After the ugly orange t-shirts have been cleaned up off the streets, and Lupica's dotted the i's on his last sappy article about how this little team from this big city just couldn't hang with the big, bad Celtics, we're left to think about the future of the Knicks and what could have gone differently during this season. Another year without a playoff win, even if there's a little bit more hope. This one hurt for the fans, as we watched the Knicks come a Jared Jeffries play and Ray Allen 3 from winning two games in Boston and then witnessed a Celtic domination at the Garden. The players must be close to doing their best mid-season Miami Heat impressions in the locker room, right? Get the tissues ready:
"We showed y'all...we figured it out" a smiling Melo said in the locker room after this Boston Big 3's first ever sweep, and beatdown of the Knicks "The sky's the limit".
What a brave face he's putting up. How about the hobbling Amare? He must be really broken up and pissed off that he had no help around him and Melo and had to make a go of it with a bad back. What did he have to say?:
"The 'Knicks are back' statement is definitely true'".
Ok. So these aren't the Lakers crying on the bench when their run came to an end, or Kobe and Michael calling their team-mates out as gay losers for letting them down, but should us fans expect these millionaire players to get as worked up as we are over losses? Not at all. These guys I'm sure followed up these statements with a quick shower, got their jewelry that is worth as much as your parents' house from a guy from their block that they pay your annual salary to hold onto, got in their cars you can't pronounce correctly (or can they most likely), went to 10ak and helped get Roger Mason Jr. laid yet again ("seriously, baby, I play for the Knicks"). They had a bad couple weeks at work, but nothing that will affect their job security (at least not those two guys). At the end of the day, they're still living the dream: getting paid unbelievable amounts of dough to do what they love. Why should they be mad? Some guys might pretend like they're really pissed off after losing for the media, but as anyone who saw Melo's appearances on SNL can tell you, acting is not his strong suit.
For hard-core fans like us here at PTU, or anyone else who lives and dies with their team, the initial reaction to laughing and care-free attitudes like Carmelo shows on the court is anger. The body language looks lazy and disinterested. How dare they laugh it up while my entire weekend is ruined! We invest a lot of time and money into these teams, and when they lose or don't put up an effort, we feel cheated. But athletes aren't obligated to be as broken up as us fans are over losses. They lose all the time, and frankly, have much better lives than we do outside of their profession. Being a fan means you already are having an irrational reaction to what another man is doing just because he has your city (or doesn't) across his chest. It's just like in "A Bronx Tale", when Sonny told Cologero that Mickey Mantle doesn't care about you or pay your rent so why should you care about him? I'm not going to stop being a Yankee fan like C did (or start dating a black chick and run errands for the Mob) but the basic premise that "these guys don't care about you, why should you care about them?" is true. While there are exceptions, such as Kobe or Paul O'Neill and other less demonstrative players, the average superstar athlete doesn't spend the next week wondering about what could have gone differently. They've got awesome lives to lead.
To reference another crappier less gangster movie, in the Farrelly Brother's "Fever Pitch", there's a scene where Jimmy Fallon's super fanatical douche-bag Red Sox fan character is at a restaurant after the Yankees have gone up 3-0 on the Sox in 2004 and sees Johnny Damon and a couple other players laughing and having dinner at a near by table. His first reaction is anger, but then he realizes these guys are just doing their job, and they're still going to go on and live their lives. They don't really care in the larger sense how badly they played or if they lost. If they got as broken up as we did over losses they'd never get out of bed in the morning. The point I'm trying to make (and one that Mr.D and the rest of us have discussed) is that part of being a fan is to get unreasonably upset or happy about teams and people who really have nothing to do with our lives other than providing entertainment; it might seem like some athletes don't care as much as we do (and maybe they don't) but they really don't have to.