In the “Dear Abby” vein . . .
Ryan Arkin (via Twitter): I find myself rooting for the Mavs this postseason, mostly due to Peja and Tyson, but part of me just doesn’t feel right cheering for a division foe. What should I do? I fear that the confidence that comes with winning a title will make the Mavericks tougher to beat when we play them in the immediate future. Help me @Hornets247!
42: Ryan, let me preface this by saying that I hate Dallas. As a result, you may want to petition your Hornets247 comrades for answers.
The Short: Screw the Mavericks, but do what you want.
The Long: You bring up a few points in this: part vs. whole, identity, sources of power, and choice / free will. I will have fun and address each.
Part vs. Whole
I understand the love for the former / forever New Orleans Hornets, Tyson and Peja. I really do.
I, however, draw a huge distinction between a team and its members. I see the guys in the uniform, but teams, to me, have an essence beyond that of the aggregation of those of the constituent members.
There is an ancient discussion,Â the start of which is attributed to Plutarch,Â along these lines that parallels this situation. It is known as The Ship of Theseus. Theseus was a Greek hero that was a mythological predecessor of Heracles, known to Romans as Hercules. At any rate, the question can basically be framed as such:
Consider Theseus’ ship. Replace a board. Is it still Theseus’ ship? If not, why? If so, replace another. Is it still Theseus’ ship? And so on . . .
There are some wonderful extensions of this, and I’d encourage reading up on them (like what if you built a boat with the leftover pieces, bit by bit). Smart guys have tried to answer this question, and the basic idea of all the non-solutions is that it’s a matter of semantics (a language problem), ontology (a question about what actually exists), epistemology (an issue with the nature of knowledge), etc., and the failed solutions are just bad.
But the point is made: The idea of the whole is apart from that of the object, regardless of the answer of the question. Even if the `truth’ about the issue contracticts this distinction, it’s open at this point.
Therefore me and and army of smart guys for the last 2,500 years says it’s not contradictory to hate the Mavericks while liking a Maverick, maybe a couple Mavericks, and maybe each of them. Same goes for rooting instead of liking, etc.
The same goes for the Heat and their players (Mass nouns for team nicknames are horrid . . . that is my knock against the Krewe for a replacement name for the Hornets in that ongoing faux-debate).
If someone wants to reject this dunk, then you gotta mess with the original Aristotle, even if the Big Aristotle has retired.
If the Mavericks win a title this year, there is no guarantee the individuals that make up the team will return en masse next season, even more so if that is over a year from now, especially with a new CBA. So if this team wins a title, that team, or at least those individuals, won’t be the guys we are playing when they come around.
Sources of Power
As far as a title helping the Mavs confidence next year generally, and specifically when facing the Hornets, I hear that sort of idea often, but I confess that I don’t understand it. For one, consider the identity issues above. Also, there is no defense of a title. No one can take it (NCAA, NBA, etc. can, I suppose, right USC (football)?), so there is no threat, so there is no defense.
Furthermore, there is nowhere to go but down. You can’t improve. Talk about pressure. Could the team `respond’ to pressure? Sure. I do not live in fear of teams responding emotionally for 82 games, however. I was in the Dome when it reopened against the Falcons, and that game made me a believe in the power of passion in terms of winning games. This passion came from representing a devastated (and charming) people. I was at the Super Bowl, and that one convinced me that health, talent, a plan, and a personality are required to win a title. There was no pressure. There was greatness.
If the Mavericks have those things this year, they may win. If they have them next year, they may win. The winning of a title itself, I think, has no bearing.
Choice / Free Will
If you do not root for the Maverick, that leaves 2 possible alternatives: Root for the Heat and root for no one over the other. Mavs vs. Heat is the matchup, but that is a false choice with regard to allegiance.
Do what you want, or what you are left with. Me, I can’t help but root for the Heat. I don’t want to want the Heat to win (Cheap Trick nod), but I do want it, because I hate Dallas. I don’t have the choice.
I totally understand if you don’t want to root for them, but Mr. McNamara makes a rational case for you to root for them.
One could also argue that it helps the Hornets by the Mavercks winning since the title will be in the division, adding to the “toughest division” discussion, and we beat them twice, though we split each series, regardless.
So who knows?
I hope this addresses the points you raised. I really can’t stand this series. I must say that I buy Mike’s argument about it setting the table in the best possible way to get a CBA that helps the Hornets long-term, the New Orleans Hornets, that is. Also, there is something to be said for the player revolution . . . comfort food for the inner-anarchist. On the other hand, you have players in your heart to root for across the table.
My option is to boo furiously that the world gave you this choice in the last basketball games that count for at least 5 months while hoping for some abstract advantage to ooze from this wound in our psyches, like pus from the subduing of this disease that is allegedly afflicting the NBA, while hoping this is all consistent with the Mavericks experiencing the worst possible defeats to the organization on every level, given the constraints.
Hornets > Complaining > HeatÂ > Mavericks
Screw the Mavericks.
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