I got a cold slap in the face this morning upon opening the Vancouver Sun. As most of you are unlikely aware, the Canucks kick off their run for the Stanley Cup tonight in Vancouver with a game against the Dallas Stars.
To commemorate the occasion, the Sun blasted out a special section, chock-full of full page color photos, graphics, and all sorts of other things that give copy editors wet dreams.
I didn't read the section (I've lived in Vancouver for 10 years, and I still don't give a damn about hockey), but it made me nostalgic for the days when the Sonics were honored with sections like that.
You remember them: a graph detailing points per game, free throw percentages, turnovers there; a chart showing the matchups at the various positions here; a list of past playoff performances over in that corner. All in glorious, splendiforous color, to be pored over with eager anticipation by teenagers and middle-agers alike, the entire city giddy with the possibility of victories in spring.
Instead, rather than full color celebrations of glory, we have black and white agate of failure. This, sadly, is the Sonics circa 2007.
There's a line in James Joyce's A Painful Case, one of the dozen or so short stories included in Dubliners. The story is about James Duffy, a woeful man who tries to glide through life without any interest in anyone, to prevent himself from feeling the nick of sadness. When Duffy finally musters the courage to fall - somewhat - in love with a woman, it ends terribly. Joyce's description of Duffy is apt for a certain green and gold basketball team:
"He gnawed the rectitude of his life; he felt that he had been outcast from life's feast...He knew that the prostrate creatures down by the wall were watching him and wished him gone. No one wanted him; he was outcast from life's feast."
That's us, folks. The 2006-07 season has been an abject failure, and the Sonics are now outcast from the marvelous playoff buffet. While other teams have their entire rosters down to the last man on the bench examined and re-examined by a host of experts, no one will examine the Sonics' roster, because to do so would be a waste of ink.
So long, special section, we miss you so.