Thank You

Air Najera

This tab in my browser has been open for days.

I know what I'm going to write about and how I feel, but I'm not quite sure how to put it into words. I've been thinking about it for a while, like I do on a good many of my posts, but the words just didn't come easily to me like they usually did.

That's how it was for a lot of this season. For as much as I was audibly frustrated and aggravated by the team, I was more often just in a state of stunned speechlessness.

This year has been a whirlwind. Sixty-six games in 123 days is an exhausting pace. I slept little, and more times than not, by accident. There were the ups -- Bismack Biyombo rising to the challenge of Dwight Howard on both occasions, each win (don't you dare take them for granted), Kemba Walker recording a triple-double as a rookie. There were the downs -- rookie inconsistency, Paul Silas and Tyrus Thomas' conflict in the locker room, and the ultimate result: the crown of worst team in NBA history, or at least the team with the worst winning percentage.

Many of you stuck in there with this team, as much as it didn't deserve it. Injuries plagued an already downtrodden roster for much of the season, the coaching was lacking and the humiliations were swift, fierce and drawn-out. I wouldn't blame anyone for shirking on their fandom this season.

But many of you held your ground, and I admire those of you all the more. And I thank you for it. This year was historically tough, on and off the court. Without my compatriot Bobcats fans, I don't know where I'd be. I don't like to see so much anger, but I like to know that y'all are passionate, and that's quite clear. Viewpoints often clash, but that's how things go. From the humorous comments that made me smile to the impassioned frustration, I thank you for sticking it out this season with us.

Sports won't ultimately decide whether the Earth survives or anything important like that (probably, I mean ...gulp). But they're great for making us who we are and broadcasting the rawest parts of humanity for what they are. There's very little filter, especially in basketball. You can see the grit in the snarl of Kobe Bryant, the sheer determination on LeBron James' face as he forces his way to the hoop with the momentum of a freight train, the wide, toothy grin plastered under Kevin Durant's nose, the frustration ingrained in Derrick Brown's furrowed brow. Sports can drive us to be better than what we think we are. We wanted to be like Mike, to have that ability to take a team and a city on his back, the ability to carry immense expectations and the talent to exceed them, the ability to fly after the years of honing his talent and physical gifts to the level that we believed he could actually soar. They can shape relationships and form lasting bonds between people who may otherwise think they have nothing in common.

And a lot of us here may have little in common, whether that's because of our background, heritage, opinions or what have you. Still, I thank you for connecting with us in some ways.

And that goes for my writing peers, as well. Your compliments mean more than you probably think, and your jokes that lifted my spirits night after night did even more.

Better times await us up a long and winding path beneath the densest of fog, and may it lead us to the mountaintop.

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