"Let me tell you something friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane." - Red from Shawshank Redemption
I love the movie Shawshank Redemption. True, I am biased because it was shot in my hometown and I've even toured the prison where it was filmed, but it's a great movie that talks about what hope can do for a person. So when I was thinking about the upcoming Spurs season, this quote came to mind. After reading all the posts this summer on PTR that ranged from Trading Tony, to expected rosters, to expected playing time, they got me thinking about last season, the upcoming season, and life within PTR. So jump to find out why I think hope as a Spurs fan can be such a dilemma.
This past season was my first visiting PTR. I’m from Ohio, so you can imagine how tough it is to find good Spurs information around here. I had been getting the majority of my information from ESPN, we all know how much love the Spurs get from that network, so the news I got was few and far between. So when ESPN started the TrueHoop Network, I was pleased to find 48minutesofhell and to finally have a reliable source for my Spurs information. However that was when there were only 2 members of 48MOH and there were only a few postings during the week. Since my work was boring, I needed to find someplace else to help make my work day go quicker and that is how I stumbled upon PTR. I started reading the articles and posts and felt it was a great place to quench my thirst for Spurs knowledge, while also getting to meet some great Spurs fans.
Needless to say, I was more jacked up for the last Spurs season than at any time before. I couldn’t believe we had drafted DeJuan Blair, signed Antonio McDyess, and traded for Richard Jefferson. Each day brought with it a greater level of excitement than the last because of the potential the Spurs had. I could also feel the energy from everyone on PTR and that I wasn’t the only one ready for the season. Well….we know how the season turned out and worse, how it ended; in a jumbled mess at the hands of our younger brother the Suns. However, I kept coming back to PTR throughout the summer, continuing my search for Spurs information and getting ready for the new year. I was on Tiago Watch, along with everyone else on PTR, and then followed the re-signing of RJ and wondering who would round out the Spurs roster. And before I knew it, the calendar had turned to October and the season was almost ready to start.
So what does all of this have to do with a quote from the movie Shawshank Redemption? Well I kind of feel that as a fan, as a team, and as a PTR community, this season represents a crossroads. Will the 2nd year be the charm for RJ, McDyess, and Blair? Will George keep improving? Will a rookie make an impact? Will a slow start send the team into panic mode and force them to trade Tony? That sure sounds like a lot of situations that could go either way. And that is only the in-season stuff. How about at the end of the year? The potential lockout looming. Tony Parker’s potential last season with the Spurs. Possibly Tim Duncan’s last season ever. Coach Pop’s last season if he decides to leave when Tim leaves. And if all or even some of that happens, we will be watching an entirely new Spurs team take us into the rest of this decade led by George, DeJuan, Tiago, and any other Spur who decides to step up this season. And that is why that quote seemed fitting to me. Because I believe the hope in this Spurs team can be dangerous. With every game, every loss, and every day of the season, I'm driven a little more crazy. If you don’t believe me, just ask my wife. My hope in this team makes me lose sight of reality. It clouds my judgment and leads me to irrational thoughts. It seems to cause more pain than it’s worth. And it does the same for this website. Our hope almost turns every Spurs game into a life and death situation. And to quote the great Van Wilder, "if you treat every situation like it's life or death, you'll die a lot of times." So in that sense, Red is right. Hope in this team is dangerous.
But for those of you who have seen Shawshank, you know there is one more famous quote about hope at the end of the movie.
"Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies." - Andy Dufresne
That quote is how I truly feel about this team and this organization. Will my hope in this team drive me crazy? Absolutely. But my hope is also a great thing. It gets me up in the morning following a crushing defeat. It makes me check PTR every day, even when it is the slowest part of the season. It gets me excited to watch preseason games! And it gets me excited for this season that will probably determine the next 10 years of this franchise. Do I think the Spurs can win the Championship this season? Of course. Do I think it is going to happen? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean my confidence or faith in this franchise will fade.
So that is why I wrote this post and why I feel that this team and this PTR community are standing at a crossroads. We are standing at a place in the team’s history where none of us know what is going to happen. Not just with this season, but for the foreseeable future. And I think it is best if each one of us stops and takes a minute to figure out what we expect as the new season approaches. Will the pressure of the past and a return to glory get to you? Will the Trade Tony posts start up as soon as the team has a losing streak? Will the ranting and raving about Pop and the rotations start if he hasn’t settled on a lineup by December? Will the atmosphere of the site turn to bickering and sarcasm instead of encouragement and excitement? Or will we realize this team is in good hands and deal with the inevitable bumps in the road? Will we remember the past and how spoiled by success we are? And will we look with anticipation to a future that could have so much potential?
That is the dilemma we face as Spurs fans. It is not whether or not we should have hope, but rather what we are going to allow our hope to do to us. Do we let it drive us crazy or do we let it lead us into the future? That's the choice that we have to make. That is the dilemma we face. Because hope is dangerous. Because hope is good. But most importantly, because like our Spurs, hope never dies.