Reflecting on the Heat and the journey we all go on

I have no idea how Miami Heat fans feel right now, but I sure have a very clear idea right now about what’s so fun about this whole thing.

Sometimes I get pretty discouraged with sports. I wonder why I’ve been so invested in them my whole life. So much of my identity is based around sports that friends of mine were astonished Thursday night when I was at Jazz in the Park and not watching the Heat-Thunder game. The NBA, specifically the Bucks obviously, and me have become one. But occasionally I kick and scream about that.

I get really down. I wonder why it all matters so much to me. My life is going to keep going on the same way regardless of what happens on the field. It starts to bother me that so much of my identity is wrapped up with a game I can’t control, I only play sparingly at this point and has virtually no appeal with women or people who could help me in any other way.

But then I get to see something happen like the Heat winning the title.

I don’t care how you feel about LeBron and Wade and Bosh. That doesn’t matter at all. If you can’t appreciate people coming together and working so incredibly hard to be the best at something and then achieving after months and years of work together, then I can’t have a dialogue with you. Because I’ll never be able to understand how your thoughts work.

I just have this incredibly weird feeling of joy and relief right now. Not because I was so desperate to see LeBron get a ring or anything like that, but just because I feel like this is the culmination of a journey. And we all get to look back on that journey and reflect on it now. When we’re able to do that, it’s a pretty special feeling.

One of my favorite sports teams of all time was the 2008 Milwaukee Brewers. I was so incredibly invested in that team. I went to a ton of Brewer games. I poured over stats while preparing to argue with my friends about them. We exchanged e-mails. We shared in highs and lows. I bought t-shirts to remember that season specifically (a Ray Durham jersey shirt). One of my favorite games that year was a loss to the Cubs in late July at Miller Park. Tons of my friends, both Cubs fans and Brewer fans were there. We spent a whole game talking trash to each other. The game was back and forth and filled with memorable plays both positive and negative. The Brewers lost, but I’ll always cherish that night as part of the greater journey of that season, even if it was painful then.

When the Bucks made the playoffs in 2009, it was incredibly special to me. Not because they made the playoffs, but because of everything that happened that season. The loss at the buzzer to the Mavericks when Dirk hit a shot over Mbah a Moute. Jennings’ 55-point game. The moment when I could feel things click for the team. All those things I can recall like they happened yesterday. It was a special season for me, as it was my first on press row. But it was special because of everything that happened too.

Those are the things that keep me going. Seeing players work so hard for a season and come together in special moments sprinkled throughout it – that’s what I love. It’s a fantasy we all had to give up many years ago. I like my job, so going to work every day isn’t so hard, but I’m never going to be working towards something the way these athletes are. I’m never going to have the goal of being a group that’s working towards winning a championship be my focus.

We get to go along for the ride. The moments become ours. They frame memories in our lives. It’s a truly terrific experience.

The last two Bucks seasons didn’t have many memorable moments. Maybe that’s because things got depressing pretty quick or because we don’t reflect as fondly on non-playoff teams as we do on playoff teams. Or maybe there just wasn’t as much worth remembering.

But when I think back to the things that are worth it – they are so worth it. They make it all worthwhile when they happen. Sometimes you know it as they happen and sometimes you have to look back on the journey. When I do that, it certainly makes me remember why I’m doing this and what I’m hoping for.

Congratulations to the Miami Heat and here’s to the Bucks putting together a season we’ll all remember next year.

Categories: The Off Season

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in…

11 Comments

  1. Im a little bitter about the Heat winning, I dont hate Lebron James or anything, Miami played a better series were clearly the better team and deserved to win. Yet I find it tough to root for a team like the Heat..This “Big 3″ or “Superfriends” team building structure I feel will be the undoing of the league, contraction will be inevitable and that the small market teams just won’t have a chance to lure in these big name Free Agents. Milwaukee, Cleveland, Utah, Detroit, Memphis, Charlotte, Denver etc
     
    The Thunder likely have built a dynasty provided that they find a way to keep their core and I think if a team from a market as small as OKC can prove that they can win the title, that inspires hope for other small market teams. Not the naive biased fan hope that alot of us have (myself especially) when the season starts and we think “this is the year” Then it doesn’t work out and we’re right back to where we started, waiting to hit a home run in the draft because we cant sign Amare, Bosh, Lebron, Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, etc who all go to New York, LA, Miami, Chicago, or Boston and us small market teams are forced to get excited at the prospect of signing Bobby Simmons or Mike Dunleavy.
     
    I feel for OKC fans in their sorrow on this day and for however long they mourn this loss and I just find it hard to feel bad for fans living in beautiful weather with beaufitul people and most likely don’t even know who Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway or Voshon Lenard are….Just my opinion sorry for the rant.
     
     

    •  @Teddddd Dude, chill.  I’m a Heat fan from S Florida, so maybe I’m biased, but winning it all isn’t easy wherever you are.  This victory was far from assured.  The Thunder played well in every game but this one.  And to dispute your theory that small market teams are at a disadvantage, what about the Spurs?  I’ve never been to San Antonio and have never met a person from there, yet they have a 15 year dynasty.  The Thunder most likely have a dynasty in the making.  Phoenix easily could have won it the year Nash got hip checked and Dallas isn’t exactly a destination spot.  NY meanwhile, has pretty much sucked since Riley left.  It’s about a little luck and the right ownership.  Players come to Miami not only because it is a decent place to live, but also because of Pat Riley and the first class accomodations provided by the owner.  And don’t get all butt hurt about Florida’s beautiful weather and people.  It’s unbearably hot for 4 months a year and we have giant flying cockaroaches and mosqitoes.  I moved to Cali for the perfect weather.  If you’re gonna hate over locale, hate LA, lol.

      •  @AaronWigo  @Teddddd What I think was special about these last two years is that we saw the Heat or any team for that matter, can’t just roll out there and expect everything to happen. Teams fought so hard against the Heat. Every arena was packed and tons of people rooted against them. But they stayed the course and got contributions from all around.
         
        No matter how many stars you have, the NBA requires your whole team’s complete effort. It requires other guys to make plays. Even on teams with stars, it’s truly a team effort and everyone has to be 100% committed to the cause.
         
        It’s a special thing. 

      •  @AaronWigo Phoenix San Antonio and Dallas…the 6th 7th and 9th largest cities in the United States are not “small market” in my opinion

    •  @Teddddd 
       
      As a resident Oklahoman, I can tell you the mood is pretty much “Well, we’re just glad we got there!” around these parts. Yeah, we’re a little down about it, but the local radio is already transitioning to Sooner and OSU Cowboy talk.
       
      Like you, I’m glad this year showed that a true small market (45th in the US) can do big things with solid management and the right mix of guys that are all tuned in, especially in bass ackwards Oklahoma. I’d like to see the Bucks adopt a similar blueprint toward building a contender, though I’m not holding out too much hope right now, considering our regime.

      •  @Marq  @Teddddd so we just have to tank for a couple years and hope that Shabazz Muhammad and Jabari Parker fall into our laps.. sounds like a plan

  2. PattiRafalskiDavison

    I traveled from S. Florida to Milwaukee for the home game of the 2009 Playoffs against Atlanta.  Red “Fear The Deer” towels waving…what a glorious time!  Was it all worth it?  You bet.  That’s why we watch every game and read every report…even during the summer.
     
    Nobody should blame the fans of small market teams for feeling a little conflicted about the Miami Heat.  After all, our noses were rubbed in “it” when they put that team together.  But life moves on and what Jeremy had to say helped me to sort out my thoughts and feelings.  The men on that team really wanted that Championship and they worked really hard to get it.  Success of that team needs to be recognized and celebrated by all of us NBA fans, even if we are not Miami Heat fans.  

  3. First of all Congratulations to Miami and Lebron.. they had to earn it the same as any team.. that being said it does feel a little bit like a bought championship.. While the rest of the league is trying to find creative ways to put a team together the old fashioned way, they essentially won the lottery because of good weather and no sales tax.. There is no way that anyone can say Miami fans are better than Bucks fans, period. Back to the old drawring board

  4. Very well written.
    Effort and chemistry DO count, even on lower-caliber teams like the Bucks.
    The last two years have not had much of either.