The big news with the San Antonio Spurs is the costume party they threw over the weekend as an end-of-the-year celebration.
This gathering likely had far more emotion attached to it than just a simple goodbye party until next season. This is looking like the end of an era in San Antonio, and if Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili do in fact decide to retire, this party may serve as unofficially the last assembly of the Spurs as we have grown to know them.
Some commentators are troubled with this exuberant party in lieu of a berth in the Western Conference Final, however. The logic supposedly being that such a devastating defeat and underachieving performance after a great regular season should have left the team too distraught to even think about celebrating with one another.
This story evokes memories of the media storm that surrounded Rob Gronkowski after he was spotted dancing and having a great time soon after the New England Patriots lost to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl in 2012.
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Fans tend to forget that what these athletes do for a living is their job, and it can be pretty exhausting having to deal with the constant pressure attached to these high-profile positions. Yes they’re getting paid a lot of money, but living under a microscope and being scrutinized on a daily basis for relatively trivial details can get extremely stressful.
Individuals deal with trauma in different ways, sometimes choosing to blow off steam in the form of having fun with friends and teammates.
It doesn’t mean they don’t care about their work. Imagine if you had a long, chaotic week at your job, and on your day off, a camera caught you having a good time with friends. Are you all of a sudden “irresponsible” or “don’t care about improving at your job?” No… you’re a human being who requires some time to unwind.
This is just a team full of hard working professionals having some fun and saying thank you to each other for a fantastic season. There’s also added elements of melancholy to the celebration, as it may prove to be the final time they gather together with Duncan and Ginobili.
This is not a case of the Spurs’ “trivializing” their loss. They’ve proven to be ultimate competitors throughout the years.
Using the logic of those who lambast this party, I suppose any playoff team that doesn’t end up winning the championship deserves to fall into a deep depression that lasts for the entire offseason while they shut themselves in their room and watch mountains of game tape while taking periodic breaks to go to the gym and shoot jumpers for hours on end.
Some players may express frustration in this way, while others will try to have some fun and judiciously spend an offseason trying to improve while still keeping a healthy perspective on things. The Spurs’ professionalism is ridiculous to question, considering their reputation as dignified champions for nearly the past 2 decades.