Bulls Alive But Still Seem Defeated
The season that once had so much promise, with the look of an inevitable rematch in the Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat, is at its boiling point. The Chicago Bulls’ hopes of an NBA championship collapsed with Derrick Rose on the court during Game One of the playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Admittedly, I did not watch Game One. It was in the back of my mind as I made my way down to U.S. Cellular Field to catch a game and enjoy my buddy’s bachelor party. It’s not that I felt Philly would be a push-over exactly, but they were an average team who I didn’t think would cause the Bulls that much trouble. To me, basketball tends to be fourth on my list of favorite sports. I enjoy it, but I can’t distinguish a 3-2 defense from man-to-man. Actually I can, I just choose not to, basically because the sport doesn’t grab me as much as others. I was prepared not to care much until the Heat series, and anything less than an NBA Finals appearance would seem a failure to me.
While sitting at Bacardi at the Park outside of “The Cell”, I received a text from a friend informing me that Derrick Rose had a knee injury. I looked up at one of the countless televisions located in the establishment, only to see the news of Rose’s ACL tear, and how he would miss the remainder of the playoffs.
It summed up what Chicago sports has been lately, and it made me realize how much a Bulls playoff run could have meant. The Hawks were lifeless in the playoffs and failed to capitalize on the fact that the Phoenix Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was willing to give them half of the net on which to score. The White Sox, my preferred Chicago team, were playing solid, yet still seemed to be missing something (possibly a quality manager). The Cubs have had individuals show promise, but are historically a 90-plus-loss team.
The hope for a Chicago championship celebration rested with the Bulls. Since that Game One win, I haven’t had much of a desire to watch the Bulls. I’d flip them on when I was in front of a television, but doing something as small as cleaning out my desk felt like more of a priority over watching a team that was slowly self-destructing.
With the Blackhawks eliminated, it took me over a week to get back into the NHL playoffs. With the Bulls, I wasn’t much into the regular season. Again, it was all about getting to the playoffs and the eventual showdown with the Heat. The arguments and debates were supposed to be settled in less than a month, on the court, rather than continue on bar stools at area Chicago taverns.
So it looks like it will be another year before I get to enjoy the excitement that is Bulls basketball. The regular season doesn’t do it for me. The expectations are much higher. Even if they get past Philly, and maybe squeeze out a second-round win without D-Rose, they’re just another team that will not beat the Heat. Sure, there are matchups I will enjoy. Any of the matchups involving Miami, L.A., Oklahoma City and Boston will all appeal to me, but there won’t be fandom involved. I will enjoy watching the best of the best do what they do, but it’s not as interesting when you have little personal stake in who wins.
It will end up being another season in which the wins piled up, with little meaning other than guaranteeing an inevitable playoff spot. There were many who told me how important the Bulls’ win over the Heat was not long ago. I disagreed. How’s that working out for them now?
This is a guest post by Chris Gasper from MidwayMadness.com. Midway Madness is a site dedicated to Chicago sports. It is written by Chicago sports fans, for Chicago sports fans. Chris Gasper grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He went to and played baseball at Columbia College. Wanna read more from Chris? Click here.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Daniel