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Well, you can go ahead and file my “Why I Believe” post directly into the “instantly funny, shockingly sad” category of worthless internet posts. (It’s a rather large file, I must admit.) It held validity for 1 quarter of basketball, and then the Spurs methodically pick-and-rolled my belief to death.

So what are Grizzlies fans to do? According to my twitter timeline and text messages, the most loyal of fans are ranging from sadness to anger to finger pointing. There’s fans mourning like someone died last night (#grizzpression). There’s anger at Hollins for his lineup juggling and unwavering faith in Keyon Dooling. There’s fans mad at other fans for jumping off the bandwagon. And then there’s the worst – people out there saying this team still needs Rudy Gay. Ugh.

It’s like the 5 stages of grief going on right now. Everyone was in denial after game 2. Most fans are teetering between anger or depression this fine Sunday morning. Acceptance will come shortly after the series is over. Even the most bitter of Grizzlies fans are smart enough to know that this ride was infinitely more fun than the final outcome.

“Where am I”, you ask? (And if you didn’t ask, again, why are you reading?)

I’m one of the rare fans at stage 3 – bargaining. If we can just win Game 5, right? I know that no team has come back from 3-0, and I know there’s no point investing in that far-fetched scenario. So what’s the difference if the Grizz lose in 4, or 5? That’s the thinking right? Even if we win game 4, and that’s a big IF, then we’ll go down in flames in 5. So why does it matter?

Game 5 matters for a whole host of reasons; and if you threw your “Believe” towel in the trash last night in disgust, well, get it out, dust it off, and get ready to wave it again Monday night. (If you threw it down in disgust on Beale, I would not suggest you go dust that one off. You’ll need to get a new one._)

This team is a point of civic pride and one that’s not easily dismissed. If the Spurs are going to beat us, it better well be on their court. I don’t want it happening in the Grindhouse. I don’t want it happening in a sweep. I don’t want it happening with somber looks and feel-sorry-for-ourselves shrugs. If this team is “all heart” and this city truly is what we say we are; “blue collar with a chip on our shoulder,” then things like fighting against the odds matters.

I’ve seen Grizzlies teams give up in Game 4s at home in ‘04 (vs. Spurs), ‘05 (Suns) and ‘06 (Mavs). I was in the building for all three. Plain and simple, those teams quit. They unraveled and imploded. It’s the reason those teams never engrained themselves into the fabric of this city. They were everything this team is not. This team doesn’t quit. Memphis fans need to save the sad faces and swallow the bitter pill that was the last two games.  We don’t quit either. It’s time to “Believe” one more time, even if no one else does. All heart. Grit. Grind.

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One Response to 5 Stages of Sports Grief

  1. nantashNo Gravatar says:

    I’m with you…game 4 does matter!
    Our Griz have had a terrific run. They have brought so much to this city and their fans. Who ever thought we’d be in the Conference Finals!!! A great achievement!

    We don’t want a sweep. I don’t mind losing as much to such a talented and seasoned team. Thank goodness we were able to knock out those Clippers and Thunder!

    Go Griz..I’ll never jump off the bandwagon…too much fun to be had in years to come.

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