“I cannot believe it was all over.”
“Just like that, I’m screwed!”
In that kind of fashion, and way too early than I thought it would and I was not there to see it all. I was away from the buzz of the metropolis. I went to a place with no television screens and computers. All I had, was my phone and went browsing using the mobile internet out of insistence that I cannot miss this game no matter where I am. For after all, the season was on the line. A win would send this series to a 7th game, a loss would send my team home for the early offseason.
I did not saw the shot. As I saw each time I reload the NBA Game Time App just to see the score change every time. When it all mattered, 0.9 seconds was all it took from watching my team play a Game 7 today to right now with compelling thoughts on what just happened to my team.
In 0.9 seconds, it was all over. The 2013-14 Houston Rockets season is nothing but history. I did not see what happened afterwards at the Moda Center on the TV screen. I did not saw the euphoric Portland crowd erupt with joy happiness as their Trail Blazers moved on to the second round of the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2000. 14 years of heartbreak for them finally ended. I did not saw the words their hero said to one of our guys after the game. I did not saw the whole team get down on their knees in sadness amidst the celebrations. Just like that, I’m a screwed fan.
I saw two scenes on social media, after the game. I kept the lines open even with the loss. Amidst the sadness I was experiencing as a fan.
On one side, people celebrating the Blazers win in that kind of fashion and saying the name of the hero who propelled the team into the second round. People who were glad and ecstatic to see the Rockets season come to an end all for different reasons. Like seeing a guy on the team fall short on the playoffs after his controversial move or the thought they do not like the team in the first place. Some would go out and post/tag me on my wall about what happened like my team got owned/upset, videos of other Rockets fan reactions on the loss and pictures of the game.
I would not bother myself watching these things. But, I’ll keep it on my wall. Because someday it has it’s purpose. There is a good reason for me to keep it.
Then on the other side, were those who supported the team. The Red Nation! The people who were passionate about the team. Some of them, which I met in the last playoffs that have been fans of the team longer than I am. It was a mutual feeling throughout. Everyone was shocked and saddened with those 0.9 seconds that ended the season for the team we all love and die to root for. None of us thought our season will be ending early. Unfortunately, the basketball gods gave us the heartbreaking truth of not having to witness our team play forward for the season. But without them, I would be all alone in the healing process from this heartbreak. Something I have experienced for most of my years as a fan of the team.
We are all entitled to our own opinions and which teams to root for. You can root for a team that has a documented history and lore. You can root for a team because your favorite player is playing for it. You can root for a team for a lot of other reasons. We have our teams to root for with every season or for the long-term. Sometimes, that passion can lead us to crossing the line on those we trample with whenever our team wins against another team.
It just so happened in my case, I chose a team that did not have a large following in this country. Even with the player changes, the following was growing slowly but still smaller than other followings. I can count my fingers on my friends here who are as passionate to the team as I am. It was a weird feeling when I watched the team play in October last year for the pre-season. The crowd at hand was jeering one guy of the team, while they’re cheering the other guy who was his teammate. I had a thought, how many of these people in attendance were die-hard fans like me? I’m sure most of them came just to be a part of history. To be witness to the first NBA-sanctioned game in the Philippines. I’m sure most of them want another team playing. A team that has a huge following in this country. I can’t blame them for it for we know that this country is more passionate about this sport than any other place on the planet (take Lithuania with us also).
Now, if someone asks me “Are you gonna watch the rest of the Playoffs?”. Well, I will do my own best to keep updated with what’s happening. One thing is for sure though. I would not root for any other team still playing in this playoffs. I could care less, if one team gets the three-peat, or another team getting back on top of the mountain after a bitter loss last season, or another team driven by not just a city but an entire state to their first professional title, or a team whom we least expect to win it all shock the world and pull off a magical run. It’s going to be tough for me to watch a game from here on out until the season comes to an end with the NBA Finals next month.
Just like that, the “our” season is over. The most compelling season I have witnessed in my 12 years as a member of Red Nation is nothing but over. The team admitted on their page that they fell short of the fan base expectations. What most of us who believed, thought would be the rise of the team would turn out to be the collapse of biblical proportions. No one saw we’d go down in Round 1 of the playoffs. Yet we did in a fashion no one saw coming.
Even with all the heartbreak and sorrow, I’m still proud of what I stand for. I will always believe in the team that I have passionately rooted for more than half of my life so far. There will be journeys ahead with this team. Time will eventually heal all the wounds and heartbreaks I am having right now. I have learned a lot of things with every year that passed. I went through good times and experienced plenty of heartbreaks along the way.
It will be a long and cold wait until the next season begins. But, I always believe that one day, this team will raise the championship and I along with everyone in Red Nation will be witness to it.
Regardless, of what the people around me say. And the fact I’m 13,744 km (8,540 mi) away from Houston. My blood is RED, and I’m a member of Red Nation for Life from the Philippines!
Thank You for another season Houston Rockets!