally shave. However, it was all for naught since the Pacers heard about the pact, beat the crap out of the Mavs and sent fans like myself back to work looking even more crazy for signing up for this foolishness.
After the third time to reach .500 came, only for the Mavs to lose, at home, to the Phoenix Suns, one of the most terrible teams in the league, I lost it. I went on a tirade against the Mavs, the fans, myself and anyone else invested in the franchise. With four games to go, there was no way they would reach .500, not if beating Phoenix couldn’t happen. I was resigned to my fate. The beard was here to stay.