I really lucked into my first car.
I was just a punk sixteen year old, and as such I was definitely not deserving of the beautiful automobile that was handed down to me. In addition to being a punk I was also pretty damn dorky, so when I first leaped behind the wheel of my new ride I couldn’t help but think my social status was changing for the better. This was going to be my lucky break.
I’ll never forget the first few spins. Pushing down on the gas and feeling my head whip back into my headrest for the first time was quite the rush. Before long I was heading down the 101 every night just to drive. For a sixteen-year-old kid, there was no greater freedom.
But not long after I started these journeys, something went astray under the hood. The initial prognosis was that it was going to be an easy fix.
Of course, it wasn’t.
The car ended up out of commission until I could save up a ridiculous of money to get it fixed. I remember being terribly depressed at first, but I jumped to the acceptance stage pretty quickly.
These things happen. Cars break down. Such is life.
When we saw Blake Griffin perform in those initial test drives called preseason games, he was nothing short of stunning. He played at a hundred miles per hour. There were the crazy hustle plays, the out-of-nowhere blocked shots, and of course those breathtaking dunks. He absolutely looked like the real deal. He was going to inject life into a floundering franchise. He was the panacea. He was the Clippers’ lucky break.
But then the freak injury happened. That was followed by the initial blue-sky diagnosis, the eventual delays, and now the definitive word that Griffin won’t see the floor until next season. My reaction when I first heard the news that Griffin would be out for the remainder of the season was not unlike the reaction had eight years ago when I got the news about my car. There’s the pit in the stomach feeling, and then there’s the acceptance that follows.
These things happen. Athletes suffer injuries. Such is life.
I guess I’m just not much for believing in curses. I’m willing to acknowledge that the franchise has had an unlucky go of it, but I’m unwilling to say the future is damned because of some bad ju-ju that hovers around the team. I’m much more comfortable in believing that you make your own fate. The Clippers can either fold and throw away the positive momentum they’ve built, or they can band together and try to make a run. Either way, they collectively have a choice. Their immediate fate rests on that choice, not a curse.
Blake Griffin is an amazing talent, but the fact remains that the Clippers have been flirting with the No. 8 seed without his ever stepping foot on the floor. It’s a painful blow, but the main pieces remain intact. Pardon me for being optimistic at a time like this, but this season doesn’t have to be chalked up as lost quite yet. The music is still playing, so the Clippers should keep dancing.
As for my car, the long wait was excruciating, but eventually it was fixed and came back as good as new.
I can only hope the same happens for Blake Griffin.