Over the past five years, I have become an increasingly less happy person. I have always been a naive person, and that finally got me burnt enough times by people who took advantage of it that something terrible happened: I became cynical. I became paranoid. I stopped trusting people. I gave up hope in anything good coming my way. This goes well beyond the realm of sports, but sports did play a role. While sports may be a small piece of the puzzle in my life, it has always had a big place in my heart because I fell in love with the Indiana Pacers during Reggie's last 3 shots (excluding 2004) at an NBA title in 1998, 1999, and 2000. I was deeply infatuated with him and that team.
Watching the Pacers since that time, and most definitely after November of 2004, my devotion to the Pacers has served as a negative mirror on my life in general. Nothing worked out, happiness was an illusion, and if you wanted to be "right" about something, you had to assume the worst. This, to say the least, was not good. Especially not for my mental health. When the biggest thing you use to escape the ****ty parts of reality turns dark too, things can get very ugly. And they did. Enough so that I can't and won't get into it here, but needless to say I've had brighter days.
After this year, I can't take it anymore. I've become supersaturated in negativity, cynicism, hatred, and hostility. I can not deal with that. I'm left with two choices.
The first option is to abandon it all. Leave the keys to Pacers Digest to one of the other administrators, stop watching the Pacers on TV, stop going to the games, stop buying the video games and DVDs, and just move on. The urge to do that has increased steadily the past several months. It's gotten so bad that I've come close to already doing this a number of times, but ultimately kept myself from giving in.
The second option is to say: "**** this. I'm sick of this ****, and I'm not going to ****ing deal with it anymore!" My way of doing that? Trying my hardest at being a permanent sunshiner. And, in a Buddhist sort of way, teach myself to not want what I can't have. I need to re-teach myself to find the good in anything, to be satisfied by what I have instead of being unsatified by what I don't have. There used to be a column in the Indianapolis Star, I want to say be Bill Benner (if that's how you spell his name), where he would write a debate between an optimist and a pessimist. The pessimist seemed to be the counter-point to everything the optimist had to say. I think my goal is going to be being the counter-point to everything negative there is to be said or thought. I believe this will bring me a degree of peace and happiness that I have not had in years. I need this. Not just for my sake as a sports fan, but for my very hear and soul. Whether that soul be literal or figurative, it doesn't matter. I need peace, and I'm going to get it. I'm dedicating myself to this. It starts with sports, and it's going to extend to the rest of my life, because there is no other choice. I have to change my ways, and this is where it begins.
I may need some help along the way. I'm being more personal here than I care to be, but this is so important to me that I've gone ahead and shared it anyway. I hope that my friends, and my fellow sunshiners, can help guide me on this path. I gained nothing and lost everything being cynical and negative, and it damn near killed me. Today is to be the start of a new era in my life, and with some support I think I can do it. Some of you may laugh at this, or you might roll your eyes. But that's okay. This isn't about you. It's about me. I need this. I'm doing this. "It's up to..." me.
*takes a breath*
Well. Where to start?
How about this:
The Indiana Pacers will be OK. I can't put a timetable on it (don't want the terrorists to wait us out ), but I have faith that we will rise again someday. Larry Bird was my childhood Bball idol, so I'll trust in him while he is here, and he will succeed or he will eventually leave and we will get to try again. So it's just a matter of patience, and enjoying the good along the way.
For now, at the very least I will enjoy:
Seeing if Dunleavy, Daniels, Diogu, Granger, Williams, and maybe even Harrison can continue to improve as basketball players. If that heppens, the good days will return faster than you might think. That's the fun side to a non-contention season: Seeing what you've got with the young guys. Watching for growth and improvement. If you're not careful, you might miss it looking at all that's wrong, instead of what's right.
I have faith that the next coach will let them play to see what we have. If not, we'll probably be a playoff team anyway. The playoffs are certainly fun to watch, so either way there's something to be thankful for.
Regardless of what happens on the floor, I'll have friends to share the experience with, whom I love talking with. Either at the games in person, or here on the Digest. Those people are much more consistent than the Pacers could ever be.
I may be ready to see Jamaal Tinsley and Jermaine O'Neal move on, but if they don't at least I can see how they perform under a new coach.
The sooner we move on from this off-season, the sooner we can get back to having new and exciting things to talk about. It may not be so great right now, but eventually it will be and the clock doesn't stop ticking.
That's all I have right now, but I'm going to try hard to practice what I'm preaching right now. I can't solve all of my problems, but I can at least view everything I see in a brighter light than I would have yesterday. And that's a big step in the right direction.
I really hesitated to post this. But it's my nature to do it.