Admit it, we’re an irrationally entitled fan base in Dallas-Fort Worth.
The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls, so obviously every season should be measured as championship-or-bust, right? Same with the Stars, who won a Stanley Cup in ’99. And the Mavs, who have the Metroplex’s most recent title, won only three summers ago in 2011.
By our lofty standards, the Cowboys haven’t had a successful season since 1995. The Stars, despite making the playoffs this Spring, haven’t enjoyed success this millennium. And even though the Mavs pushed the Spurs — the NBA’s best team — to a Game 7 in the first round, their season can’t possibly be considered anything but a failure.
Wrong, wrong and wrong.
Like our world, sports isn’t merely black and white. There are shades of gray and subtle colors and varying hues that make life worth living and sports worth watching. If you only judged life in black and white, ponder your existence: Unless you’re the No. 1 boss at your company? Failure. Unless you park the most expensive car in the biggest garage on your block? You’re losing. Your wife better be on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Mr. All-or-Nothing. And food? Unless every meal is a five-star, six-course masterpiece, it wouldn’t be worthy of eating.
The Mavs won 49 games, made the playoffs and pushed the Spurs to a Game 7. I know the Dirk Nowitzki-bar is set high, but that, my friends, is a successful season. Because no one, including Mark Cuban himself, believed the Mavs would win a championship this season.
I’m not saying plan a parade, but 2014 was a major improvement over 2013 and the Mavs’ needle is pointed up. Even with Nowitzki turning 36 this summer. It was a success, even if the star spokesman disagrees.
“Ultimately, the year we won in 2011, that’s the standard now,” Nowitzki told reporters after the Game 7 blowout loss Sunday in San Antonio. “We obviously have high expectations. The fan base does, the organization does. We want to get back up there. However we need to do it, whatever needs to be done, Mark and Donnie are going to probably do it. We’ll see what happens.”
The Mavs missed the playoffs last season and wasting a year growing embarrassing beards just trying to get to .500. Now that was a failure.
This year wasn’t a championship run, but it was positive steps back toward the top of the mountain.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.