Posted May 30, 2015 by Cindy Joy “Cinjo” Olsen
I will humbly credit the unofficial official Bulls blogger Sam Smith with the theme of this blog. But I will also venture to guess that his spin is different than mine, as I’m pretty sure his middle name isn’t Joy.
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s been a bit quiet here at Bulls Banter. Some of us are having a difficult time coping with the loss. And it’s now not only the loss to the Cavs in the playoffs, leading to an early start of summer vacation, it’s also the loss of my favorite coach and yours, Thibs.
I drafted a blog last weekend, and tried to find a way to sound positive. It really wasn’t working out too well. Delete. Although we’ll have to get through some of the negative reality first, we’ll end more on a high note in this blog.
But let’s just say it like it is. Joy has been far from what I’ve been feeling this past month since the Bulls’ downfall.
It’s more like sadness, pain, angst, disappointment and woe. What’s so difficult about this year is the Bulls could have beat those Cavs. The series was there for the taking.
Why, why, oh why couldn’t they pull out a win? They were up 2 games to 1, and that pesky LeBron counters DRose’s game-winner with a game-winner of his own in game 4. It was kind of over then.
And that series, a microcosm of the entire season, seemed to be characterized by lack of joy.
Maybe too much Thibs? Too much stress from DRose going out with an injury yet again at the end of February? The effects of the dysfunction between Thibs and management?
We’ll always wonder, why, when everyone was as close to healthy as possible, did the Bulls seemingly lose their love for the game? We’ll never truly know the answer, and I’m heartbroken, and always will be, about how the season ended, about how management treated Thibs when they let him go, and about not making it to the Finals with our Bulls.
Moving to next season, it’s all about change, and about re-discovering the joy. The Bulls have been the little engine that could for all of those seasons Derrick was out. They exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. This year, they ran out of steam.
And I will contend that Thibs (not unlike the author of Bulls Banter), finds joy in the work.
But that’s not necessarily the case with everyday folks, and even with superstar basketball players.
The players all evacuated Chicago and the Bulls practice facility for the summer just to get away from Thibs and his drills (DRose to Los Angeles area, JB holed up in a house in TX, working out three times/day in some sweaty gym, Joakim on a beach somewhere, or working out with surfer Laird Hamilton).
Let’s face it, Thibs is kind of an exception, not the rule. Most people like a little more fun and a little less structure, film-watching and Mikan drills. And maybe a bit of rest once in a while.
And you cannot entirely blame Thibs for what seemed to be a joyless Bulls season, especially at the end. Sam Smith wrote in his blog, The Thibodeau Story from Start to Finish, “In the playoffs, players often talk about that joy to the game enabling you to get through the difficult times. It seemed mostly a joyless Bulls group this season, less the issues between Thibodeau and his bosses and just that the inexorable and unforgiving nature of it all catching up to them.”
Looking back, there were definitely moments we’ll never forget from this season, and while I haven’t watched any basketball at all whatsoever since the second half of the Bulls’ game six loss to those other guys, when I’m ready, there are plenty of happy memories awaiting me on the DVR.
Here are just a few of my favorite highlights, for which I thank our Bulls.
Defeating the Warriors on their home court. The E’Twaun Moore game-winning shot against the Thunder. Derrick Rose returning – just returning. DRose returning again, and showing flashes of brilliance during the playoffs. His game-winner versus Cleveland in game 3 of the playoffs. Thibs for his fist pump following that shot. Aaron Brooks’ scoring deluges. Pau’s double doubles. Taj for being the bigger man…for putting on his tough Brooklyn game face when he became the sixth man again. Jo for trying the best he could, even though he was only a fraction of himself. (And for RockYourDrop.) Tony Snell’s three-pointers. Kirk for just trying. Thibs for smiling once. Big Naz – for always being ready. For the big win versus the Spurs. Mike Dunleavy for adding consistency and acting as a stabilizing force. For enabling me to attend my first playoff game. Nicola Mirotic for big scoring lifts at just the right times during the regular season. For the rooks, Cameron Bairstow and Doug McDermott, who were real pros. The emergence of Jimmy Butler. The pre-All-Star break win versus the Cavs at the UC, when LeBron’s hands “were too cold,” obviously leading to the loss (he he). My birthday game, with an expected win versus the Knicks, and the crowd + JB and Jo doing the wave. The December seven-game win streak (Knicks, Grizzlies, Raptors, Wizards, Lakers, Pelicans, Pacers). The game 6 playoff blowout of the Bucks. Thibs. Just Thibs.
So we all move on. The Bulls. Thibs. And yours truly. The difference is, I’ve already got Joy. Now, the Bulls and Thibs (wherever he may land) just need to re-discover it.
Championship #7 in 2015-2016!