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“All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.” -BSG

Misery Continues vs. Oilers.  That was the title they used for that article in the Marin IJ.  Reading it, I thought it could be a year ago.  Not quite a year, since the planets shift, perhaps our calendar is not quite aligned with the astral forces.  Last time this time (March, 2010), I read one of David Pollak’s articles titled “San Jose Sharks are searching for a way to end six-game slide.”  It was about a losing streak, one that had recently been capped by a loss to the Oilers.

I’m not angry anymore.  I’m not even disappointed.  I’m fascinated.  It’s like an episode of House: sure, the patient might be in pain or even dying, but the really interesting question is “what did they miss?  How will they fix it?”  I figure the odds are good they will fix it, just like in House.  They may not make the playoffs.  Maybe missing the playoffs is the part of the cure they are missing.  In any case, no one will die, not from this anyway.

How can I not be angry at a bunch of underachieving millionaires, just on principle?

“…I can’t imagine what would happen in the real world — a brain surgeon, an ambulance driver, a police officer, somebody over in Afghanistan — if they weren’t prepared to exercise what they were asked to do in critical situations,” McLellan said. “We didn’t have enough guys tonight…” -Todd McLellan, from Mercury News article

Aside from the fact that these guys are not brain surgeons or ambulance drivers or cops or soldiers, and what they do or do not do on the ice really amounts to nothing in the greater scheme of things, I am not angry with them for underachieving.

Everyone likes an overachiever.  He fails, everyone says “he gave it his best, what a hero.”  An underachiever fails the same test and he is a worthless choker.

Wait a minute.  We get angry at people who fail to do what the overachiever does, because the latter does it despite a lack of talent?  That hardly seems fair.  The overachiever isn’t devoid of assets, talent or skill.  He has the ability to motivate himself, to will himself to achieve above his presumed level.  If you are angry with the person who lacks will or grit, why not be angry at the person who lacks skating skill?

The ability to overachieve is every bit as much a talent as any other.  For some, finding the will is as difficult as it is for others to find the way.

So no, I’m not angry anymore.  This story is just starting to get good.

“They need to step up a little bit, and I need to do a better job, find better buttons to push.” -Todd McLellan, WTC

Okay. So someone finally stood up and said “me, I am in charge here, I must lead.”  I’m glad it was the coach, it should be him.  I don’t know if this signals a change in philosophy, or a change in anything.  But it is a change in rhetoric, a welcome one from “we each need to find our individual shmindividual motivhogwashation.”

By some accounts, today’s practice did look a little different from previous ones.  Let’s see if the team can follow this blueprint (or whiteboardprint…) and do something new and familiar from long ago tomorrow.  Just like last time.

And the Flyers?   They lost yesterday too.

So, a plan is not a guarantee of success.  The most seasoned, hard working players can still foul up.  It isn’t whether you fail, it’s how you deal with it when you fail.  I’m not too worried about the Flyers or Boosh.


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