As tonight's game against the Wizards approaches, I find myself having one of those fan moments we could all live without- that moment when you doubt whether your team can beat one of the worst teams in the league, and you question whether you'll be able to watch the game.
You may have noticed that I've been pretty absent over the last few weeks. Part of that is due to my 'real' job (I rescue animals, for those that don't know) and part of that is due to my inability to watch my favorite team crumble before my eyes. Call me weak, call me a quitter, call me what you will. But I don't have the kind of constitution that say, a Cubs fan might have. I start to wimp out and turn off games before they're over when my team is playing as poorly as this one is.
Don't get me wrong- I know this isn't the end. The season still has plenty of time left, and the Mavericks have plenty of fights left to win. We are missing several important pieces to the lineup. And I'm well aware of the insignificance of the regular season, particularly this truncated one. That doesn't make it any easier to watch these boys lose.
And it's not that the games are down to the wire and the better team is clearly the victor. No, the Mavericks are falling apart at the seams against teams who haven't beaten them in years. That's why I'm not really looking forward to tonight's game against the Wizards, or Thursday's game against the heartbreaking Bobcats. We view them as must-win, not because the schedule demands it, but because if Dallas can't beat the two worst teams in the league, then we're in serious trouble.
It becomes not about whether this team is skilled enough to win, but rather it becomes about whether they have the heart. If we were a team made up of rookies and scrubs, maybe this would be easier to stomach. But if the defending champs, whose rise to the apex of professional basketball came despite being counted as inferior to every team we faced in the playoffs, can't find the will to defeat some of the worst teams basketball has seen, then we have a problem.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not standing at a precipice, contemplating my final moments. I know how quickly a season can turn around, especially for a team with as much talent and experience as the Mavericks have. I'm just trying to explain to you why it's so very difficult to watch my team struggle so mightily with such disappointing results. I still love them more than anything, I just needed a little break from being let down.
Surely you can relate on some level.