A few years ago the Oklahoma City Thunder were taking on the new-look Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.
One of my best friends, Kenny, and I were in high support of Oklahoma City.
In an effort to give what support we could to the Thunder, Kenny and I made a pact. Like one of the Thunder's star players, James Harden, we would grow out our facial hair. We would not shave until the Thunder were crowned NBA Champions.
How hard could this be? A typical NBA Finals lasts about two weeks so all that I had to do was last 14 days. No biggie.
I've never rocked a full out beard before so I was a teeny bit hesitant. The Thunder won Game 1 though so I figured that Kenny and I would be in the clear sooner rather than later.
Game 2 went to Miami, and my face bothered me a little. Then Game 3, another Heat victory, happened and my face never stopped itching. I wanted to bail, but Kenny and I had made a commitment!
By the time Game 4 rolled around I was beginning to get pretty uncomfortable. I looked long and hard in the mirror and didn't even recognize myself behind that scruff. I couldn't take it any longer. Sorry, Kenny.
Before tipoff even happened… I was back to normal. The Thunder never won a game again in those Finals, ultimately losing it all in Game 5. No regrets from me.
There were a few lessons learned throughout this whole debacle.
- Beards aren't for everyone.
- The Thunder let me down in 2012.
- Sometimes, as much as you want to, you have to give up and stop forcing an issue.
I've been one of the staunchest supporters of the 2015 Dallas Cowboys. In the darkest times of this season I've done my best to find the light of hope. Four times this year I've assessed the damage and put together a “plan” to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. (You can read Plans I, II, III, and IV by clicking on their respective roman numerals).
Three days ago the Dallas Cowboys lost to the Green Bay Packers in pathetic fashion. I was on hand at Lambeau Field and saw it all happen in person. After the game my Dad and I sat in our seats and I thought about how/if I could put together a Plan V.
The loss to the Green Bay Packers combined with wins from literally every other team in the division in Week 14 left me no choice but to give the mirror in my Green Bay hotel room a long and hard look.
I said on Twitter that Plan IV was the last conceivable resort. It was our “break the emergency glass and pull the alarm” move.
As painful as it is to admit, I came away from that mirror session with one indisputable thought.
There is no Plan V. This team is done.
Of course there are some mathematical possibilities that would see the Cowboys somehow winning the NFC East and getting a ticket to the 2015 Playoffs Dance. It is simply not happening with these Cowboys.
It would be extremely difficult even for the Cowboys that we envisioned, in the wee beginnings of this season, to pull this off. It is impossible for this current bunch.
The team that I saw with my own eyes in Green Bay is not capable of beating an NFL team. The Packers game was seemingly a microcosm of this season as Dallas was given chance after chance… only to squander them all.
I greatly enjoyed writing Plans I, II, III, and IV. They gave me, and hopefully you, some hope when there wasn't much.
We forced the 2015 Dallas Cowboys issue four times with these plans. It's now time to initiate Plan V… it's time to let go.
Goodbye, 2015. You were weird in every way. I officially let you go.
[signoff author=”rjochoa” source=”fancred”]