Japan Lover

My 2011 Sporty Tao: Milan and Lakers

Posted on: 9 May 2011

So, yesterday my Sporty Fan Year for 2011 officially ended.

If you know or follow me, either here on through my twitter you know I am a fan (and a devoted practicer) of many sports: I love tennis, swimming, horseback riding, volleyball.

I regularly practice them all and add yoga, pilates, general fitness to the list; but when it comes to my way to be a sporty fan, you know I have only 2 teams: MilanAC for football, and Los Angeles Lakers for basketball.

And once again, my two passions couldn’t go hand in hand in celebratory mood at the end of this season, as it has happened a lot lately (for a certainly consistent amount of years, in fact).

Good Job, Good Fellas. GOOD JOB.

So, as you MUST know, Milan won his 18th Scudetto on Saturday (we were in Florence and we found even there Milanists celebrating… super cool!!!), and yesterday we celebrated back in Milan with friends (even NOT Milan supporters, aren’t we kind or what?), waiting for the REAL celebration on incoming Saturday in San Siro (I can’t friggin wait!) happy and chanting and all dressed in Red&Black (they are my two favorite colors anyway 😉 so that’s pretty easy for me to pick up stylish stuff in my closet ;)) first in downtown Milano and then at Karim’s pad – he still lukewarm about this whole “soccer”thing, but he loves to party along at least ;).

I still believe the team is far from amazingly assembled; and Champions League‘s struggles totally proved my point (and you all know Milanists only care about Champions… so a Scudetto is great, but not nearly as great. FACT).

But I loved the way we played with the good attitude in this Serie A and no matter how we weren’t flawless we managed to be sufficiently consistent when the falling off of our opponents opened a wide door for us to pass through and reach a valuable goal.

The struggles are important; my Japanese-shaped working ethic implies that only from battling the greatest things eventually come.

Milan Campione. After 7th years. Hell yeah!

I salute you Milan: you did extremely well with the little you’ve got: now please try to get what we need for getting another Champions because we’re so far away from Manchester United and Barcelona‘s amazing level that it will take a revolution for us to be competetive again where it ONLY does matter.

My award of the year for Milan goes to Allegri.

I don’t have a player to honor… because they were not that great honestly, but he did a great job in not making the cracks show too often or too long to taunt Milan’s legacy in Serie A this year and trust… that requested skills.

Managing a team that shows clearly flaws requests so many good qualities even to begin detailing them is hard.

It requests psychological understanding, charisma, strength, motivational impulses; you have to be patient, you have to get foresight, you have to be cool and clear in your vision and you often have to hide in an unreachable part the most logical essence of you, without letting it disappear, to keep pushing people who are not what you would like them to be, but who are those you need to shape and ameliorate to reach a target which is skipping out of your grab like a ball bouncing, if you don’t set the record straight at multiple times in a season, in multiple ways.

This makes a good link to pass the torch to the Dark Side of my Sporty Tao for 2011.

While Milan is the light part, with a dark core, Lakers sadly have been the Dark side, with what I think still is a luminous inmost part.

I am so blunt and angry we gave up THIS HORRIBLE WAY to Cuban… But I could never give up on my Lakers pride.

Which is acknowledged by the Lakers themselves.

Even more angry that this probably means LeBronze will finally get a ring.

If they pass Celtics (and odds are 60% to me now… even though I still consider Celtics a way better team than Heat, where I only consider Dwade a superior player), sadly the NBA has them as frontrunners: I don’t see Mavs surviving any of the East teams to be honest and OKC seem still so very young and naive (but I’d love to be proved wrong).

But really, it’s months that I don’t feel this had to be (or could be) our year.

In all this, know one fact: PHIL JACKSON IS THE GREATEST COACH / MANAGER EVER.

I am desperate we will lose him.

His way to be what he is is what I think basketball strategy and play should be; I’m a Triangle devoted and I love the Sun-Tzu‘s quality of this game approach and no other coach will ever give that back to me, once Phil’s gone.

Forever in my heart. The one and only, Phil Jackson.

What makes me sad in the way Lakers lost this year, is the fact we waved Phil goodbye with a never-happened-before humiliatingly received SWEPT.

That is awful.

I was speechless yesterday whenever cameras would show Phil’s face on Dallas’ homecourt.

You could see his dignity shining, and I couldn’t believe the history of sport had to have THAT slap as final gift to one of the greatest people EVER in the whole of world’s sport legacies.

He didn’t deserve it and we shouldn’t have allowed it.

But truth is we couldn’t stop it.

For the year that has gone, I never ever felt we were having that clutch quality to us anymore; it hurts me because if you have followed me these years, you know how much I have always had that sureness about our games, even in times when everybody but Kobe and Derek probably would have given up on us (last year’s 7th game for instance) I JUST KNEW.

But this year that inexplicable faith wasn’t there.

I never felt we could move mountains.

I never felt Kobe was there to save us, this year.

Phil Jackson. HERO.

And it hurt. It hurts.

I worship Kobe, and I have this trust in him which is unparalleled and still so it was a shock for me to realize I wasn’t believing he could always have saved us in this season.

But we will get back on top, and so will Kobe, and it will happen just thank of this huge demise (because this is what happened this year… a bounderless demise).

I was scared at the start of the year, when we seemed unstoppable, to realize we hadn’t apparent faults (see above post dedicated to Milan); because no team is perfect, and it has not to be, especially from the start.

You gotta perfect your game, and ask things to yourself to get constantly better and focused in a season; and to start up so easily didn’t put any of us in the right state of mind.

And you don’t get a right state of mind easily, especially as a two time defender champion, if nothing rings a bell in time…

We had to wake up and see incredible losses and blackouts: but unlike previous years, out from mistakes we weren’t growing; we seemed to recycle mistakes in new combination, and never get past them by evolving through them.

My shining sporty hero in pain

I don’t think it was a chemistry issue: in fact I still think we were a BETTER built team than past years; it was I believe a trust issue, but not in the way it sounds when I say it.

I’ll try to explain, because it makes me feel less pain inside to analyze things.

I still a scientist,  you know.

What stopped us this year, was a mental rely that we had in our skills; we past so many battles the past three years, that the players faced an hard time in not feeling able to revolve things anyway, at a certain point.

It’s more than complacency, and it’s not only complacency.

It’s a mental way of the body and the mind to save energies by getting through known and experienced paths that have already worked.

Somehow this year we missed the chance of discovering a new way to be great, and by the time that further quality we should have chased and developed  had tp be there to make us win, we simply… hadn’t “IT”.

And you cannot invent it at the moment.

I don’t claim this lack of craft as a conscious process, otherwise I’d BLAME my players hard; I think it’s a fine psychological balance the one of the achieving athlete, to try to squeeze the best out of himself, and resetting every time the past, although everyone claims they’re able to, is actually the most unbearable of things to be done.

Pau was a ghost in these playoffs but he will step up back.

Every time.

Then there is the real physical struggle: to reach for the FOURTH year straight a final series is something hugely demanding.

There is no comparable efforts in team sports: and simply, this year it couldn’t be done.

It couldn’t.

The way some of our players played these playoffs have been jaw-dropping delusional and disappointing.

Pau and Lamar have been shells of their former and possible selves; Andrew didn’t come up with a strong mind (unless last year) and Ron, Derek, and yes also Kobe just couldn’t be fully themselves.

Being these all players who have been there and done that already, I am sure they COULD see how nothing was actually right.

But what can you do if not trying to make things right nonetheless?

The way we fell apart also in style in Game 4 against Dallas (classless and unforgivable way to end a game to me, but I see from where it came from, just like Derek said) is a clear sign of this all.

Not cool, Lamar. Not cool.

It is the way sports work: we need to reset.

We didn’t reset this year, and if you don’t do that you won’t live another season of glory, because you will be struck in a past one that was gone and couldn’t re-happen.

Many things are on the horizon: I think the team will change, and it will be tough for me to see some people (beside Phil) go away.

I am deeply thankful to all of my Lakers for the emotions they have gifted me with; even today that I am in pain and I mourn over a loss to Cuban’s team.

I respect the Mavs, but I despise violently their hating owner.

I can’t help but love my guys instead: even today…

That was awful, Drew. NO NO NO.

You’ve gifted me two years of Los Angeles celebration, and I would have loved a different one this year that I am marrying; but as my Labyrinthitis kicked out me from my usual way to follow you live every night, I felt this couldn’t be another glory Summer and I can’t blame you for your imperfect effort, when I first I couldn’t do my best as a fan.

Next year, my dears: next year we will be back on top, and I will also be back in my nightly owling support, after all the therapies will complete their runs.

We need struggles to evolve and we needed this to wake up from past dream, so that we could feel what we want to achieve as NEXT dream.

I am not feeling destroyed.

I only feel pumped to chase something huger and better next time; I long to see what we will be shaped like.

I know Kobe now REALLY will have to rethink himself as a player again to have HIS LAST ROUND OF RINGS (yeah, you read correctly: he will get TWO more before he says stop:mark my words) and he will achieve that without Phil.

I am still tall and proud in my Laker faith today; just today that everything seems a ruin.

I will miss this pair together. FOREVER. Thank you.

It’s not.

We will surface back again from our ashes, like a purple and gold burning phoenix.

Don’t doubt, and chin up, Laker Nation.

This is just a Summer a bit longer to rest and collect back forces.

Our next Parade just got delayed a tiny bit.

And just because of that, we will celebrate better and louder when it will come.

I hope my fellow fans are not too down; I hope we will not do anything unclassy and stay confident and cool.

We have the HONOR to be following a wonderful team whose glory shines through the years and so will again and always.

So let’s not be whiny and just let’s put things in the right and real perspective.

We cannot always win, but we will be up in line to win again just immediately, I have NO DOUBTS AT ALL there.

FOREVER A LAKER.

FOREVER A MILANIST.

Good day everyone ;), I still your very happy Miss Z. 😉

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5'9'', Size 2 madhead in love with life, crushing over Japan, Music, and Kobe Bean Bryant.

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