I generally hate the use of extremes or hyperbole in sports. To say that something is “THE MOST” or “THE WORST” or “THE BEST” or “COMPLETELY OVER” in any given situation is generally to ignore why we love sports so much. It is the unpredictability, the drama and the unexpected that give us our best and most memorable storylines.
Actually, let me rephrase: extremes are THE WORST.
And yet, we continue to face a constant chorus of the above.
Cardinals’ fans should know all too well that it’s never “over.” And I don’t say that to be cute, or romanticize some of the remarkable moments down the stretch of the regular season and into the postseason that the Cardinals have been a part of the last few years. Frankly, the moments don’t need any romanticizing.
Everything the Cardinals did in 2011 should be proof enough for the sports world that it’s never truly “over” in a series, until the final out is registered, or the final seconds tick off of the clock.
And yet we still continue to make the same statements, over and over. The same constant choruses are sung.
Take for instance, the NBA postseason. That’s right, we’re going there. As an aside, if you aren’t watching, you really should be. More on that in a minute.
The Memphis Grizzlies lost the first two games of their Western Conference Finals series to the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio. Tuesday night’s loss was especially heartbreaking, as the Grizzlies overcame a miserably played first half and closed the final seven minutes of regulation on a 17-2 run to get to overtime.
And then they lost.
So it’s “over.”
I heard an ESPN pundit quip today the stat that 93% of NBA teams that win the first two games of a series go on to win the series. And that’s why the Grizzlies-Spurs series is “over.” Problem is, the Grizzlies are one of the outliers, and it happened this postseason. Just like the Cardinals heroics, and the drama that so many comebacks and improbable runs provide us, how quickly we forget.
The Grizzlies lost the first two games of their first round series against the Clippers in Los Angeles, and were facing the bulletproof 93% to 7% odds. And they won the series. But it’s “over.”
The Grizzlies knocked off this San Antonio team two years ago, for the franchise’s first PLAYOFF WIN EVER. Not to mention their first series win. But it’s “over.”
The Spurs blew a 3-1 series lead last year in these same Western Conference Finals. But it’s “over.”
The point isn’t that the Grizzlies will win this series. The point is that it’s never over. That’s part of the fun. And if you’re a St. Louis fan, isn’t that something you identify with? It should be.
I’ll be watching until it’s ACTUALLY over, in the case of the Grizzlies, and in all sports. It never matters what anyone tells me. And I would recommend you do the same. In the case of the NBA postseason, it might not make you a fanatic, but I can guarantee it will make for a pretty good storyline. No matter how many times someone says that it shouldn’t.
I GUARANTEE IT WILL BE THE BEST THING YOU’VE EVER WATCHED.
But don’t take my word for it, like you shouldn’t take anyone else’s words when they’re coated with similar extremes and hyperboles. Take your own word for it, after the fact. I can actually guarantee that you’ll probably have one.