Help me out. I've been a fan since the Roy/Aldridge draft. Now the season's starting and I just can't get enthused! It's true that the Blazers don't have to deal with the headaches and heartaches inspired by the injuries to Oden and Roy but the upside and anticipation are missing this year too. Even forlorn hope is better than no hope.
That's understandable in the abstract. This season is harder to gear up for than, say, 2007 or 2008. But you know what? That ball is going to tip on Wednesday and it'll be Blazers-Lakers. Your blood will pump and you'll be rooting for Portland to win. That'll be true of every game. One of the great joys of sports: games aren't played in the abstract. Hope springs anew every night. If your heart doesn't race for a mid-season Blazers-Cavaliers matchup, well, you're forgiven. (I can do that officially, you know!) There will be games like that. But you'll also see Portland-Houston, Portland-Golden State, and any number of games against young, vibrant teams that you'll want to see the Blazers test themselves in (and hopefully win). Excitement is never absent. You just change the matchups you're excited about and what you glean from them. Besides, if the Blazers were clearly the best team in the Western Conference this year you'd be yawning when the Rockets came to town...or anybody outside of the super-teams.
You also have a few extra reasons to get juiced this year. If you aren't curious about Damian Lillard then you aren't curious at all. Meyers Leonard will be a random delight nearly every night. You're going to see definite progression in one direction or another from both of these players, plus maybe a couple more youngsters off the bench. Consider that experience banked for later seasons when their contributions will become more crucial to the fortunes of the team. Also consider this a free education in basketball without the burden of worrying about wins and losses. Understanding why a team struggles now will help you understand how they can win later. If the thrill isn't quite up to par, consider this an interesting experiment.
All relationships go through this kind of thing. Friendships, marriages, professional relationships...ups and downs are part of the process. That's life. Even when you're in a trough in your marriage, you'd be a fool to let that inhibit your enjoyment of a trip to Hawaii. Consider each game a new vacation, enjoy it for what it's worth, and don't sweat the big picture as much.
Also realize that even though you've grown up with Brandon Roy, other eras will bring other joys. All of us have had to learn this along the way. There's usually a down time when a generation of Blazers departs. Then in a couple years somebody sparks your passion and you find a second (or for some of us a sixth) love. It'll happen for you too.
OK, Blazer's Edgers...you've heard our friend looking to get enthused about the year. The season starts in a couple days. Throw out what you're looking forward to and help Dez--and all of us--get
jazzed, er, blazered up about the new year!