Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tune in, for your sake

The two best shows on TV right now are Parks and Recreation and Tough Enough. The only people who disagree with me are people who haven't watched them. I could describe exactly what makes me tune in to those two shows, but my opinion has no value. I'm just a simpleton who is lame enough to blog in my spare time.
The 2011 NBA Playoffs have been downright riveting. But you'll listen to me even less than had I spouted off on the entertainment brilliance of Parks and TE, for two reasons: 1) you already watch the NBA, and/or 2) the NBA just doesn't have the mainstream appeal of someone like Amy Poehler.
That being said, here are the top 5 moments of these playoffs.
5. The Atlanta Deadbeats winning 6 playoff games.
This doesn't actually count as an awesome event. It's just another way for me to point out that I'm better than Blake at this.

4. Zach Randolph's "blue collar player, blue collar town" speech.
As a sports fan, I want professional athletes to play with the same amount of passion that they did when they were kids. For years, Z-Bo has played a role in killing NBA franchises because he didn't care about anyone else but himself. This year, Z-Bo played the biggest role in killing an NBA franchise...the Spurs. The best power forward in league history had no answer for an incredible array of low-post moves and circus shots that only became more ridiculous as each one swished through San Antonio's hearts and dreams. But the best part was after Game 6, when Z-Bo understood that he wasn't playing for himself. He had been trying to spell "team" with an "i" for his whole career. He finally got it.
3. Pau Gasol's feeble crawl into a corner, leading to his eventual trade to the Golden State Warriors.
Let's say you have a close-knit group of friends. Now suppose that some event occurred involving said group of friends, and there was one person to blame for it. Things could go one of two ways here. The wrongdoer can accept the blame, apologize, and move forward, creating an even more close-knit group of friends. Or, the wrongdoer can shut himself out, refuse to take advice, give his friends the silent treatment, and all that nonsense. The average person is in Group 2 because it's extremely difficult to put pride aside for the good of the group. Nobody blames the Group 2 dude because that's just how most people operate, but the rare person is in Group 1.
Pau Gasol is one of the most talented bigs in the game today. He's like the guy in the group of friends that consistently makes everyone laugh and always contributes to a good time. But that guy usually isn't the person you turn to when times are tough, because he's likely to be more style than substance. Pau's performance in the 2011 Playoffs showed that he was an average human being, regardless of how talented he really is.
2b. Chris Paul coming back to life.
This has been written about far too much, but it's still a huge moment so it has to get listed.

2a. J.J. Barea doing the exact same thing in the very next round.
What this little dude did to the Lakers made Paul's performance far less impressive. Maybe the Lakers played really really bad defense, or maybe J.J. Barea deserves a max contract. You decide.
1. Brandon Roy's 23-point fourth quarter against Dallas.
I really wish Portland beat Dallas. Moreso because I called it, but also because there would be more stories about Brandon Roy. Simmons glossed over this, but I'll push it a little further with a job analogy.

You're really good at what you do. And not just good for your area or region, but you're good enough that everybody in your profession knows you have the goods. You're a bonafide superstar. Then, through no fault of your own, your ability to perform your job is taken away from you. But you can't exactly start a whole new career; this is what you know. You're not going to turn away from what you've been doing your entire life just because the whole world doubts you.
But it gets worse. Your boss comes into your office one day and says, "It's not really working out. We have young recruits coming in from other firms, as well as recent graduates, who show some true promise. I'm gonna let them take the lead on every project, but be ready to assist them whenever they need you."
It turns out, however, that your young replacements are faltering, in front of the world who has almost forgotten you. They're losing important documents. They're screening important phone calls. They're just not ready to do your job. So you have to step in, but not because your boss wants you to, but because your boss has no other choice.
And you DELIVER.
You don't just finish the job. You absolutely own the job, miraculously. The only drawback is just that; it was a miracle. The next day, the boss sides with conventional wisdom because you still don't have the ability to perform on a consistent basis. "It's in the company's best interests to develop the young guns for the future," he says.
Sadly, you know he's right. Your time is up, no different than how it was before your for-the-ages performance. But you'll always have that day. And we'll always remember that.

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