Well, it’s official.
(My mistake. Allow me to redo that lead.)
HOLY SHIT! IT’S
ARE GOING TO THE
Ah. Much better.
Yes, that’s correct: the 2004-05 Chicago Bulls are heading to the playoffs.
The Bulls clinched a playoff spot tonight, beating the Raptors 110-97 in front of the home crowd. They’ve been in the top eight for the past three months or so, and as they’ve played excellent basketball since the 0-9/4-15 start, it’s been clear that they were going to end up in the postseason. Still, until you can open the paper and see…
…it’s really not a playoff season. Now it is.
Oh how I love that little “x.” We took it for granted during the dynasty years, partially because we were always in the playoffs, and partially because it was often not an “x” but rather a “z,” signifying a team that has clinched home-court, and since we got that “z” somewhere around the All-Star break, it just wasn’t a big deal. But to see it now…
GODDAMN-is-this-exciting! Man, what a truly great feeling. This is it! A huge step forward in a season that has been one itself. The Bulls’s last playoff game was “Jordan’s Last Shot,” and then six long, agonizing years, and now this. Just thinking about these Bulls taking the floor in Game 1 of their first round series against whoever…man, I’m smiling uncontrollably just thinking about it.
With the large availability of the internet, a displaced fan is never without information on his favorite teams. I’ve been able to follow the Bulls lo these past two months without much trouble. But being away from home does affect the sports fan in one very crucial area: the excitement wave.
OH MY FREAKIN’
BULLS ARE GOING
TO THE PLAYOFFS!
When your team is in the midst of an exciting season, the momentum builds with the fans just as much as with the players. This is particulary true in a season in which the team exceeds expectations. When Northwestern was building towards a Rose Bowl berth during the fall of 1995, Evanston (and Chicago) was abuzz. The team’s popularlity grew, and by the end of the season there was purple in every store front and restaurant on the North Shore. There’s an incredible feeling of community and connection during these times, as the people of a city or town are all being taken along for the same joy ride. Our lives, emotions, and schedules are all being affected by the same sports team, and thus we are more intimately connected to each other than we are otherwise.
Alas, this feeling is all but lost when you’re thousands of miles away. Along with not being able to watch the team on a regular basis, not being able to take part in milestones like the one that was reached tonight, the hardest part of being on the road is missing that wave of excitement and watching the fan momentum meter move up and up and up.