Optimism is a powerful thing. It's the lifeblood of effort. You work because you believe that it matters. On the court, that means you work hard because you think it will have a positive result for your team or, in some cases, your future paydays. At the office, you work hard because you think you will be rewarded, or your company will be rewarded, or because you believe in your organization's mission, whatever it may be, and believe your work is important to meeting those goals.
This doesn't always work out, does it? Isaiah Thomas works hard as heck. His team is awful, and he remains one of the lowest-paid players in the NBA. Keith Smart works hard. There's little pay-off on the court, and he's looking at a demotion in the near future. Many folks work hard for non-profits that end up going under. Some folks work hard for government agencies that have bad managers and end up in scandal with the mission obscured and unachieved. Many people in the private sector work their tail off to build their career and their companies' bottom lines only to be felled by something out of their control.
Not all effort is rewarded. So the optimism that is built into that effort is, therefore, not always rewarded. But the optimism is still important, because nothing is built in the absence of effort. Nothing is ever done without someone at some point being optimistic. And in some cases, optimism can be its own reward. There's a feeling of pride in a job well done, no matter the outcome. Isaiah Thomas can take pride and honor in the fact that he's doing everything he can.
So can we. If the Kings are moved to Seattle next month, we can take pride in the fact that we (individually and as a group) did everything we could to prevent the loss. That can be its own reward, even if reality doesn't turn out in our favor.
If we didn't feel we had a chance, we wouldn't keep on working. We wouldn't push everyone to get out to Here We Buy 2. (March 24, one week ago, get your tickets!) We wouldn't raise money for kids to attend the game. If KJ and city management didn't feel we had a chance, they wouldn't be working around the clock to get a term sheet done. If Burkle and Mastrov didn't feel we had a chance, they wouldn't be investing time and money on the project. Optimism is embedded in everything going on.
But the opposite of optimism -- pessimism -- is natural, and it doesn't have to be the enemy of effort. In fact, a healthy dose of pessimism is needed to reinforce the reasons for optimism. "Prove the haters wrong" isn't just a cliche: it's a helluva motivator. And pessimists aren't necessarily "haters." They just come to different conclusions than do optimists at specific points.
Man, weren't we ALL pessimists in 2011 when KJ went to New York? We tried to believe, and we worked our tails off. But I sure thought we saw the death throes of the Sacramento Kings in that season-ending loss. I had optimism leading up to that week -- I saw the facts in our favor -- but that optimism shared equal space with pessimism in my mind. I started to plan what we at SB Nation would do to cover the Anaheim Royals. I think some of you will remember we posted plans for StR's survival if the team had left. KJ talked about Plan B, Plan C and Plan D.
Frankly, without all that pessimism -- pessimism that lived within each of us -- the awesome result wouldn't have felt so great. Without doubt, victory would have felt like a foregone conclusion, not an amazing reversal of fortune. The same applies today. Doubt now will make victory that much more sweet.
Here at Sactown Royalty, everyone is entitled to express the emotions they feel within our existing rules. Personally, I feel that all the emotions we are feeling are valid. I don't want to rehash yesterday's thread, and I'm not on board with questioning anyone's commitment. Everyone makes decisions on what they can do. Everyone comes to conclusions along their own path. We can talk about why, ask questions and discuss these things. But attacking someone because of what they feel is not OK. That's not what we're about.
Let's do this. Let's save the Kings.