It's that time. That time of year when season ticket holders start reminding us, in pretty much every thread, that they are, indeed season ticket holders. By choice. Their choice. That if the team doesn't do _________ or fire ________, they will be changing their season ticket holder status on Facebook to "formerly". It's that time when "last straw" quotes mingle with "I can't take any more of this" grumblings from beleaguered fans. Basically, it's that time of the year when those of us following one of the several teams who had entered the season with some form of hope, be it realistic or no, face the cold reality of watching their guys fumble for the exit, leaving us with neither playoff series to root upon, or high lottery pick to pray over. In short, it sucks to be us this year. We're not that good. We're not that bad either. Certainly not bad enough to get us all excited over ping pong balls swimming in a tank. We know it. One by one we realize it. We just don't recognize the feeling. We're the Blazers. We always make the playoffs! We have risen. Or something.
Yes, it sucks to be us, but in my opinion we have nothing to complain about. Not this season. Let's revue: we lost our hall-of-fame guy. The heart of the franchise. The man who returned respectability to our city. He walked away from the game, apparently, and hasn't set foot near the Rose Garden since. That's very sad. That's very painful. We would be forgiven if we grieved, just for that alone. Then we can talk about Greg Oden. The hope that was hoped upon too many times to count. Hey, that's sad too, especially for him. Being injured sucks. The dude has literally spent most of his adult life rehabbing from injuries. I don't care how many channels your TV has. That's not fun. Plus, we all know the quality that exists on cable TV. How many times can you watch cheaply shot emo vampire movies? Not to mention all of the commercials. Bad commercials. But I digress.
The point is, management of this last Blazer era went for it. They spent the money. They chose great talent with 75% of their high lottery picks. They whiffed in terms of health, but who could have predicted it? There really isn't any person to blame for this run of bad luck. This season would have looked different had things not gone so, so wrong.
On the other hand, things played out much better than you might realize. Consider Brandon's retirement. Well, it's much better than he championing on, playing limited minutes, unable to change pace, and essentially being the most expensive, cap-devouring backup two guard in the league. For several seasons. Greg? Well, perhaps its a good turn in fortunes for the Blazers to finally be out from under the weight of his contract, and the coming massive free agent deal he was likely to command. In short, both of those events have given us fans what we REALLY need:
A fresh start. The end of the Frailblazer era. That's what this season is. A painful turn of the page. But even then, management tried to bring in solid veteran pieces to win with. They dreamt of a duo of Felton/Oden opening the floor for our all star stud to flourish. They swung one last time and whiffed, but they left intact, in the expiring contracts of Camby, Felton, Crawford, and Wallace (likely) the chance for us fans to finally grieve the death of our team. Hell, after what we've 'been through', we deserve it. A fresh start.
So fear not. Threat not. I'm not saying watch the games or anything. Eww; THAT is some bad basketball to behold...
Let's just give ourselves a chance to renew our hope for not next season, but for the next Blazer era to come. Besides, we'll always have Nic and Elliot. So let us not make the passing of this era more painful than it needs to be. Let the screamers scream. Let the blow hards blow. But we true fans understand how this all went down. We understand that our management, while far from perfect, had a solid plan in place and it just all went up in smoke. It sucks, but that's the business of the business.