By: Communication Associate Cole Yearwood, Oklahoma State ’08.
It’s easy to hold up a trophy following a win. What’s hard is to hold up your head after a loss.
The reality of life is not everything you will do will end in success. It is a reality that the majority of Oklahoma City Thunder fans didn’t think we would have to face last NBA season.
But following the NBA Finals Game 5 blowout, no matter how many receding hairline jokes, dinosaur memes and referee excuses we could have armed ourselves with, the Miami Heat had one thing we didn’t: a championship.
Last season was a dream. A dream you never want to wake up from.
With his last timeout of the game and the season, Head Coach Scott Brooks called his team to the bench. By the this point LeBron James had clearly proven he was no prince, but a king and Mike Miller had made it rain threes in a fashion no ESPN analyst nor Weather Channel expert could have ever predicted.
The dream was beginning to fade as if the scoreboard screamed louder than any morning alarm ever could. In the allotted 60 seconds, Brooks didn’t hit the snooze button; he faced reality.
What was most impressive about this season wasn’t Kevin Durant’s third consecutive scoring title, James Harden’s specimen of facial hair, Serge Ibaka’s ridiculous block total or even Russell Westbrook’s unique, postgame shirt selection. What I will remember is watching what is all-too-often regarded as a group of boys, walk through a shower of the opposing team’s celebration confetti as a team of men.
Miami had won. Oklahoma City hadn’t failed.
There were no early court-side exits. No fire extinguishers harmed. No premature jersey removals before the locker room.
There were tears in Kevin Durant’s eyes. Miami players were congratulated. Hugs were given on the way to the locker room.
We all dream of what it’s like to hoist the trophy high as confetti pours above, but no one thinks of how they will keep their head up as they make their away from that same falling paper.
It’s inevitable that you won’t always be able to lift a trophy. When that unfortunate time comes, you can either fall back on a number of go-to clichés or just take Scott Brooks’ advice.