I’ve started to think of the San Antonio Spurs like a werewolf. When the moon is out and the conditions are just right then you might just find yourself face to face with a monster. A beast who is capable of terrorizing a village, rampaging through a countryside, or even winning a basketball game. Most of the time though? There just a guy. A guy out there trying to make their way through the world. Capable of mayhem? Sure. Able to produce it at will? Not on your life.
It’s a frustrating existence we’ve been saddled with as fans. You’re not sure exactly what you’re tuning in for night after night. Are we getting the team that’s going toe to toe with the Western Conference leaders or are we getting the team that’s fumbling away easy wins against the cellar dwellers of the East? The glimpses of greatness are just great enough that it’s easy to fall into the trap over and over again.
When Jeremy threw down that incredibly sick two handed no look dunk in the 1st quarter, did you think we had a live one? Did you say to yourself, “that dunk was so cool, there’s no way the Spurs could disintegrate entirely in the 3rd quarter tonight.” Of course you did. That’s an objectively silly thing to think, but I know you felt it deep in your soul. You saw Devin Vessell with flames shooting out of his body taking the Spurs to a 1st quarter lead and you started checking the upcoming schedule and counting out the future win streak.
“Pelicans? Easy W. Cavs? They’re pretty good, but have a lot of guys coming off injuries, I think thats a W. Heat? Jimmy ain’t the same anymore. W.” That’s how it was going, right? You were midway through imaging the 8 game win streak heading into the All-Star break before you even noticed we we’re down 6 at half. Whoops.
Then the turnovers came. My word, the turnovers. Just handing the ball back to the other team like they misunderstood the premise of the sport entirely. Your win streak made of sand was crumbling around you and you were left with nothing but an aching wound that shouldn’t even be possible from a regular season game in January. How did it come to this?
I think the issue here is that we’re desperate to believe in something. We’re tired of being practical and staying the course. When we were kids we got introduced to this fun sport where the coolest guys we’d ever seen were running around and soaring through the air and doing all these amazing things and we decided, shoot, this is the greatest thing we’ve ever seen. We can’t wait to play and watch and obsess over this sport for the rest of our lives! Basketball is life!
Except these days, “basketball is life” means something more along the lines of “Basketball is a lot like life in that you go to your job because you have to pay a lot of bills” We’re watching our favorite team play out the string on a season and treat each game like it’s another month paying off our 30 year fixed rate mortgage. The losses might be bad now, but we’re generating a lot of future equity! Think of the property value! The tax write offs! Hooray!
It’s easy to get overexcited about the fun stuff because the rest of it is just so...bleh. It’s important and it’s valuable and it’s necessary and all that. It’s also just might be slowly sucking the life out of the part of me that even likes watching this sport in the first place. Sorry. I’m just not that complicated. I want to see dunks. I want to see blocks. I want to see wins. I want to have fun watching this team again. I wan to see the wolf.
Full moon can’t come soon enough.
- Is getting snubbed from the Rising Stars All-Star Challenge actually a thing we’re upset about? I felt like I saw a lot of that floating around last night and it kind of threw me for a loop. Was Jeremy playing mad because he was snubbed? Were we asking Pop if he deserved to be there? What...exactly are we talking about? The Rising Stars All-Star challenge is a scrimmage that 200 NBA journalists will tweet about and exactly 10 other people will actually watch. Frankly, I’m mad that Victor is even playing in it. Jeremy, by all means, use this as motivation to do whatever you need to do moving forward but can everyone else please calm down about the Rising Stars All-Star Challenge?
- There’s a drinking game out in the world (that I’ve never played, I’ve just heard about on TV Hi Mom!) where you have to duct tape 40 oz beers to your hands and you can’t take them off until you’ve finished the beers. I think it’s colloquially known as Edward 40 hands. I don’t really have a point here other than I think we should try duct taping the basketball to our guys hands until they figure out that you are not, in fact, supposed to turn the ball over 20 times a game if you would like to finish on the winning side of things.
- Objectively speaking, I know how young this team is. I say it all the time in passing and I frequently mention it as a reason why the team loses so many games. But I don’t know if I actually feel it in my bones how young they are. Babies. The lot of them. Just actual children out there playing basketball against adults and doing a pretty good job of it. The NBA is hard and you don’t just pick up the ins and outs of it at the drop of a hat. You need the experience. You need to see what works and doesn’t work on your own terms. The mistakes are so frustrating to watch and it feels like you just want to reach out through the screen and tell them the answers because, obviously, as a 30 year veteran of watching the game on TV you know exactly what they should be doing. Sigh. They’re fine. They’re good kids. They’re trying their best. They’re just kids. I need to just go yell into a paper bag or something.
- Let’s watch that Sochan dunk one, two or maybe even eight more times.
WWL Post Game Press Conference
- It felt like when you started this piece with a werewolf metaphor, you had a real opportunity to work in some “Magic” wordplay, considering last night’s opponent. Was that ever in your head?
- I think there was a thought there at the beginning, yea. You know, you go into these things with the whisper of a plan but it’s easy to fall victim to overthinking. You end up forcing something that doesn’t work and that’s no fun for anyone.
- Sure, but you ended up going from werewolves to talking about fixed rate mortgages. That’s got to feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.
- I treat writing the way Tarzan treats Tree Travel. You begin from a fixed position and then just start swinging from branch to branch as quick as you can. You have an idea of where you’re going but you never totally know how you’re gonna get there. Branch to branch. Vine to vine. That’s where the “magic” happens.
- Ohhh, I see what you did there.
- We always find it in the end.