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Enjoying the Journey

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Mike D'Antoni has talked a lot lately about the importance of having a little fun on the job. In a recent ESPN article, Marc Stein quotes D'Antoni as saying that the Suns need to "enjoy the journey" this season:

"It can't be, 'This is all a disaster if we don't win the championship,' " D'Antoni said. "You don't enjoy the journey that way and I think we didn't enjoy the journey enough last year. We didn't enjoy January enough when we won 17 [games] in a row. We've got to get back to that gunslinging kind of mentality: 'If we win, we win. If we lose, we lose.' But we don't want to have this big burden on our heads at all times and I think it starts with me. I'll take care of it. Steve will take care of it."

For some reason, this struck a chord with me, perhaps because I am about to embark on a journey of my own. The annual TexSUN vacation starts in a few days, and I can't wait. Without a doubt I have traveling on the brain right now. But D'Antoni's statements also got me thinking about why I watch basketball in the first place. Is it just about wanting to see my team win it all? Or is it also about the joy of watching the most fun team in the NBA put it all on the floor night in, night out?

I suspect I have a different view on this than a lot of fans do. I didn't grow up watching this team (or any other for that matter), so I lack the perspective of someone who has "suffered" through thick and thin with this franchise for 39 ringless years. For those people, I imagine hearing D'Antoni say the season won't be a disaster if the Suns don't finally win one doesn't sit too well. But as for me, I rather like what the coach had to say because it mirrors all the reasons I watch this team instead of one closer to home. If I only cared about winning rings, I would make it easier on myself and just watch the Spurs every other year in June. They are based in the same state as me, and seem to have a knack for making ring-winning look easy--or at least for getting darn lucky in odd-numbered years. But I happen to like a little fun with my basketball, and "enjoying the journey" is an absolute requirement for me. Winning a ring would certainly be sweet, but I tend to think of it more as the icing on an already very delicious cake. I need my team to be one I'm proud of, whether that ultimately leads to the joy of winning it all or the bitter emptiness of coming up short. The 2007-08 Suns may or may not prove to be the best team in basketball when it comes time to hand out the rings. But regardless of how the journey ends, it's safe to say the road to get there will be filled with twists and turns with plenty of good times along the way.

Putting a Wrap on Camp

  • Both AZCentral and East Valley Tribune came out with rave reviews of D.J. Strawberry's performance during camp. It's still way too early for any "I told you so"s from yours truly, but it certainly seems to be looking good so far. He's getting most of his praise for his defense, and I would imagine a good portion of that defense is coming against maybe the most difficult-to-defend point guard in the NBA.
  • Not a hint of anything other than good news about Shawn Marion all week. If this keeps up, I may have to consume a sizable portion of crow for my premature prediction that the situation was broken beyond repair. (Yet another reason why I love this team. They may be the best team in the league at rising above adversity--even the self-inflicted kind).
  • If you haven't checked in on the official Suns.com blogs lately, you may not know that Alando Tucker has joined the fray. His latest post talks about his recent hazing experience at the hands of Steve Nash and other Suns vets. He also talks about how it felt putting on the jersey for his first "competitive game" with the Suns, and how much he appreciated the "enthusiasm" of the fans who were there. Bright Side of the Sun founder Dan Hilton also has a blog entry about training camp. He talks about his experience getting to run the shot clock during the scrimmage. How nerve-racking--and fun--that must have been.
Let's enjoy the journey, folks. It sounds like we have one mighty fun season coming up.

Poll

Why do you watch the Suns?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Because they're my home team
    (6 votes)
  • 50%
    Because they're the most entertaining team
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    Because I think they're the most-likely team to win a championship
    (0 votes)
12 votes total Vote Now