Thursday, July 10, 2008
The Golden Child 2008 OR Some Like It Hype!
I'm not a terribly huge fan of the critics choice...EVER! And this is quite thoroughly evident when it comes down to sports. I detest that moment when everyone sides with one athlete, one team, before anything has been decided - it seems almost insulting. And yet it always happens. It's for this reason I feel that I won't be a big fan of the Sixers this season, despite cheering for them down the stretch of last year to squeak out a playoff spot and was hoping for an upset First Round series win.
I've got a history of this too: I mean even though I've always respected Kevin Garnett and easily felt he was the more deserving player to win this years NBA Championships over Kobe Bryant, I chose the Lakers to win instead of Boston simply because of the hype the Celtics had received with their blockbusters trades that previous summer. So many people chose Boston to win this time last year just based on trades alone before the season had begun, so much so that I refused to accept anything redeeming that headed my way about that team for some time. In retrospect, I am very glad that Boston trio was able to claim long-awaited titles, and to an extent that Kobe lost as well, but that doesn't change my feelings on the uber-hyped favourites nor my likelihood to distance myself entirely from their existence.
Beyond the fact that I am a Miami Dolphins fan I was rooting against history in the form of the New England Patriots for the same reason, but then again that was also right square in the midst of my "The City of Boston must be stopped!" phase. This of course came about because of the rampant Celtics pre-season predictions, the Red Sox World Series win, and the perfect season destiny the Pats were in the midst of fulfilling...I think even the Bruins were making a bit of a run as well at that point in the season.
I quite often question the motives of Yankee and Manchester United fans (in many ways no different in my opinion), since I've run into many casual fans for both who only buy the gear out of fashion, or just follow the names because it's the cool thing to do. I can accept the hype, I just dislike the ramifications that come along with it. And with the acquisition of Elton Brand from the Los Angeles Clippers today, Philadelphia took over that media darling preseason spotlight the Celtics occupied the prior year.
All in all I guess I'm a bit of a purist in the sense that I want some justification to following a team, and "bandwagon" may not always be the right answer to satisfy my thirst as a diehard sports fan. It's funny because in many other parts of my life statements like "why not" and "whatever!" are not only quite readily accepted as viable answers, they're more commonly my motives!! And of course this is not completely accurate even in terms of sports as I'll choose a sports team to follow should my team be out of the playoffs, one that has caught my fancy/might be is playing a team I would rather not advance. Even during the seasons I'll find some player or team to root for alongside my own squad because I like the cut of their jib. So to say I'm not flawed in my reasoning is foolish, because I definitely know that I am!
But that still doesn't mean something like this is that much easier to stomach. My universal statement of "let's wait and see first" is never truly accepted at times like these, it's really hard to slow down the hype machine when it gets rolling! The Sixers are certainly going to improve with this signing, you're foolish if you think it won't I believe it'll place them within the 4th-6th position in the conference. This move also helps to turn the Atlantic Division from the "Titanic" into "Titans" in a mere 2 seasons! (no more leading the division a quarter of the way thru the season with a sub-.500 record!). But that doesn't mean I'm going to enjoy hearing about the revitalized Philly squad every day for the next few months, nor accept the love in that Philly will also receive. I just find that at times articles are written a little too easily about a teams future success after the trade/signing, especially of a chronic injured player...
I've always enjoyed the phrase "Shock the World!" over "Believe the Hype!", and that likely won't change anytime soon. The Sixers just moved from the former to the latter with this acquisition.