We turn our gaze towards the heavens, with hopes not just to know what lies amongst the stars, but to join them.
John F. Kennedy proposed putting a man on the moon during an impassioned speech to Congress on May 25, 1961. Little more than eight years later, Apollo 11 landed on the moon, fulfilling that promise to achieve what was inconceivable less than a decade before.
On May 22, 2006, the Los Angeles Clippers exited from the second round of the playoffs. A fanbase unfamiliar with success yet inconsolable after their franchise’s first taste of seemingly sustainable postseason ambrosia. As the franchise embarks on its eighth season removed from that fateful Game 5, there is a legitimate air that this team could fulfill the promise implied so many moons ago; the idea that the Clippers can win a championship.
Gone are the murmurs dreaming of a picturesque title run. They are replaced by outright proclamations and expectations of success.
No dramatic double-take. No quibbling over “it’s the Clippers.” Not even an arched eyebrow. Of course, there are questions surrounding the team and whether it can win the final game of their season. But questions surround all contenders in October. These uncertainties surround a roster, its coaching staff, not the occupants in Playa Vista.
Why do we choose to root for the Clippers? What does it say about a person who undertakes the task of supporting a perennial underdog? Some would say it’s better not to cheer at all than to embrace losing. We chose to root for the Clippers not because it is easy, but because it is hard.
The level for enjoyment today no longer relies on the individual game. A decade ago all a Clipper fan would desire is the single “W” for the evening. We could live in a moment of winning bliss and wrap ourselves in dreams of potential. The future would shield us from the many frigid nights of loss and frustration.
That future has arrived, introduced by Blake Griffin, consummated with Chris Paul, now actualized with Doc Rivers. It’s no longer potential we seek; nor dreams of a parade down Figueroa to which we doze. There is no more dreaming. The expectation is to compete for a title. The goal is to win a championship.
And the heavens we thought just beyond our reach pull closer with each passing game.
Enjoy the season.