There is a thread up on the Memphis Grizzlies message board right now about giving a team hero award in a losing effort because it was a moral victory for the team. In the past, team hero threads were always reserved for winning efforts. Great efforts in a losing cause were shunned in the past. To be called a hero, you had to win, not just give a great effort.
I stated that expectations for the team have fallen far when moral victories get hero threads. I was blasted by some for saying that. One poster went so far as to defend the lowered expectations because Marc Gasol has been hurt. He totally missed my point, but it is hard to go into too much detail on a message board, so I will blame my poor writing skills for that. I can go into more detail here, however.
Expectations for effort shouldn’t change because Gasol or anyone else got hurt. Effort has always been expected in Memphis. Grit and Grind was more about effort than any specific coaching strategy. This city fell in love with the Grizzlies because they gave their all every night despite the obvious lack of talent compared to other teams in the league. The old Grizzlies never quit, especially not at home in front of their fans who paid money to see them play. They didn’t win games on talent. They won on effort. They simply refused to lose to teams and outworked their opponents until their will carried them to victory.
Somehow, this season that has changed. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone on why, but clearly that expectation from the fans isn’t there anymore. That change in expectation is what is shocking, not losing more games because the team lost a great player. Everyone can understand the team losing more games. No one should accept giving less effort.
In the past, no one would have started a thread like that. Everyone could count on great effort as a given. There were no moral victories for making the WCF last season. The Grizzlies were swept in the playoffs and things needed to change so that never happens again was what people said then. And the changes did come. Now, the Grizzlies are 0-3 in the regular season against that same team. This was the only game remotely close and only because the team came back from 12 down in the last 90 seconds of regulation.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved seeing the effort and the amazing comeback. I wish they could have closed the deal and ended this horrible record in our division (0-9 as I type this). I hope the fans who left early remember this game and refuse to leave early again. I hope people who have given up on the team already see this as a reason to renew hope and come out to the games again. I hope the posters happy with the changes this season are 100% correct that this is a sign of greater things to come.
If the title of this thread was “The team is finally showing us something” that would have been fine. I just can’t support starting a thread about a ‘Moral Victory Team Hero’ after a loss… and at home to boot. That’s all I’m saying. Last year there was no moral victory in reaching the Conference Finals. This year there isn’t a moral victory about losing on the home court for the 12th time. The attitude shouldn’t be “well, we played hard but lost.” It should be “We lost again and this sucks!”
I don’t want this team to fail. I want them to win. I don’t care if it’s from the new system or old, from the new coach or the old or from the new players or the old. It doesn’t matter to me. Call me Al Davis but “Just Win, Baby!” — and I don’t care how. I don’t want a mediocre team, I want a winner. I want 50+ wins. I want the playoffs. I want a team that understands this is what is expected of them.
No home loss is a moral victory. That is reserved for road games if at all. The Grizzlies SHOULD win at home. They should give their fans a great effort every night. It shouldn’t be a surprise or so rare that we thank them for the effort. They owe the fans a great effort at home because we paid for that.
I agree with the fans who say things are looking up now and are optimistic about the future. I said when Gasol went down that this will force our bench players to grow up faster, and when he returned the team will be that much stronger. I hope everyone wants the team to win every night and are encouraged by what they saw against the Spurs. It isn’t a moral victory. It is the evolution of the team’s young players and new acquisitions. It is the development of team chemistry destroyed by the plethora of roster moves, coaching changes and injuries since the playoffs last year.
If the Grizzlies bring the same effort Friday night against the Suns, they will likely get the win and then there will be a team hero to celebrate in a thread.