4/26/10

Life, Love and Raptors

Took the weekend off. Which will become the norm for the off-season. I did go down to Toronto though. Kat and Akil from Raptorspace were having a Tweet-up for the playoffs. Being the rebel that I am never tweeted from the Tweet-up. Well honestly I have not jumped into the next century and got a blackberry or I phone. Eventually I may be forced to cave and get one. But it just doesn't make a ton of practical sense for me. Not to mention my rather large hands and those tiny keys. Anyway, I had a nice time and Kid Raptor was in the house. Took me back to when I coached kids locally here in the Blessed Sacrament House League. I played in that league as a kid and I guess that was the start of the journey here if you think about it. There is nothing better then to see kids that just flat out love the game. Sometimes you can lose that pure joy for just loving basketball. This summer could be one of those times when it comes to the Raptors for some. I mean the prospect of losing the team's best player and once again starting over is frustrating. That being said, we all are riding the same train I suppose. Colangelo seems to believe regardless of if Bosh is back or not he can improve this squad. I hope he is right, but I find it hard to believe and fail to see an example of a team that, at least in short term, is better off losing it's best player.

They say, if you don't learn from history you are doomed to repeat it. The Raptors history with Franchise/Star players is some history we would all like to forget. If you look close at each situation it is different but honestly does it matter? Do people in their own lives sit back and examine why every relationship in their lives didn't work. When it is over, it is over and you move on. At least that is what you are suppose to do. However for some people that is not as easy, as it is hard to cut ties of such an emotional level for certain people. Sometimes only one person wants to end a relationship and not the other. That can be an emotionally devastating experience. However after it happens, you learn something from it and you promise yourself you will never feel that way again. Never allow yourself to get burned like that again. Part of the human existence is the ability to cope and adapt. However in sports, for most people, it strikes an emotional cord in you. I have heard so many people including myself say they love the sport of basketball. It is a different kind of love thought, not like how you love your Girlfriend/Boyfriend or wife or husband. It isn't how you love your kids if you have them. Love and Logic seldom go together. Logic would suggest that all sports are big business and to grow emotionally attached to a team or worse yet a player makes no sense at all. However would that make it fun? If you honestly don't care can you actually love something? Obviously not.

If you truly love someone or something you are taking a huge risk. That risk is you open yourself up to pain if things don't work out. Maybe that is why some people get so wrapped up in stats in sports. If you base sports based just on stats, it is totally based in logic and is unemotional and cold. I guess that works for some people and it allows them to deal with things and cope. However it also takes away some of the pure joy out of it. The Playoffs are a combination of both emotion and talent. That is what makes the playoffs different. Emotions are high because by the end of it all 29 teams and everyone connected to them are emotionally devastated. Only one team at the end of every season gets to experience that true joy that is winning a championship and being the best.

If anyone was truly smart they would never become a sports fan and they would never fall in love with anything. Logic would suggest that is the smartest thing you can do. Athletes are often respected for having the ability to be able to control their emotions and perform. Still even the best of the best have to let that emotion out once in awhile. It is only human. Sure we may go on and on at how amazing the humans are that play this game. However at the end of it all they are still people, that are created the same as you and me. They just happen to be extremely talented and have larger bank accounts.

When you look at the NFL that recently had it's draft, they have players go through the combine as does the NBA. They measure all of these stats of how players perform in drills. They break down tape and break it down over and over again. They really try and turn it into a science. But is it as simple as all that? If it was would a team every miss on a draft pick. Did anyone see the very different paths that Greg Oden and Kevin Durant careers would take. You just can never factor in things like heart and desire or the unknown that is injury. I think we all as human beings just are in search of answers, and if people can provide us evidence, it makes us feel comfortable in believing in them. Like it or not though, life is always going to have questions without answers and so will sports. Why do you think gambling is so big. It is that unknown combined with the rush of risk. Even the best handicapper or sports better can never be right every single time. The goal is to be right more than you are wrong. That is kind of the same thing here in terms of the stuff that I say and predict.

Raptor fans may feel that they have endured far to much pain, and not nearly enough joy from this relationship. Some may have had enough, and just like a failed relationship in life, end it and move on. But I submit to you, that this is the price you pay for being a sports fan. It is for all those moments where you are totally invested emotionally and get to experience that pain or joy in 2 and half to 3 hour spans. There is also these long term emotional experiences where you get to watch a player grow and invest in them. But ultimately for them it is business at the end of the day. Sadly it is a rare event to watch a player have that long term commitment to a team for his entire career. However is life much different? How many relationships does it take for someone to find that perfect person? Even when they think they do, does that always last? If you check the divorce rates in North America the answer is no. It is very rare that anyone meets the first person they ever love and live happily ever after. This is not a fairy tale it is reality. However still as sports fans are we not all in search of that fairy tale that is winning a championship, and every year that quest is renewed again. We also are just in search of someone to believe in, that will love us the way we love them. I wouldn't blame Raptors fans for being jaded by this point. There has been more than enough reason to be. However if you truly love this team and care you will be back. In fact that is what all sports teams are selling you. Something to love, believe in and be a part of. They are selling you the hope of something to love. It is one of the best scams going. But that being said, I couldn't imagine my life without sports, and basketball most of all in it. If people don't follow sports at all, they seem odd to me. Maybe they are smarter than me by not bothering with it. However, maybe I am the smart one, who wants to take that ultimate risk to love something and face the fact I am going to be hurt more likely than provide me joy. But when that joy happens it is fun isn't it?

If you truly love something, you will love it regardless and unconditionally. If you truly love something, you love it for all that is good about it, and bad about it. Does Chris Bosh love Toronto? I think he does. However, is he using his heart to make this decision or his head. It would seem pretty clear it is his head and ultimately that is what he should do. However, for fans and the people that love him in Toronto it is not about logic. They are not the ones that have to live with the choice for the next 40 or 50 years though. Bosh is the one. The other thing about sports is their is always someone new coming around the corner to love. Be you Sonny Weems or whoever comes along. If this ends up being the end of a 7 year relationship between Bosh and the Raptors, many will have a variety of emotions about it. In my own personal view, I will look back on it and smile. I think Chris is a good person, gave all he had and it was not meant to be. Can you really hate someone for that? Sometimes relationships just don't work, but that doesn't mean you have to hate a person for it. You can still love them after it is over. Not every relationship has to end in flames does it? Not every relationship needs to end like it did with Vince Carter? I guess will find out.

This was pretty deep for a Monday. I am sorry about that. However sometimes the best examples to explain sports, are just when you compare it to real life. There is something about sports that drives people insane and still love it with all their heart. It defies logic for even the most intelligent person. It is great to have a passion and love for sports. Just like any love you have in life, hang on to it tight and never lose it.

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