"This is the end, my only friend, the end." - The Doors
Is tomorrow the end of the lockout? Or the beginning of the end of the season? Or the end of hope for reason and sanity? Or perhaps another dead end. All I know is I'm at my wits end.
Standoffs, media stakeouts, marathon bargaining sessions, cancelled games, mediators, lawyers, unions, agents, revenue sharing, BRI, system issues, posturing, propaganda, grandstanding, fake deadlines, bluffs, bluster, ultimatums, calling bluffs, decertification, accusations, bad slavery analogies, ...on and on it goes, and where it stops, nobody cares. Well, the fans care, but who really cares about them?
In a deranged sort of way, you almost have to admire some of the parties on both sides. You can see the chess moves and the delicate way each side is playing the public relations game. Stern sets artificial deadlines so that the players will push their reps to let them play. Hunter stares down the threat and lets his players rattle sabers on decertification. It is a high stakes game of chicken.
But the one's caught in the middle are the fans (not to mention the stadium workers and other people relying on the NBA for gainful employment). We've already gotten run over by both sides and we're waiting in the middle hoping that one or both sides will swerve at the last minute rather than crush us between them. Both sides will give lip service to knowing how important this is to fans but actions speak with megaphones and I'm going deaf in both ears watching this unfold.
Both sides will have some kissing up to do when this is all said and done. Not with each other, but with us. Here we diehards stand, just waiting to come back to the sport with our wallets out, knowing that these green-eyed-monsters have been fighting over our basketball-allocated-incomes. We know that they know that they've got us and it makes us feel used.
And then there are the casual fans that have long since moved on to baseball, football, and soon college basketball. Will there be games in April and May and into June to lure them back? Will this all be a distant memory by then, only relevant for the odd schedules and odder playoff seeds?
Or will this truly be the winter of our discontent? 10 months of court battles, delays, posturing, charity games, failed spinoff league attempts, and then back to the negotiating table to do it all over?
Make it stop. For the love of Red and all that is Green, make it end!
Thanks, I feel a little better now. Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat. Find your happy place.
At the end of it all, it really does have to be all put into perspective. Sure, this is our
hobby, err, obsession, but it isn't the end of the world. Whatever doors close on us, we will always have windows open elsewhere. It's still just a silly game. We have jobs to do, lives to live, loved ones to love.
I hope against all hope that we'll have basketball back soon. But if not, we'll move on with the rest of our lives and leave the players and owners to pick up the pieces of their own mess.
"And in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make." - The Beatles