Another NBA season is upon us, which means it’s time for me to ruminate once again on fandom, meaning, and Canis Hoopus.
Last year at this time, I wrote about why those things are important to me and boiled it down to three concepts: Connection, intellect, and hope. Today I want to fous on hope. Last year I wrote:
Hope, I think, is what keeps us going, whether it be in our own lives--hope that things get better, that we meet the right person, that our kids find happiness, or when we root for a sports team. When things aren't going well, what else but hope keeps us paying attention? And as so much of sports fandom, the hope we feel as fans is often a stand in for the hopes we have for our own futures and those of the people we love.
I still believe that, and I’ve been thinking about what it means for Timberwolves fans. It means we should embrace this season and make sure we enjoy it, because this might be the best time it gets to be a fan.
This year, we can have real hope without the cognitive dissidence that has so often been necessary over the past 12 years when we have tried to find it. There is real talent, and a new organizational leadership to shape it. Everything is in place for good things in the future.
And yet, there is still no burden of expectation. For this year at least, they are still young, still learning, and none of us reasonably expect a Finals appearance or deep playoff run. Which means this might be as enjoyable year as we get—hope and discovery and excitement without the dread of ultimate failure.
Was it more fun for Thunder fans in 2009-10, when they had their breakout year with a young Durant and Westbrook, or in later seasons when they were better, but fell short of their ultimate goal? Hell, how much more fun was their 2015 championship for Warriors fans than the 2012-13 team that made the playoffs for the first time in years behind Steph Curry?
I don’t know, and I hope we find out. But what I do know is those first signs of success after years of struggle must have been sweet for those fans. I’m hoping that 2016-17 will be that season for us; we’ve suffered long enough.
So let’s make sure we enjoy it. We’ll spend plenty of time criticizing and speculating and worrying—that’s what we do. But in the midst of all that, let’s remember that this should be a great time to be Wolves fans, and remember to take pleasure in the process.
I thank you for sticking with us, and for helping to make Canis Hoopus objectively The Greatest Place on the Internet. As I wrote last year, this place means an awful lot to me, and that’s because of all of you. If the success we are hoping for comes to fruition it will be made sweeter by sharing it with our friends, and if it doesn’t, our commiseration will help make it bearable.
Enough of that. It’s NBA opening night! Sweet, sweet basketball. Three games are on the slate. Discuss them here if you are of a mind.
Knicks at Cavs; 6:30 pm CDT, TNT
Jazz at Blazers; 9:00 pm, League Pass
Spurs at Warriors; 9:30 pm. TNT
Enjoy the games. Chat here.