I’d expect there to be more joy and optimism even among my blog people, who aren’t the casual fans glancing at the standings and saying “Hey, the Hawks are ballin!” but instead wring their hands over all the things they see wrong with their squad. Love ya for that, and I understand this is a place for you to dog your no-good family among family while bitterly defending them against outsiders (that’s not just my family, is it?). But your team is in the East mix so please try to have some fun.
Now, I don't know exactly who he is referring to, but it's safe to say that all in the Hawks Blogging Nation have focused on the endgame/destination versus the ride getting there at quite a few points in the season.
So let me say that Michael, to that end, I assure you that, as the one who is documenting a horrible decade in Hawks basketball and was on-site witness to most of those disasters, it is definitely a joy to be debating, analyzing, and recapping the ins and outs of a playoff bound team.
Even as I was on The Bill Shanks Show today, it was important to note that we are talking about a team who is in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, have been assured a playoff spot since the first week of the season, and only recently lamented the exclusion of a THIRD Hawk on the Eastern Conference All-Star team.
Still, as we also mentioned on Shanks' show, married with our excitement of the relevance and success of our favored team, there is the understanding of where this team can go and the associated frustration with the shortcomings that threaten to prevent the team from achieving that destination.
This is where we find the blogs, fans, and even national pundits---we've clarified where the Hawks are and how they got here, now what's the next step and what's keeping them from getting there. Players aren't satisfied with stopping at a certain level of success---unless that stop includes a championship ring on your finger. And it's no different for the people that watch and support the team as well.
Utah Jazz fans should do somersaults about the run they have had with Jerry Sloan since the 80's---but should that prevent them, the beats that cover them, or the Jazz themselves for wanting, working towards, and discussing what can get them to the ultimate prize?
We have context, but that won't stop us from looking beyond that spot for the next one. We celebrate the achievements of this team, even on a night to night basis--but we also understand there is more there and what a shame it would be if they never got to the ultimate place that their talent says they can go.
So the fans are going to come out to the games and yelp when Josh Smith does something amazing, when Joe Johnson applies his late game killer sauce to his opponent, while wanting the team to continue to improve and calling them out when they repeat the same mistakes.
Hoopinion will continue to document Josh Smith's inability to make jump shots as he is celebrating the reduction of those same shots that have resulted in Smith's rise to greatness this season.
Hawkstr8talk will tinker with lineups, trying to get the most out of the Hawks for (48) minutes as his goal is always the championship.
Peachtree Hoops will bounce off the walls in both excitement and frustration from minute to minutes with his team.
CoCo will continue to dish out the hard love, and be there for a hug as well.
Soaring Down South will continue to analyze and communicate his view of this Hawks team and, like the rest of us, try to understand how they can get to the next level---while enjoying this one on the way.
After all, this is probably a (50) win Hawks team who is going to enjoy first round home court advantage in the playoffs for the second straight year. They have crossed off a number of "sinces" from the beginning of the season forward in their path to this success.
In contrast, (10) years ago Isaiah Rider was giving a farewell press conference in the bowels of Philips Arena with a fishing cap on his head.
Times are most definitely better.