In the past two years I've felt a measure of personal responsibility for the Spurs' early playoff exits. The playoff beard is a noble tradition, but I - being of Nordic ancestry - have never managed to contribute more than a quarter-inch of stubble to the cause. I understand that this is unacceptable. I understand that the Basketball Gods demand sacrifice. I have fasted and meditated, and I feel that Their will is clear.
I am taking a lovely young lady out tonight. I actually met her at the sports bar where I was watching the NOOCH game - she's a huge sports fan herself, though not much of a hoops-lover, and she understands the importance of watching key games. Consequently, she understands my priorities, and we're going to be having dinner at a great little restaurant that always shows basketball games when they're on TNT.
This young lady is truly a thing of beauty: tall, slender, pretty, and - as John Cusack might say - a 'sure thing'. My pledge, before the FSM and the PtR community:
If the Spurs win this, I'm going home alone tonight.
I doubt the Basketball Gods are getting many offerings this early in the season - surely, my sacrifice is too great for them to resist. When Lauri wrote that the mojo favors the Spurs, she little knew how right she was. Keep me in your thoughts tonight, my friends. Every Ray Allen brick, every 'Sheed technical - know that Bonner's treys and Blair's boards will be divinely guided. No question, PtR: we win this game. Not without cost, but I'm prepared to do (and not do) what is necessary. By this time tomorrow the Spurs will be 10-6, and I will have redeemed myself.
I hear the anger. I see the pointed fingers. I hear talk of jinxes, of bad karma, of my lack of traditional deference to the Mojo Gods. And you know what? You're right. We do tend to tiptoe around the basketball deities here at PtR. And you know what? I put it to you: isn't that a problem?
Haven't the mojo gods gotten used to our cowering deference? I think they're taking us for granted - and in the larger sense, I think this is hurting our beloved Spurs. I say we've got the most talented crew in the league (and yeah, that includes LA). I say we've got the best coach in the league (and yeah, that includes LA). And yet we've got no swagger, no fire in the belly. Sure, we neither expect nor want a bunch of chest-pounding from our team, but past championship squads have had a sense of inevitability about them - a quiet dominance, an innate menace that put other teams back on their heels. We've improved the squad, but lost that black-and-silver magic. It's time we demanded it back.
Remember how our relationship with the Mojo Gods used to be? We paid them homage and offered them the traditional sacrifices, and they hung banners in our rafters. When did the magic die? What can we do to resurrect it? Well, I'm calling for a New Deal with the Spirits of Spurs Mojo. The sacrifice I put on the table last night, which our gods so callously rejected, is now a standing offer: every single game we play against a top-five team, I'm putting my love-life on the line.
For the sake of Sima's heart, no more predictions. No more guarantees - although I contend that it was only the presence of Guaran-Sheed in last night's game that derailed mine. But we need the Mojo Gods to understand that this is a two-way street. A world of worship awaits them ... but they've got to make with the Ws.
Mojo doesn't just come back. It has to be taken back. I'm doing my part.