Trying to Enjoy the Ride

Brian DiMenna

I made the comment a little while back, I think it might have been on the Twitter or some other mechanism for expressing short bursts of one’s opinion, but I’ve been trying really hard to not turn every second of this Knicks season into a referendum on whether they can win it all or not.New York Knicks, Amar'e Stoudemire

As that goes, I’ve been waffling back and forth most of the year between a sort of runaway optimism and hopeless pessimism. Only a few games ago, with Amar’e Stoudemire’s return going so well, and the Knicks running teams out of the gym, I allowed myself the thought that maybe this team was really good enough, only to watch a few rather sloppy performances knock me back down to, “Wait, are we any good at all?”

And that’s mostly leaving Wednesday’s Toronto debacle aside, a game I chalk up more to just one of those nights, considering the almost laughable way the Knicks struggled to make shots. I mean, sometimes it really is just not your day, or as I call them: Weekdays.

But it’s more about trying to enjoy this season on its own terms. There’s no doubt this has been the most entertaining Knicks season in eons, along with the most successful. And I’m enjoying it, just not as much as I feel like I should. And the problem is that every so often you watch LeBron James score however many points he’s scoring, on whatever ludicrously high percentage of shots it took him and you just can’t help thinking, “I mean, can we really beat those guys? Is there any chance at all of that happening?”

It has the effect of making this whole thing feel kind of pointless, a long, boring road to nowhere, like my life or a Terrence Malick movie.

And part of that is a function of the NBA, where the playoffs are all but set about halfway through the season and everyone is simply jockeying for position, but it also feels connected to the fact that the Knicks have emerged from a decade of total irrelevancy to something, yes, so much better, but something almost equally destined for disappointment.

Because, you know, can we really beat those guys?

But I’m fighting this impulse as best I can, because at the end of the day, this IS so much better. There IS a nightly satisfaction of watching Carmelo Anthony play basketball that is undeniable. People can debate his relative merits all they want, but the aesthetic quality of Melo at the top of his game is something rare and it’s that for which we’re really fans in the first place. It’s not solely, or even mostly, to watch a random team we’ve chosen win a championship — since that’s a thing that really almost never happens — it’s to watch great athletes. The Knicks may not ultimately be good enough to hoist a championship, but it doesn’t need to take away from the experience of watching Tyson Chandler control a game on the defensive end, or throw one down off a perfect lob.

So yeah, you know, when the Titanic ultimately went down it was a real bummer, but that didn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy any of the meals, or get out on that dance floor and cut a little rug, “Look, the band is still playing! Awesome!” Yes, a deadly iceberg loomed to ultimately send everyone on board to a watery death, but that’s no reason to not still enjoy the gorgeous views, “My that’s a beautiful berg … are we a little too close to it though? Is that just me? Oh no bother, another glass of champagne for everyone! We’re still alive!”

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