Note from Aykis: This post by Mr. Biegler has some strong language. Viewer discretion is advised.
There is a John Cheever short story, the Country Husband. It's anthologized so any number of you may already have read it; It was also a loose inspiration for American Beauty and a Seinfeld episode. The story is about an upper middle class business man in the New York suburbs going through an identity crisis. It's a much shorter Mad Men. The identity crisis is instigated when the protagonist's plane nearly crashes and he returns home to a family indifferent to his mortal plight, collectively caught up in their own petty crises. He, alternatively, struggles to decompress from near death to suburban mode. For the same reasons so many veterans suffer from PTSD and cops and firefighters were, for years, associated with substance abuse. When you experience something traumatic, and you process those experiences through that prism, it can be difficult to adjust that vantage when circumstances shift. This isn't to say that you can't enjoy the good things out of a perpetual fear, or that you become a cynic incapable of any genuine enjoyment, it is to say that when much more minor disturbances manifest you address them in the same way you addressed the previous, legitimate, trauma.
It's a fear that's lingered since the end of the Maloof era. A fear of fear. That we treat every personnel decision or newsbreak, with the same sort of breathless tone and urgency we did when circumstances were, you know, actually urgent. The status quo is boring. I get it. Believe me I get it. I haven't written anything since Ziller left. That was like a year ago. But the status quo is the status quo. Stauskas being selected over Vonleh. Isaiah being replaced by Collison. You may disagree with these basketball decisions, and you're entitled to express those disagreements, but they're basketball decisions. We can't personalize everything. The Maloofs, and Petrie's poor decision making at the end, were, in their own fucked up ways, manna from heaven for us as STR participants. Being right and righteous indignation are the bourbon and cocaine of sports commentating and for entirely too long we had the luxury of both. We were always objectively right. We were objectively right that Petrie was cutting corners. We were objectively right that the Maloofs were trying to job this city and its fanbase for the sake of their own financial salvation. We were objectively right that Chris Hansen was a creep. We were objectively right that STOP was a sham. Those weren't subjective arguments. Those weren't matters of personal opinion. Those were facts. Our current conversations? By and large those are subjective. When discussing something like Josh Smith, well, fuck, it's Josh Smith. If we take ourselves as seriously about that discourse as we did our distaste for Ric Bucher we'd turn into a community of Skip Baylesses.
That, I always thought, is where Sonics fans got themselves into trouble. They lost perspective. They became so caught up in their own miseries, and the collective rallying around that misery, and the self-righteousness that is a consequence of such misery, that they tended to think their misery more unique than anyone else's misery. Misery can be infectious. You start to actively seek it out, look for it to define you because it has heretofore defined you for so long. But after a while the depressed guy at the end of the bar who everyone feels sorry for because his wife left him turns into the depressed guy at the end of the bar who everyone hates because he won't stop talking about his wife leaving him.
Greg made the point in a previous post that it's bullshit to say anything that even rhymes with Maloof when discussing Vivek and D'Alessandro, and he's right. But what concerned me wasn't that anyone saying that actually believed it, it was that you didn't believe it but said it anyway because it's an easy punchline to articulate an otherwise difficult, or subjective, point. Invoking the Maloofs is a sort of get out of jail free card for all of us. After management hired Tyrone Corbin I could have said "Maloofish", rationalized it by arguing they did something not dissimilar when the previous administration brought Keith Smart into the fold, and someone, somewhere out there would have probably humored it.
It's not that I'm entirely against that kind of sermonizing. I may be one of the 5 people who aren't late-90s rappers who actually enjoys watching First Take. It's that I don't come for that discourse here. The uniqueness of Sacramento in general, of our fan base in particular, and of this community specifically, and I've belabored this, is its secret sophistication. Yeah we kept the Kings because of our scrappiness and the grass roots efforts. Yes the underdog narrative is compelling and accurate. But we also kept the Kings because we were smarter than everyone else. Or at least less stupid. Put it this way, none of us were on Las Vegas radio this morning being interviewed about our "Chaser" rip-off. To me that intelligence, that subtlety of thought, that ability to hold two opposing ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function (shout out F Scott Fitzgerald), to do those while still retaining our soccer mom love for anyone and everyone that's put on a Kings jersey (Jim Jackson is my second favorite King of all time, no bullshit)? That is what makes Sacramento so unique. That's what defined our victory last year. But you must have one and the other. If you're nothing but secretly sophisticated your favorite sport is probably baseball and you're boring. If you're nothing but a homer, well there isn't inherently anything wrong with that, it just isn't very informative. And counterintuitive though it seems it is actually in the good times where that level of sophistication, that ability to resist the pleasures but ultimate needlessness of invective and hyperbole, is hardest.
This all sounds a bit lecturey, particularly coming from a guy that spends most of his nights getting drunk with a cat. Actually that's probably precisely why it is lecturey. Just know I love all of you and it is because I love all of you that I'm telling you to take a step back, smoke a metaphoric cigarette, or an actual cigarette, I won't judge, and remind yourselves it's only the summer, it's barely year 2 of the new regime, we have a ways to go, get heated, get argumentative, but remember we all want the same things, this team and town to succeed. And Ric Bucher to go fuck himself.