“And if there’s one thing that Mavericks-Heat is teaching us in common with what the Rangers taught us in 2010 and are still reminding us this season, it’s that it’s never easy to win, especially at the highest level, and truth be told, in looking back at things, even if not in the instant moment, I’m pretty sure we really wouldn’t want it any other way.”
That’s what I’m reduced to right now, plagiarizing myself from a couple days ago.
I’ve now watched most of the postgame pressers for a third time, thinking about what I wanted to write tonight, in this baseball newsletter about a basketball game and basketball team, and I’ve got nothing.
I remember thinking during Rangers-Yankees, Game 6, at some point after Nelson Cruz sent a missile into the night, that it might never again be like this. Texas was about to go to the World Series, and I wondered, regardless of how things went against the Giants or Phillies, whether it could ever be the same, could ever feel as great, the second time or third or sixth, assuming it wasn’t going to be a onetime shot. There was no clarity after San Francisco piled on in the middle of the field in Arlington.
I have a bit of an idea now.
It will be different. And it will be great.
At the end of the NBA TV postgame show, the host signed off by telling us to stay tuned, because they’d be coming back with full press conferences “from the winners and the Miami Heat.”
The winners, and the Miami Heat.
I’m not sure why I expected any different description from the national media, for whom this basketball season was one big LeBron & Dwyane reality TV show, with a bunch of one-off characters showing up along the way, the last of which happened to be The Winners, somehow getting tagged as the supporting actors as the league’s captive network closed out its final studio show of the season.
But it doesn’t bother me too much, because I know the Mavericks are cool with it, a team that’s not about shoe deals or sports drinks or The Decision, but about winning as a team and competing for what they earned tonight, not for Madison Avenue cred and whatever else they can pile up along the way.
I know a little bit more tonight about what it’s going to feel like the next time the Texas Rangers are playing for a title. I thought seven months ago that I couldn’t be any hungrier for it. I was wrong.
I love how difficult it is to get a ring, and how indispensable toughness and accountability and resourcefulness and the concept of “team” are to earning that moment when a national network refers to you, simply, as The Winners.