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The Trail Blazers are the Office Drones of the NBA

Daily life is mundane and average. I want my sports team to be more than that.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

My life is about as average as it gets.

I’m a white guy from Oregon, with a beard, who’s old enough to remember the Jail Blazers era, and writes for a sports blog as a hobby.

I ride my bike to work every day (“It’s a great way to stay in shape!”), unless it’s cold and/or rainy and then I hop into my Prius (“It’s not flashy, but you can’t beat 50 MPG!”). Either way, I’ll be listening to NPR during the commute.

Once at work I stare semi-mindlessly at a computer screen, until Nancy from accounting announces there’s some leftover cake in the break room. Free food! Around lunch time I’ll realize I’ve been alt+tabbing and/or planning happy hour with Brad from sales way too long and lock in for a few hours to make sure I get enough done to call it a productive day.

At home I’ll choose from one of the many annoyingly overflavored tall boys in the fridge from that “great local brewery that’s about to open a second location closer to downtown” while checking in on the mediocre short ribs I’ve been cooking in the sous vide.

I’ll briefly consider posting a picture of my beer and dinner to Instagram, purely out of a lingering sense of social ennui, but then I’ll realize how terrible the photos look and abort the plan (“How do my friends make stuff look so good using their phones’ cameras?!”).

It’s not Tuesday so I’m not heading to trivia tonight, so after dinner it’s time to watch the Rockets/Warriors game but I’ll get bored mid-way through the second and screw around on my phone until the fourth. I will briefly consider opening one of the many books on my ever-expanding “to read” list but meh. Tomorrow (lol).

In short, my life is exceedingly average. And, you know, I’m mostly satisfied. It may not be living up to the lofty dreams of childhood, but there are worse fates than contented normalcy. I mean, my biggest weekend gripe is that it’s tough to find parking for my favorite hike — things could be worse.

That overwhelming averageness, however, has drifted to my sports team.

NBA: Playoffs-Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Pelicans Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

The Blazers just lost in the first round of the NBA playoffs for the 23rd time in the last 41 seasons. To make matters worse, there’s no indication that trend will change any time soon. Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, and Terry Stotts are too talented for the team to drop below 40 wins and miss the playoffs entirely, but there’s no clear path to elite status. The salaries on the current roster are set and the team will be picking in the mid-20s in the draft. Other than Zach Collins, most of the players are veterans who could improve slightly, but are unlikely to make a leap into stardom.

The Blazers are the office drones of the NBA — talented and loyal enough to hang on to a decent job and make a decent salary, but they’ll never stand out. Just punching that clock until retirement.

And with the Rose Garden still full on most nights, it’s unlikely the team is about to have a mid-life crisis. Neil Olshey and Paul Allen will just keep driving a Prius home from work, eyeing the Ferrari dealer longingly, but never turning in. There is no major trade coming. There is no true rebuild coming. Only the monotony of first round playoff losses and postseason used car sales pitches.

I can’t stand any of this. Sports are, outside of Portland at least, supposed to be an escape. The current Blazers can’t offer that anymore; they’ll never thrill us with a deep playoff run, and they have nobody left to tempt us with limitless potential.

They’re mired in mediocrity to the point that games from last night will not be meaningful enough to distract me on the drive to work, and there will be no pending lottery picks to daydream about during lunch. The treadmill at the gym is boring enough — I don’t need to watch my team on one.