Thursday, February 12, 2015

Take a Deep Breath

There is a quote out there that goes "It's never as good or as bad as it seems."  It would be hard to reach that conclusion on your local message board.  In fact you might conclude the opposite is true.  To me, I think the quote is pretty spot on and applicable when it comes to this ISU basketball team.  As we enter the final straight away of Big XII play the words tossed around about this team are concerned, mentally weak, lazy, selfish.  You would think we are talking about a bubble team that is on the verge of pissing their postseason hopes away.  This is where the "not as bad as it seems" part of the quote comes in really handy.

If I asked someone to put together a mock resume for a team with this proclaimed characteristics at this point in the season it wouldn't be favorable.  14 wins?  A 6-6 conference record? Would you consider an injury free team with a potential for a 3 seed to be causing fans much anxiety?  I wouldn't, but it has.  As we sit today Iowa State is solid 17-6 and 7-4 in conference with several big wins on the resume.  So what is the problem?  I really don't know but I'll try to explain.

Message board fans don't (at least I hope) represent the entire fan base but I'm starting to think more and more it is a pretty strong barometer of where most of the fan base sits.  I go to work the day after a game (win or lose) and the negative opinions from the message boards find their way there too.  Negativity truly does breed more negativity.  I used to get a lot more upset about losses than I do now.  In fact, I'd turn all 50 shades of red and usually just go mute for hours afterward.  The close losses still sting, as do the bad losses but somewhere between becoming a teacher and a father I realized that the season is one big process.  It is a long tumultuous season that will have ups and downs.  It is what makes watching sports great.  Big wins wouldn't mean as much without tough losses.  There will be losses and poor performances along the way.  Please, accept that.  It is a process.

There is another saying out there that goes something like "what have you done for me lately."  As we waited for this basketball season to start we were left with the memories of a great season just a year ago.  A Big 12 championship, a Sweet 16 appearance and national writers telling us we were a Final Four team pre-Niang injury.  That is what winning six of their seven will do.  We don't remember the three game losing streak, or the fact that the team would have been riding another three game losing streak heading into postseason play had Phil Forte not missed a late free throw at home.  Last season was fun, it really was, but this season hasn't been all that different.

What I'm trying to say is that almost everything last years team accomplished is still on the table for this years team.  In fact, there are a couple things that this years team could accomplish that last years couldn't.  As we sit here on February 12th this team is only a game behind last years "pace" overall and a little ahead of their conference "pace".  This team still hasn't lost at home and still hasn't lost two games in a row.  When you look at Bracketology this team has already earned credibility as a high seed that last years team didn't earn until their Big 12 tournament run.  More importantly, this years team still has the ability to make a deep run in the tournament.

I ask that you do me a favor as you watch this team the rest of the year.  Enjoy.  For four hours a week in the midst of some of the longest months Cyclone basketball gives us an escape.  Sure, they are frustrating at times to watch, but it makes the moments that "click" that much more enjoyable.  This years team is pretty damn good.  There are still big games ahead.  They will win some, they will lose some.  The fun part is still ahead of us.  This team has the tools to do some things in the postseason ISU hasn't done in quite some time (and maybe ever).  Take a deep, deep breath.  You just might be holding it until April.

1 comment:

  1. The only games I got really worked up about were Kansas and Oklahoma. Kansas because its Kansas and Oklahoma because they played so well in the first half.

    Going into every game I think ISU has a chance to win and that's actually calmed me down for most of the season. That'll change when the tournament comes around.