Another one -- more bad than good -- comes to a close
Where does the time go?
Seems like it was just yesterday we were packing for Halifax amid all kinds of optimism and now we’re staring into the off-season abyss wondering what’s going to happen.
Actually, I lie.
That was, without doubt, one of the longest seasons I can remember, and I can remember an awful lot of them.
Now, it’s not like I didn’t have any fun and, as we know, it’s all about me.
I was lucky enough of the course of the season to meet some great new people and that’s of paramount importance to me; we had some fun on the road every now and then and, frankly, got through it relatively unscathed.
Some quick highlights and lowlights?
Don’t mind if I do.
Where’s it rank?
Well, it wasn’t 16-66 and it wasn’t the drama of the KO year and the players and coaches themselves are as good a group of people as they’ve had around here.
Not an electrifying gaggle of personalities and awful young but, still, a good group.
This one has to be among the worst three or four given the expectations, the mid-season upheaval and the angst that carried through almost from the first week of the year.
Losing, and not living up to a billing, takes its toll on people and there were times when nerves were frayed and people were on such edge that the whining factor went off the charts.
Now, that in itself isn’t unusual, happens with every team in the same circumstances throughout the league but the cumulative effect can get to a guy.
And as this one wound down, it was like we couldn’t wait for it to get over.
Too bad, took some of the fun away from being around various arenas.
Best trip, personally?
(Well, maybe except the Milwaukee beginning but it was only one night)
Buena Vista to meet Dennis Franz’s daughter and a great dinner at Tomasso’s in San Fran; another good meal and a day off in Phoenix and a great hotel right across from Staples Centre for the first time ever.
Have no recollection who won the games – that was kind of secondary to the season at that point – but good cities with days off wasn’t that bad.
Somewhere, Stompin’ Tom and Rita are making some music, I’d think; some good music.
The night the season died, Vol. 1
We’re in Portland, the season is pretty much slipping away and the HOTH get absolutely drilled to go to 4-18 on the season.
It’s the end of a long trip, Lowry gets hurt, Andrea gets hurt, I have to rush to get anything of any substance in the paper because it’s so late.
There are two tiny hallways in the bowels of the Rose Garden, one that leads right to the locker room before it ends and a long one that leads out to the area where the bus waits.
Well, Bryan’s on the trip and I’ve never seen him as disappointed/angry/sad as he was as he stood against one wall and I’ve never seen Dwane at such a loss for answers as he stood in the long hallway about 15 feet away trying to figure out what went wrong and what was going on.
It was being at a funeral; the season was the corpse.
A day of fun
In the grand scheme of things it was just a home win over a team with a sub-.500 record and you’re supposed to beat teams like that but the Sunday afternoon win over the Lakers might have been the most fun day of the season.
Huge crowd, lots of buzz in the building and everyone seemed to leave happy, even the thousands of Kobe fans in the joint.
The night the season died, Vol. 2
Washington-Cleveland back to back losses in late-February that really laid waste to any suggestion they could climb back into playoff legitimacy.
Was a time to show what they were made of; losing at home to the team with the worst road record in the league (the Wizards) and then on the road to a team missing its best player (Kyrie Irving) was pretty telling.
And fatal to their slim chances.
I really need some mail, folks.
Yes, we have the chat here at noon and I’m sure we’ll through a lot of stuff but for those who can’t make it, drop a line at email@example.com and make a guy’s day.
I have been known to rag on the game ops people down at the arena every now and then.
But the little pre-game ceremony to honour and remember the victims of Monday’s bomb blast in Boston was as well done as anything ever.
And we did get some Sweet Caroline, just no singing. Which might be a good thing, all things considered.
One enduring memory
It sort of put the human picture of sports in laser-like focus.
It was the Night Of The Big Trade in Atlanta and even an interloper just standing in the middle of a silent locker room basically eavesdropping couldn’t help but feel the emotion.
These were close friends being separated by outside influences, these were men with families being told, ‘okay, thanks for your services but you’ve been transferred to another country and you start work there tomorrow” and while it wasn’t like someone died, seeing the teary eyes and long faces and emotional hugs between good friends put a real human face on things.
Sure, I get that pro sports is a business, a ruthless business at times, but that was a tough few minutes to watch.
All right, I’ve got some Nothin’ But Net to get at see some of you around noon, I hope.