I am not one to normally partake in the yearly tradition of setting new goals or lifestyle changes on the cusp of a new year. I admire those who do, however, and I know many of these people struggle to find a realistic, yet worthwhile, resolution to settle on. In the spirit of the end of this holiday season, I offer a suggestion for fans of each of the major sport franchises in town.
Resolve to not overreact to anything connected to the team this season.
Even the casual basketball fan would know that the Bulls doing any damage in the playoffs is a long-shot this year. The only hope lies in what the team will be able to accomplish, and how quickly, after Derrick Rose returns from his injury. While it would be great for the team to explode and dominate the league once Rose is on the court, the superstar will likely need plenty of time before he is close to playing at 100% again, and even then, still needs more help around him. Any extra fun Bulls fans are provided this year, in the terms of playoff success, should be looked at as house money. This year is a wash: Rose returning to health, and positioning the team for greater success next season, are the highest priorities, so do not overreact to anything Bulls-related this season, unless its something that compromises next year.
Commit to the Wolf.
Sure, the recent news of communication between the NHL and the Player's Association is encouraging, but what can we really expect at this point? The NHL has made a bad situation worse. Until I see actual professional hockey being played at the United Center, I will not be optimistic any longer that we see an NHL game this year. My recommendation: get friendly with your Chicago Wolves.
Continue your hibernation... preferably for another 14 months.
The Cubs are buying time as they rebuild the entire organization, from the ground up. This will take time. They will not be spending much money. They will lose many games. We have been over this countless times. Anyone who does not understand what is going on on the North-side these days should continue to hold-up in whatever hideaway bunker they have been living in. No more complaining about the Ryan Dempster trade, or why the team did not target Josh Hamilton. The team should be a little better each year (assuming operations go well), but do not count on getting too excited for AT LEAST another year, and likely one or two more. Patience is the only thing that will help Cubs fans now, and too many off us seem not to understand this.
Use the winter to save up for those elusive "reasonably priced" tickets.
Sure, I am a Cub fan, but I myself go to few games each year. I understand tickets can be expensive. Yet, year after year, as US Cellular field is 40% full for a Yankees game, I wonder how Sox fans can defend themselves. There are plenty of reasonably priced tickets available when your stadium is that empty. Stop complaining about this. Last season, someone argued that the Sox needed to advertise for the CTA and public transportation more- that's why no one was at the games. Yeah... people forgot about the CTA. Of course, I have never tried to purchase a Sox ticket myself, so perhaps they are incredibly more expensive than I could ever fathom. If that is the case, my apologies, and may I recommend saving up for tickets over the winter, so that I will be spared of your repetitive complaining come spring time.
Be patient- just not as patient as Cubs fans need to be.
Most of us got our belated Christmas present today, with the news that Lovie Smith had been fired as head coach of the Bears. The key now is to simply wait it out. Once again, patience will be they key for fans of this franchise, but it should be short-term patience. Emery seems to have a solid plan on what he intends to do, though tomorrow's press conference should certainly be more telling. In any case, the Bears have reached out to potential candidates already, clearly indicating there is a structured plan of attack for replacing Lovie. At least one of these candidates, and likely more, will be involved in post season play however. It appears that Emery is ready to act fast, but acting smart may mean a little waiting.
Once a coach is hired, his staff will have to be assembled. Once all the personnel are in place, a draft and free agency strategy must be solidified and executed. Only at that point should fans begin to realistically evaluate what Emery has done. Yes; critiquing the moves along the way will, and should, happen. The key is to remember that to properly evaluate, one must be looking at the whole picture. In that sense, no one will know how well Emery has done for another three to four seasons (as draft picks and coaching replacements develop or fail, succeed or underachieve), but at least waiting till all of the pieces are in place for next season is a good place to start.
Happy New Year to all, and here's to a better sports year for Chicago in 2013.