My apologies for being scarce around these parts lately. Work and school responsibilities have been taking their toll ("I'll take, 'Misplaced Priorities for $100, Alex'," I know), but I have been able to catch a few of our beloved Spurs' latest games, and through the assorted W's against mediocre competition and L's against contenders, a certain pattern has emerged to me: San Antonio isn't playing its best ball yet this season, and doesn't intend to for another few weeks at the soonest.
Perhaps it's a function of my maturation as a fan, (ok, I'm lying, I took the 2013 Finals result with as little grace as I have any loss in a long time, but I'd like to THINK I'm maturing), but-it is simply not possible for my favorite basketball team to go 82-0. Or 79-3. Or even 76-6. Not as presently constructed. Not as presently coached. Not with the number of legitimate teams in this conference. Shocking, no? I thought so too.
The problem for us as fans is this is our entertainment outlet. We want to see our heroes vanquish every foe, every time the lights are on at the gym, no matter the circumstances of the schedule, injuries or the big picture. Sure, we tell ourselves, "Manu is out tonight--I'm not expecting too much," "Tony looks gimpy, we might struggle," "Kawhi is out--that's a lot to overcome," but deep down, the forever-optimistic fan in us suggests that the improbable might happen. The good guys might find a way to save the day. Brushing tired legs, shorthandedness, and off shooting nights aside, our boys ride to victory with the band playing and flags unfurled, and we can toast another W before going back to our respective daily grinds. It is, after all, why we watch.
Except, of course, many times our heroes come up short. Circumstances are too much to overcome. Even for the best of teams, the bitter taste of defeat is nothing new. But for fans of those better teams (and make no mistake, even with a tougher-than-anticipated start against the West's best, San Antonio is still one of the best teams in the entire Association), how are we to cope? I look on with bemusement at the caterwauling of some fans who have followed this franchise for years and wonder if they ever consider the larger perspective that is the 82 game marathon of an NBA season. Especially when it comes to the Spurs--defending "Restgate" Champions and kings of not weighing all regular season games with the same gravitas as the lay person. I ask you--would ANYONE be surprised to see SA "flip the switch" later in the year and start steamrolling even top tier teams? Or rope-a-dope their way through the regular season only to come alive in the playoffs? Of course not. Even the shrillest of doubters would just shrug their shoulders and think, "well, that's just Pop's Spurs for you."
I say all of the above to wonder aloud: should we be concerned?
The answer is: yes, of course not.