I was left speechless tonight on the east coast just after midnight. And I am still up at three in the morning. So I will write down my thoughts and share them with my fellow suffering kindred souls. I would like to write about the experience of being an invested Mavericks fan, as far better writers will be blogging about the actual action in the game.
I will assume most everyone who will read this has been an ardent supporter of the Mavs for a long time. I am hopeful that you will sympathize with me, and I would love to here your thoughts and your own experience.
When that one handed, off balance fade away Kevin Durant prayer bounced up how many of you expected it to fall away harmlessly? I would wager most of us deep down knew it was going in. That's just what happens to the Mavs. But another part of all of us felt the magic of last year lingering, tantalizingly close. When I saw Dirk's tongue wagging after yet another clutch lay up I thought here we go, maybe they really did flip that switch...
Then it all fell apart, and I was reminded of what Mavs fandom was like before the 2011 playoffs. The injury to Dirk in the 2003 conference finals. Steve Nash and Michael Finley leaving the team to play for the enemy. Coming even closer in 2006 only to have it snatched away by Dwyane Wade's march to the free throw line. 67 wins followed up with the former hall of fame coach crushing our spirits in a historic upset. These are only the highlights, or lowlights, of our anguish.
However, all that suffering is only one aspect of being a Mavs fan. The other is hope. I have been a diehard fan for as long as I have been aware of the existence of the NBA. Thanks to a quirky, tall, floppy haired, tough and gifted player by the name of Dirk most of us have held onto that hope through all the ups and downs of the past decade. No one truly believed that he could end his career without a ring, but the fear that events would always conspire to prevent it were present. And for good reason.
But as you all know, our faith was rewarded with the most brilliant playoff run I've ever personally seen by a player and his team. And it's because of last years triumph that this loss hurt more than most. I kept thinking, if they can get this one, if they can pull this off... maybe... just maybe they have one more magical run in them... and I still hope they do. But I know how to live with it if they don't. It's all part of the wonderful, character building experience of being a fan of the Dallas Mavericks.