I'm feeling the need for some perspective on this news. That's what places like this are for, so here we go.
Obviously this is devastating news. Blazer fans were like kids who had been promised a Ferrari for their sixteenth birthday. It was the stuff of dreams. We had gone to the showroom, picked out the color...we even had a test drive. Then as the car was being delivered for our birthday party a big old dump truck backed over it...from an overpass.
It seems to me there are a couple responses here. One would be to lament, which is proper for a while but ultimately unsatisfying. The other would be to admit a few things:
--We were lucky to even get a Ferrari at 16. Most people can't even sniff at that chance. We're not any farther behind than anybody else. We're just farther behind what we dreamed would be.
--We're all going to be 17 someday. There will be other birthdays. And Ferrari is not going out of business anytime soon. You don't give up driving and you don't give up hoping. Instead you drive an Oldsmobile for a year and enjoy it. You work, you save, and you say, "That Ferrari is still going to be there at 17 and 18 and someday it's GOING to be mine."
Translating the analogy into specifics...
- More and more people are coming back from microfracture pretty much as good as new. Zach did it. Amare did it. Oden will be back and completely driveable.
- I watched Oden play in summer league. This guy had two feet of clearance on his dunks from a flat-footed standstill with two guys draped over him. Even if he lost six inches on that leap he's still a foot above everybody else.
- As much as people wanted to believe that the team was going to transform into a behemoth this season it wasn't going to happen. We were too young and starting too many new people. This was a bonus year...a year to practice our cheerleading as fans, to get a glimpse of what the future could be like, and to say that anything the Blazers did over and above playing hard and gelling together was gravy. We're not losing Oden in the heart of our championship run. We're losing him when it matters least. All we're really missing out on is a thrill.
- One of the big questions this year was going to be whether we could assimilate the needs of Brandon, Lamarcus, and Greg on the court at the same time. Both of the former two need to grow into primary offensive weapons. Where Oden fit into that was still up in the air. You can bet if losses had mounted there would have been more confusion. Now Roy and Aldridge have a year to really carry the team and get used to that role. When Oden comes back he will be able to fit in and assimilate himself. Let's face it, the chances of all three transformations going smoothly at the same time were small anyway. It's perfectly possible that we could have gotten to the end of this year saying, "Oden needs to have a better sophomore season." Instead we get to over-hype him in our dreams without annoying reality getting in the way.
There are still things to play for and root for. This season is still critical in our development. We may not be driving the Ferrari yet but we can at least learn how to get the Oldsmobile around the track. The excitement of "What could this be" will just have to wait for another year, that's all.
Oh, and for those asking...YES, we are STILL BREAKING THAT BAD JUJU. In fact (and pardon me, dear sainted grandmother) I think it's high time we Blazer fans gave a big old collective SCREW YOU to all the bad juju. So see the post from a couple days ago and send in your stuff! We're not just going to struggle through this, we're going to beat it and prosper. Then all the bad juju in the world can just kiss our scarlet-and-black-covered heinies.
Chin up everybody. We'll make it.