My Relationship With Teams I Support …..Ought They To Be As Impactful As Your Relationship With Your Spouse or Partner ? ……………….
On Valentine’s Day the girlfriend bought me a young puppy , a male by the way. Which I decided to name ‘Buster’. Now one of my patrons who regularly chimes in with a comment on some of my blog pieces jokingly suggested that was one the first signs of the relationship getting a great deal more serious. Because first comes that gift of final approval and that ultimate sign of affection and then comes the ring ? Well , considering that our relationship has now ran over the course of seven years and the fact that I distinctly set the tone under which it would work (divorced-once). I think that marriage and kids will be definitely out of the question ! Anyhow, as I live vicariously through my nieces ad nephews as a surrogate parent , albeit that they’re on the other ‘side of the pond’ in the UK. My girlfriend who happens to be of Asian-American ethnicity and is also several years younger than I. She was ‘more the pursuer’ and I was the pursuee’. That being said, we both know the parameters of the relationship and what to expect out it , by means of those parameter set. With that in mind let’s discuss the type of relationship , we as a fan have with our sport’s teams -i.e the ones that we support ?
Now as many of you may already be aware , I’m an ex-pat Brit now residing in Central Florida for the past seventeen years. I was a former member of British armed forces , having served in the Royal Marines for 6 1/2 years. From there I went to work in city of London in the ‘Square Mile’ otherwise known as the financial center of London. I worked primarily in the areas of international banking , investment banking and also an economic analyst. My education was actually paid for by one of my former employers , as this was a way of retaining staff at that time. I graduated with degrees in Economics , International Finance and then pursued an M.B.A ,which I attained from one of London’s more prestigious educational establishments with a design on a business oriented concept of education. That education alongside my stint in the military has served me well and has given me a greater appreciation of life in general.
On to the teams I support and watch when I can , I’ll watch and support them voraciously ! In the NBA ,it is the San Antonio Spurs. For whom, I’m a great admirer of both the team’s coach Gregg Popovich and their almost certain to be ‘Hall of Fame’ bound center and ‘big man’ , Tim Duncan. What these two individuals have achieved within the NBA speaks volumes, as to the respect they both command from their peers and fans alike. And with it has come the well deserved respect and reverence only given to the truly ‘greats of the game’.
As a fan of the Spurs , it’s not always about following in line and not being critical of the team or the organization, as and when necessary. Because it would be none-sense not be openly critical if they were not playing up to par or if there were indeed doing something that’s not of benefit to the organization. Team owner Peter Holt and the team’s General Manager R. C. Burford have kept this vessel afloat, without there being ever a hint of controversy surrounding the team or organization over the years. And that’s not something that can be said about a number of the franchise within the NBA. The Spurs may well be one of ‘the model franchises’ of the NBA and perhaps one of the best ran within the entire NBA ?
This season, the ‘team’ has been quietly finding their rhythm and with the acquisition of Richard Jefferson and the play of ‘rookie’ DeJuan Blair and from off the bench George Hill . There seems to be a resiliency about the team that we’ve not seen in quite a while. But it’d be remiss not to mention also the duo that makes up perhaps one of the best ‘one-two-three punch’ in the entire league , in that of Manu Ginobli and Tony Parker . The two ably assist Duncan in making the Spurs one of the more formidable teams within the Western Conference . They at present sit just a game behind the Dallas Mavericks (33-21) within the Southwest Division, for the lead in the divisional standings.
And quite interestingly enough a fellow blogger was trying to make the case, where he now views the Dallas Mavericks as the ‘second best team’ within the Western Conference, merely because of the addition of Caron Butler to the team , in the recent trade by the Mavericks of the former Wizards’ player. That position currently belongs to the Northwest Division leading Denver Nuggets (36-18) . The team with the best record within the conference belongs to the ‘reigning NBA champions’, the Los Angeles Lakers (42-14). Regrettably,the individual who was trying to make this assertion, either knows nothing about the game of basketball or he has a chemical dependency problem that he’s trying to overcome ? I sometimes wonder what it is that a person observes for them to come up with such asinine notions or claims ?
With ‘Spring Training’ now upon us and with pitchers and some positional players already reporting for duty. It’s a sign that Major League Baseball (MLB) is set to start. And with both the ‘Grapefruit’ and ‘Cactus’ Leagues getting in motion. Baseball’s many fans will congregate within the states of Arizona and Florida to watch their teams throughout the Spring Training season and also gauge their team’s progress. And with things being so uncertain because of the current economic climate , it will be interesting to see what sort crowds are in attendance once the games get underway. That may well give us enough of an indication as to how much of an economic swoon there might be within the game when it comes to overall attendance , once the regular season begins.
These are dire times for the four major professional sports in North America. And the inherent problems that’s now being faced within the NBA , NFL and NHL is now being mirrored within baseball. Albeit, that Commissioner Bud Selig , the game’s hierarchy and some the owners would have you believe different. As to what that would indicate about Bud Selig and his perception of the game and its financial health is enough of an indication to tell you that for him reality is only something of a sense of perception to begin with. If the glass was half-empty, he’d be telling you that he’ll be able to go and find water in the middle of some arid land or in the midst of a dust-bowl. But then again , who thought that Bud Selig was ever intelligent to begin with ?
Because of work and the mere fact that for much of the time, my schedule is tied to what my colleagues are doing on behalf the firm’s clients. I won’t be able to attend as many games as I’d like to, in seeing the Florida Marlins play, during Spring Training. So granted, whilst in the office with any time on my hands that there might be possible. I’ll try to stream the games via my laptop or even listen to them on the radio. Chances are, it’ll be a little bit both . Productivity is the key as they say , when you’re at work.
With the Marlins playing at the Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, during this session. It will be very interesting to see how they acquit themselves during Spring Training and whether or not this will be enough of an indication as to how they will fare in the NL East against the likes of the Atlanta Braves , New York Mets and reigning the divisional champions and pennant holder, the Philadelphia Phillies .
Cautious as I am about the Marlins, I believe that the team is certainly heading in the right direction under their manager, Fredi Gonzalez. And with team ownership headed by billionaire owner and renowned art lover, Jeffrey Loria . The front office , GM Larry Beinfest and all of the vested parties all seem to be heading in unison, as to where they envisage the team needs to be. And it has helped the players and the fans are now beginning to buy into that very fact. Before there was far too much distrust between the ownership and the fans.
And on the political front, it certainly didn’t help that Loria and his front office were often at times somewhat ambivalent, in dealing with the city of Miami , Miami-Dade County and the state, when it came to stadium issue for the baseball team. Communications between the club and the respective government officials were on par with that of the peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israeli’s . It had begun to become an embarrassment for all of the parties concerned. Calmer head did however prevail in the end. But at the expense of the sheer idiocy of Jeffrey Loria and his associates. It is envisioned that a purpose built stadium for the organization will be ready for the team to commence playing in 2012. That will be the very first time that the team will have a venue to call their very own and to derive of the revenues from its existence to facilitate its own operation. That has never been the case, from the team’s inception , even when it was under the ownership of its very first owner, H. D. Wayne Huizenga . One wonders how it is that he was allowed to get away with such a maneuver by the game’s hierarchy ?
On the field of play, the team is led by All Star short-stop , Hanley Ramirez and he’s ably assisted by Dan Uggla , Cameron Maybin , Cody Ross , Jorge Cantu , Wes Helms , Gaby Sanchez and a pitching roster that is steadily growing in confidence. That primarily has been the Achilles’ heel for the team , the inconsistency of their pitching. And most certainly that hasn’t been lost on Fredi Gonzalez and his coaching staff . A good start to Spring Training and a great deal consistency will augur well for the team in the upcoming season. As they seek to challenge the Mets , Phillies and Braves for the supremacy within the AL East .
‘Spygate’ is over and done with but somehow fans simply just won’t let it go. My God, are people of the belief that the New England Patriots were the ‘only team’ doing this in the NFL ? Never mind the fact that the practice still goes on to this very day. It’s only that the NFL’s competition committee under the guidance of Commissioner Roger Goodell arbitrarily seeks out whom they want to punish, where , when and how . And the thinking was that the punishment meted out to Bill Belichick and the Patriots was deemed appropriate and enough of a deterrent ? Oh please , kids have been punished for doing far worse and more severely than the inane edict and fine handed down to the Patriots.
Now as a fan of the team , I felt that Belichick should’ve have been suspended for a year and a fine of not less than $2 million should’ve been levied against the organization !. Some may think that far too steep ? But I was always told ……. “if you want people to think about their actions, then hit ’em in their pockets where the most pain can be felt”. Perhaps then, everyone would’ve sat up and taken note ?
This past season the Patriots posted a regular season record of 10-6 and rode into the playoffs as AFC East divisional champions for a record seventh time. And the feeling was that the team could contend for the Superbowl this season and perhaps win it. But those thoughts were lost on me ! As I felt that ‘the team’ had been far too inconsistent throughout much of the regular season. Having posted a somewhat shoddy 10-6 record even by the Pats’ own lofty standards was to my mind something of a sense of foreboding. The team and its record reflected a unit that had under-achieved and were somewhat lucky to get by. Belichick and his coaching staff became too complacent and nonchalant , as the season wore on. And it would become their own undoing in the post-season.
And in the divisional round of the playoffs the inevitable happened as the Patriots would succumb to the Baltimore Ravens (35-14) . That ‘ungodly ass whupping’ was so severe , that even now, many of the Pats’ players probably still feel the pain to this day and the ignominy of defeat. And for myself , I didn’t relish watching one minute of that entire massacre. The team performed so badly on their home turf at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts , that in large part the home fans began to boo their players and cheer on the Ravens. One can’t but wonder how Ravens’ coach John Harbaugh must’ve felt on the day ? Suffice to say, it had to have been far much better than that of Bill Belichick and the entire Patriots’ organization and the fans. This works with the old adage ‘…nothing ventured nothing gained’. If the team and the organization haven’t learned anything from this loss. Then the next time around , things could get a whole lot starker for the them altogether.
This off-season a number of changes will have to made to the roster structurally. There’s a need for a player who can actually run the ball consistently and for a high average. Rather than just eking out little ‘hinky-dink runs’ of no more than two or three yards at a time. We know that Tom Brady can pass the ball with efficiency and the aerial attack of this team is as potent as they come. Given the fact that Brady has Randy Moss and Wes Welker to assist him in that pursuit. But beyond that the team’s running attack is anemic at best. And something definitely has to be done concerning the lack of willingness to negate the opposing team’s run offense. Far too often throughout much of the regular season and the divisional round playoff game itself , the team was exposed, warts and all. As to what this might suggest by Belichick and team’s lack of preparedness on the day , goes along way in indicating to me that the team and the coaching staff were not only complacent but also conceited ! And when that happens , you tend to have your ass handed to you on a silver platter. As the Patriots found out to their cost.
Now these have been just my thought on my teams and the avowed support that I have for them each. It’s not just about supporting a team but also being able to level criticism upon them when it is all too necessary. Many fans are too subservient and would rather take the easy way out and simply put up with the mediocrity of their teams. Think I’m wrong in my assessment ? Just look at the idiocy that now goes on within the Pirates’ organization , Clippers’ organization and that of their long suffering fans ? Most of them simply put up with the ‘sh_t’, rather than being vocal in calling out their respective organizations.
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Alan Parkins aka tophatal ………
Birdman ‘Number One Stunna’ feat’g Lil’ Wayne, Turk & Juvenile.
The rather ‘delectable’ Brittany Dailey ‘video vixen’ extraordinaire ! Say what you will but they don’t come any better than this ‘fine young’ “Nubian Princess” ! Click on any of the gallery photos to peruse ‘Brit-Brit’ more closely. You’ve got my permission to do so !