The last Latin Club meeting of my high school career was held this Wednesday. And I, who am not very easily moved by emotions, cried. But it was just Latin Club.
The Spurs lost a basketball game this Saturday on a last-second Vince Carter three. And I, who treats every Spurs loss as if a piece of my soul were torn away, didn't bat an eyelid. But the Spurs are down 2-1 in the series!
My Latin Club
My Latin Club has many parallels with the Spurs. We have enjoyed continuous success for the past few years (we ended up winning the competition for the eighth straight year this April). We have had arguably the best Latin teachers in the state (though I have no statistics database to prove that). And, like the Spurs, the veterans pull their weight (in the club of around 100 people, the nine seniors, including me, contributed 24% of our 1000-something point total).
But heading into the award ceremony, we were nowhere near being confident that we were going to win. Another school had almost triple our participants, numbering at around 270 people. In the competition, each person in the club has the opportunity to earn zero to four points in accordance to what ranking he or she gets after taking a test. It was apparent that there was strength in numbers, and we were severely lacking in them.
When the second-place winner was announced, leaving my club to be announced for first prize, our huddle almost exploded. When the first-place winner was announced, the club did explode. The energy in the room was electric; euphoria was transmitted by smiles and cheers, high-fives and hugs were exchanged by my peers. Each senior savored the atmosphere at the gym, for it was the last such celebration of victory we would ever feel.
Fast-forward to this past Wednesday, and the previously mentioned final meeting. And here, an epiphany hit me by way of a speech given by one of my friends. As a senior, what he said resonated with me.
"Find your why."
In the face of the sleepless nights, in the face of the doubt that any of the preparation that he did would actually matter, in the face of wondering if he was studying Latin because he wanted to do so, he looked to this as a source of inspiration.
The reason was simple. If he truly loved the language, what better way to continue the struggle than to remind himself of why he was doing it?
A Fan's Why
Down 2-1 in a series, with the Spurs not playing up to their beautiful basketball standards, it can be easy to focus on the negatives: the Spurs' defense is confoundedly confused. The bench (except for Manu Ginobili) has pulled a disappearing act, and the momentum seems to be completely in the Maverick's favor.
This thinking is akin to my thoughts before the results of my Latin Club's victory were announced: the other school nearly tripled our numbers, the past year had been really close (we only won by 37 points then), and it had been a really hard testing year.
But as my friend did in the dark times of his Latin Club experience, why not remind yourself of your why now?
It may differ for all of us, or it may all be of the same essence. You may watch the Spurs because you have watched them you whole life. You may watch the Spurs because you have become attached to seeing how Manu's hairline has developed since his earlier days in the league. You may watch the Spurs because no other team has made you feel the way you do when you watch the Spurs.
As Travis Hale eloquently stated, "The Playoffs aren't supposed to be easy." Like the players, the fans are subject to fragile psyches. Each game is isolated unto itself -- certain moments within a game are cemented in memory. The amount of storms a fan endures is comparable to the amount of stars in the sky. They will keep coming, so accept them and ignore them. Instead, think of the positives:
"Finally, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
The end of the last game brought me some reasons to be positive: the offense has seemed to stabilize, and the bench has started to show signs of life. Just as my hopes for victory rose during the award ceremony as each of my peers' names were called for first place, so do my hopes for victory for the Spurs stay firm as I see that the team has started to progress to the mean.
A series of games is not a static entity, it's dynamic, even organic. It contains dramatic shifts and changes; it rarely ever remains stagnant. Changes are to be expected. Pieces will fall into place. The Spurs will adjust. They stand at the top of the Western Conference for a reason. You follow this team for a reason.
Remind yourself of your why.