Playoff Fans, Be Honest with Yourselves
And then there were 16.
If your team was unlucky (read: either not talented enough or in the wrong conference) enough to left on the outside looking in for the Playoffs, I offer you my condolences. You have the option of watching the postseason without a dog in the fight, though it may be difficult to do so without bitterness, envy or anger. And you always have the Draft Lottery to look forward to.
If your team is in the Playoffs, congratulations. This is what all of those games, starting all the way back in late October, were building up to. There is no more time for inconsistencies or losing streaks. It’s winnin’ time. Get the job done or join the other teams for your summer vacation.
As a fan, we have no real influence on any of the games. We can go cheer our team on and be a part of the homecourt advantage, but we do not lace up our sneakers or rip off our warmups during the game. At least we shouldn’t. If these things are a part of your in-game fan ritual, please don’t let me dissuade you from doing them.
The point I’m getting at is this: Since we are removed from the actual games, there is no reason for us to have any sort of unrealistic expectations for the teams we like. Atlanta Hawks fans should be happy that they are in the Playoffs. They should be ecstatic if they win a game or two. Under no circumstance should they expect to reach the second round. Just being real about it.
That’s what every fan should do. Be real about it. Then things would hurt a little less when they happen. This is easier said than done, I know, but if we all work towards it, life could go so much more smoothly. There would be no need to lambast writers when they offered critiques of your team (even when they’re correct: this means you, Portland) or to call for the heads of team officials, even when they’ve actually done a serviceable job.
I’m a Rockets fan. I have experienced exhilarating highs and devastating lows this season, at least as much exhilaration and devastation as a fan can actually feel. There was a 22-game win streak in that season. There was also the loss of Yao Ming to a foot injury. As such, I understand why absolutely no one thinks much of the Rockets’ chances of doing anything meaningful in the coming weeks. I have not threatened to take anyone’s life or questioned their intelligence as a result of this, because they’re absolutely right. With the team not having advanced past round one in quite some time and with the injury situation and Tracy McGrady’s inability to seize an opening round victory, there’s not much I can say. Sure, I still expect them to win. I won’t jump off of a bridge if they don’t, though.
Take an honest assessment of your team’s chances every year. If they fail to live up to reasonable expectations, be unhappy. If they overachieve, feel fortunate. If they do just about what you think they should have done, recognize that the season was a success, even if the team didn’t win the championship. Just be sensible about things.
And please don’t be upset when the Rockets win the title.