This is not a good start.
My personal sporting world revolves around three main teams: the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Cowboys and Texas Longhorns, specifically UT football.
Obviously, my universe was recently sent into another orbit with my hometown Spurs’ loss in the NBA Finals to the Miami Heat. In fact, the wound is almost too fresh to unwrap.
It is not just the fact San Antonio lost for the first time ever in the Finals or because it was the franchise’s first Finals appearance in six years. I’m a big fan of LeBron James, so I’m not wrapped up in the hatred for the Heat that has seemingly gripped every state outside of Florida. It wasn’t that.
The main reason why it still stings is because of how the Spurs lost. In Game 6 at Miami, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich were close enough to the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to see their reflections, but James sparked a furious fourth quarter rally, including erasing a five-point lead over the final 28.2 seconds, to crush the Spurs’ spirit and secure a winner-take-all Game 7.
Home court advantage paid off and Miami won its second consecutive title two nights later, sending my soul into a tailspin. Nothing is more frustrating than almost grasping something so precious only to let it slip away.
It’s going to take a while before I fully heal from this emotional low blow, and I hope the process is not delayed by the play of my other two teams.
First, there are the Longhorns, who have developed a horrible habit of allowing their players to underperform. Unfortunately, that is not a good sign for Texas faithful or fans of Copperas Cove product Duke Thomas.
The Longhorns always have talent on the field. They recruit well and possess all the tools to be national championship contenders every year, but they have repeatedly fallen short over the past several seasons.
For what it is worth, my biggest argument with the team is its development of players or lack thereof.
The former Bulldawgs quarterback was tabbed as a “depth chart buster” in the newest edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine. Thomas’ receiving skills are touted, and he is listed second on the depth chart at cornerback.
While everyone in Copperas Cove knows Thomas has the raw ability to make a splash on either side of the ball, the question is will he? The Longhorns are desperately looking for a playmaker to step up and if Thomas gets an opportunity, he could be on his way to becoming a fan favorite by seizing it.
The only concerning thing about Thomas is playing offense and defense leaves him and the coaching staff open to criticism regarding where he is best suited. And in Austin, where football is king, it could quickly explode into a hot topic of conversation.
As a fan and graduate of Texas, I hope everything works out in the Longhorns’ benefit and will be rooting for my team every week, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’m in for another lackluster season and an underwhelming bowl game.
The beauty of the Spurs and Longhorns is I enter every season with hope of great things. Sometimes it is false hope, but it is hope nonetheless.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same regarding the Cowboys.
Dallas has wronged me too many times. I’ve seen too many big leads turn into huge comebacks for the opposing teams. Too many critical drives into the red zone end with field goals or turnovers and there is no such thing as a home field advantage in Dallas.
I firmly believe there is no situation the Cowboys cannot blow.
I’m a severely jaded fan. I don’t allow myself to get sucked into their talk of potential anymore. None of their players will end up on my fantasy football team this year, and I’m going to take the opposition every time it receives points as an underdog.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still wear my Cowboys gear, and I’ll tune in to every game with a tiny, flickering belief things could change today. I just won’t be surprised when they don’t, though.
I look forward to the start of football season more than anything each year. Four times prior, I entered the fall still riding the high of a championship run by the San Antonio Spurs. This year could have been the fifth, and with any luck could have delivered a trifecta of titles from the three teams my sporting world revolves around.
I’d take two out of three if the Longhorns and Cowboys can somehow produce, but even if that happened, I’d still be slightly unsatisfied.
Like San Antonio, I’d come up just shy of my ultimate fantasy – having the Spurs, Longhorns and Cowboys all win championships in the same year.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org