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Winning, losing, and rational thought

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This is a light part of the Bobcats' schedule, with only three games this week: Monday's loss to the Heat, tomorrow's game at the Minnesota Timberwolves, and then Saturday's home game against the Washington Wizards.

These next two games are going to be the last two "grace period" games for Paul Silas, games against weaker opposition. After these two, we're looking at a month-plus of tough games with only two (vs. Philadelphia, and vs. New Jersey) in the Eminently Winnable column. Yes, the Cats are laboring, but what we want to see, above all else, is progress, and measuring that progress on the road and against decidedly better teams will give us a clearer picture of what we have to work with. That's going to be hard on fans.

My project over the next month will be to get to a point of being okay with not winning these games, because, rationally, we shouldn't expect to win with our dearth of talent and we should appreciate that the value of playing these games is in discovering the talent that may be around when we actually attempt to win. Yet, it's very hard to turn off the competitive fan mentality.

I'm very well-acquainted with the ways irrational thoughts can completely and totally affect a person, because I'm severely afraid of flying in airplanes. It's not the claustrophobic type of fear, or the heights. It's the lack of control that gets me every time during takeoff, and whenever there's any kind of turbulence, and has me gripping my seat's arms, or my flying companion's hand, silently begging to be let off the plane and put back on the ground, and wondering aloud how all the people around me can be so calm. I know this is totally irrational and that I'm perfectly safe, but I'm still a wreck during any flight. What I tell myself is that as long as I still get on planes, strap in, and fly across the country, I know I'm beating back the demon anxiety.

So it is with winning and losing. During games, I know I'll get caught up in the points and the moments and the swings of momentum -- but at a certain level, it just doesn't matter to my overall happiness as a fan, because I want a championship, and this team must go through stages in which winning and losing hardly matter in order to get to that championship level.

Losing sucks. We must accept losing's temporary meaninglessness in order to get past the losing.