Tonight's game marks the end of another season of Trailblazer basketball. Tonight the club also honors the 30th anniversary of its lone championship. It's hard to believe it's been 30 years since we've been to the Promised Land. That's a long...long time. One of my sincere hopes is that we don't get to 40 without another one.
With the team being in the state it's in, I'm more than ready for this season to end. It's time to rest up, heal up, and go about the business of making this team better. Even with the progress we've made it still amounts to a season of too much losing. I hope we don't have to go through too many more like this. This is the first season in about five that hasn't felt like a waste (or a plunge deeper into darkness). I hope we can capitalize on that and start stringing together some respectable showings. Nothing is guaranteed. A lot of things can go wrong. But I'm hopeful.
I hope the guys get a chance to relax a little before getting back to training and work. Then I hope they are able to put some of the lessons of this year to good use. For so many of them--rookies, second-year guys getting their first big chance, even guys new to the team--this year was an experiment. I suspect we'll learn pretty quickly next fall whether they've learned anything from it. It's nice that we have so many young guys with so many years ahead of them but even young as they are they need to remember that careers don't last forever and opportunities don't wait around. I was a little kid when we won the championship. As long ago as that's been, in some ways it has gone by in a flash. A lot of people have since come to Portland hoping to do something special. Relatively few of them have gotten the chance. How many careers have gone by in those 30 years? I guarantee you before you know it we'll be saying we can't believe that Brandon is retiring already. Remember when he was just a kid? Where did all the time go? The end of a season is a good time to remember that nothing lasts forever. You get about twelve trips around the sun to do something--less if you get injured--and there are no do-overs. If you let somebody else take it because they prepared a little better, worked a little harder, learned a little faster...you don't get it back. It just goes and you're left with should-haves and might-have-beens.
I'm not expecting miracles next year. In fact I'm not expecting too much of anything this early. But what we're all hoping for a few years down the road begins now for these guys. Another season has gone by and we didn't get where we ultimately wanted to go. I'm sure they're relieved to have made it through. I hope they're happy with the progress we did make. I hope they're excited about the potential in the future. But I also hope that leaves just a little bit of a bitter taste in their collective mouths...just enough to motivate them in the months to come.
Here's to being grateful for the most promising season we've seen in a long time around here. And here's to the chance to be grateful for even more in the future.
It was a good year.