Playoff time is here. For the Mavericks, the season begins again, and for an older team the transition to the playoffs is an important one. Let's face it, the NBA season is a grind, 82 games. It is hard to be up and at your best every game of the season. Veterans know that, so from time to time their effort is not what it should be.
A lot of reasons exist for the lack of effort at times during the regular season. One of the reasons is boredom. I hate to admit this, but there are weeks when I have not really put as much effort into my columns. Sometimes, I make up vague stories that I use to tell my kids to help them learn valuable life lessons about being honest, and making good decisions, and not picking up a wild raccoon, but I digress. Sometimes you feel a little off, injuries, flu-like symptoms, food poisoning, needing to go in for rabies shots after an encounter with a raccoon, all of these can affect your performance.
The fact that the playoffs begin at the same time of year as Easter should service as a lesson, and not the one about rabbits laying chocolate eggs in the yard, real lessons. Easter, both religiously and in a secular sense, is a symbol of a new beginning. This ought to be the way a team and the team's fans approach the playoffs.
I am approaching thirty years of age (actually I am circling back around to it) but I have never seen a group of fans so full of give-up since the fans of General Custer after the Little Big Horn. Mavericks fans have been complaining for months about how the team was going to lose in the first round. In other cities including Portland, our coming opponent, the fans are already planning victory parades and dusting off a place on their mantle for their trophy. (Yes, in other cities, they can do this even after a Game 1 loss.)
I would point out that we had every reason to be confident going into the playoffs, even before Saturday's success. We have the most playoff experience. We have the coolest team name -- think about it ... Trailblazer? All you have to do to be a trailblazer is get lost in the woods. James Garner was a Maverick, and Roger Moore was one, and that other guy was one too. That is way cooler than all the television trailblazers put together. Even our arena is cooler. Ours is names after airplanes and America. Theirs is named after flowers, Rose Garden. You don't see many tough characters hanging around in a rose garden. I have also seen their mascot. It is a tree. I am not a very good basketball player, but I can easily beat a tree in a best-of-seven series. It probably would not have to go more than six games.
So, as Easter approaches, keep in mind three things: First never give up. Winston Churchill said, "Never, never, never, never give up," and he said it with an English accent and sounded really serious. Second, remember every year's playoffs is a new opportunity. Nothing that happened in previous years has any effect on what will happen this year. We could have new referees, we could even have some with vision and good sense, sure it is unlikely but it could happen. And finally, if your wife tells you to dye eggs and take them to the church for the Easter Egg Hunt, be sure the eggs that you dye are boiled, or it could lead to a raccoon showing up to eat all the raw egg off the ground.